According to an article in the March 19, 2016 print edition of the Morris Sun Tribune, Stevens County's Baker Township has passed an ordinance that restricts new livestock operations to 2500 animal units, as well as establishing setbacks and acreage requirements for feedlots.
In 2014, Riverview LLP, one of the state's largest dairy operations, applied to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for a permit to operate a new dairy farm with a capacity of 8,850 cows and 500 heifers in Baker Township. When the agency's Citizens Board asked for more environmental review, the dairy industry and its allies began to plot the end of the board.
The conventional wisdom spread by the media last spring when the Minnesota legislature voted to abolish the Citizens Board included the notion that Greater Minnesotans were united in opposing those environmental review-loving metro folks.
The board had voted to ask Riverview Dairy to create an environmental impact statement for its proposed dairy in Stevens County's Baker Township.The vote was unique.
Nothing---neither testimony at the state legislature by a Baker Township farmer nor the public comments they left on the Baker Dairy permit MPCA application--could shake that narrative out of newsrooms.
The real board is gone--and its feel good replacement includes a Riverview Dairy employee.
But the citizens of Baker Township and their hyper-local elected leaders aren't letting themselves become waifs among forces. Instead, they've passed the new ordinance described in the scanned article below. On the other side, Minnesota Milk has passed a resolution to gut the power of townships to respond to their citizens. Among the whereases:
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association supports the development of a permitting, environmental review and compliance framework which would provide greater certainty with respect to permit and compliance requirements and timelines; and
WHEREAS , activist attorneys and/or special interest groups are misleading and influencing townships to adopt arbitrary and onerous zoning ordinances that conflict with federal, state and county permits, ordinances and other regulations which ultimately threatens Minnesota animal agriculture;
It's insulting to suggest that residents of local townships are mere pawns and putty in the hands People Who Aren't From Around Here. Instead, testimony from people in places like Baker Township value a rural quality of life that ginormous factory farms destroy.
Here's the article from the Morris Sun Tribune:
Photo: One of Riverview's giant dairy barns.
If you appreciate Bluestem Prairie's posts and analysis, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen P.O. Box 108, Maynard MN 56260) or use the paypal button below:
Email subscribers can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient.