The Kewaunee County Board is on record in support of new state rules regulating manure spreading on shallow soils over fragile karst bedrock, such as the land over much of northern Kewaunee and Door counties.
The board voted 19-1 Tuesday for a resolution strongly supporting the update to NR 151 that grew from the recommendations of the Groundwater Collaboration Workgroup that spent more than a year laying the groundwork for the new rules.
Supervisor Linda Sinkula was the lone dissenting vote.
Manure spreading on soils 20 feet or less from karst bedrock is among the factors linked to groundwater contamination and polluted wells in the affected areas.
“Spreading liquid manure or any kind of manure, in some cases, over shallow soils with fractured bedrock is an absolute recipe for continued groundwater contamination,” Supervisor Lee Luft, although he acknowledged that the stringent rules will create a hardship for many farmers, especially in Door County, whose operations may not be able to continue under the rules.
Supervisor John Pagel said he’s aware of several second- and third-generation farmers who may not be able to stay in business, and he said the state should find a way to help them.
“It’s important that we protect the groundwater, but we just have to understand how we’re affecting people who live in our community, also,” Pagel said.
County Board Chairman Robert Weidner said the new rules will have a greater impact on smaller farms, because large operations have a greater choice of places where they can spread.
A public hearing on the new rules was held Sept. 15 at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Luft said the only voices raised in opposition were two representatives of the Dairy Business Association and a Door County farmer who said his livelihood is threatened.
The public may submit written comments on the proposed rule changes through Oct. 4, via mail to Mike Gilbertson, DNR, 101 S. Webster Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53707, or by email to: DNRNR151Revisions@dnr.wisconsin.gov.