A town of Pierce couple who challenged the assessment of their home across the street from a large concentrated animal feeding operation has won their appeal after taking their case to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, which concluded that farms with more than 4,000 animals adversely affect property values within a mile.
Scott and Debbie Kliment own 14.411 acres at N7154 County Road D, according to Kewaunee County land records. They appealed the assessment of their homestead to the town Board of Review in June, saying their property value should be lower because of their proximity to Ebert Dairy Enterprises LLC across the road at N6939 County Road D.
The board left the assessment alone and suggested the state DOR to review the matter. The department responded with an in-depth study of the impact of CAFOs on the local real estate market, which was released Nov. 1.
The study covered “all recent (past three years) arms-length residential sales in Kewaunee County townships to test whether the proximity to a CAFO impacts property values and, if so, to what extent.” It also took a careful look at whether the size of the CAFO made a difference.
By Wisconsin law a CAFO is defined as a farm with 1,000 or more animal units.
According to a section of the Findings of Fact released by the Kliments on Tuesday, the DOR analysis concluded that the value of property located near CAFOs with fewer than 4,000 animal units is not impacted, but the larger CAFOs do have an impact on property values.
Specifically, the DOR concluded that the value of property within a quarter-mile of a large CAFO with more than 4,000 animal units is reduced by 13 percent, and the value of property between a quarter-mile and a full mile away is reduced by 8 percent.
The farms with 4,000-plus animals cited in the DOR analysis are Ebert Dairy Enterprises LLC, Kinnard Farms Inc., Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, Dairy Dreams LLC, and Wakker Dairy Farm Inc. in Kewaunee County, as well as Dairyland Farm LLC two miles west of the county line in Brown County.
Speaking during the public comment portion of Tuesday night’s Pierce Town Board meeting, Debbie Kliment emphasized that the Department of Revenue Findings of Fact apply only to their own property.
“Everyone within a mile or less to one of the larger CAFOS … can appeal, but they have to go through the loops and hoops that we went through, which begins with you guys,” Kliment told the board. “And then if you, of course, do not approve, then they have to go to the Department of Revenue. They have to go through, they have to present their case, it is not an automatic reduction.”
The issue was not on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, so town supervisors simply listened and pledged to put the matter on their agenda for discussion and possible action at their next meeting, which they scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Pierce Town Hall, N6061 County Road D.