Zumbrota Township Residents Tell Insurance VP Kohlnhofer: 'Protect what is valuable: No more factory farms'

Giant Bull Statue Accompanies Citizens to Lakeville

LAKEVILLE, Minn. — Rural neighbors to a proposed factory hog farm in Goodhue County’s Zumbrota Township travelled to Lakeville today to confront Jeff Kohlnhofer, one of the factory farm’s proposers. Kohlnhofer, the vice-president of Kohlnhofer Insurance Agency in Lakeville, also co-owns Circle K Family Farms with his brothers. Circle K is proposing the controversial Zumbrota Township factory farm, and already owns seven other factory farm operations in Minnesota.

To drive their point home and call attention to the issue, citizens brought along a statue of a giant bull emblazoned with the message “Jeff Kohlnhofer: No more factory farms. Protect what’s valuable.”

Rural neighbors held signs stating what’s at risk for them if the factory farm gets built, such as, “My dairy farm is at risk,” and “Our community’s health is at risk.”

“We won’t allow Circle K to put our families and farms at risk for more profit,” said lifelong Zumbrota Township dairy farmer Frederick Fredrickson. “We’re fighting to keep our community safe.”

“Kohlnhofer Agency claims to work to ‘protect what is valuable,’ ” said Zumbrota Township resident Kristi Rosenquist. “But this proposed facility isn’t about protecting what’s valuable. It would threaten our valuable air, water and family farms.”

The Kohlnhofer factory farm proposal has generated fierce opposition from local farmers and other rural residents, and it’s currently stalled due to a legal challenge filed with the Minnesota Court of Appeals by local citizens.

In September, citizens released an air quality report that detailed high levels of hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas, at existing Circle K factory hog farms in Goodhue County. The report shows that Circle K’s facilities are likely exceeding the health risk values set by the Minnesota Department of Health, and may be violating Minnesota’s state ambient air quality standards. Citizens have called for the Kohlnhofers to withdraw their newest factory farm proposal to protect public health.

“The Kohlnhofers don’t seem to be listening,” said Zumbrota Township farmer Dale Post. “So we’re bringing our message, loudly and clearly, to their front door. We’ll keep standing up for the community we love until they hear us.”