Today, the voice of the people in Winona county prevailed against an attempt by a factory dairy farm to blow by local, sensible limitations on the number of animals (and thus the amount of manure) that can be housed in one location. After thoroughly considering the evidence, the Winona County Board of Adjustment once again denied a request brought forward by Daley Farm for a variance to the Winona County animal unit cap. At issue is Daley Farm’s attempt to add roughly 3,000 animals to its existing operation, which would put the operation at around 6,000 animal units, almost four times the county’s animal unit cap of 1,500 animal units. Today’s vote was a reaffirmation of the Winona County Board of Adjustment’s decision over a year ago to protect the water, land, and rural economies and hold up local control.
It’s time to stop wasting public resources on the “get big or get out” model of agriculture this sort of expansion attempt represents and instead invest in an agricultural economy that creates prosperous, sustainable communities while protecting our water and the land. We value our community and the future of Winona County when we invest in local foods and small to mid-sized farms.
Getting bigger to put our neighbors out of business is not the solution. Investing in the health of our community is the legacy that we must maintain for family farms and the next generation.
We have been organizing, along with other members of the Land Stewardship Project and our community in Winona County, to stand up for a better agricultural system. We have pulled together and shown our support for building a food and farming system that works for everyone. We must continue to stand together to support our communities, farmers, land, and water, and to say “no” to the expansion of factory farms.
LSP members Tim Ahrens and Sam Streukens live in the Winona County communities of Altura and Winona, respectively. Matthew Sheets is a Land Stewardship Project organizer. For more information, contact Sheets at 612-767-9709 or MSheets@landstewardshipproject.org.