Politics

Factory farm, Wisconsin DoJ reach $215K manure pollution settlement

A factory farm has agreed to pay the Wisconsin Department of Justice $215,000 to settle pollution allegations.

The Legislature’s finance committee is slated to approve the deal during a meeting Tuesday. According to an analysis of the deal by the Legislature’s attorneys, the deal will settle allegations that Kinnard Farms improperly spread manure in Kewaunee and Door counties between 2018 and 2022, failed to timely submit an engineering evaluation for a feed storage area and failed to timely submit annual nutrient management plan updates.

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The settlement also calls for Kinnard Farms to upgrade two waste storage facilities and a feed storage area.

The Kinnard operation includes 16 industrial farms with about 8,000 cows. The company has struggled with agricultural pollution for years as contaminants began showing up in private wells.

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Kinnard Farms owner/operator Lee Kinnard said in a statement that the farms decided to settle rather than face a lengthy and costly dispute. He said the farms “look forward to pursuing state-of-the-art manure management technology.”

Kinnard Farms sued the state Department of Natural Resources in April 2022 over permitting changes that require the operators to limit the size of their herd and monitor groundwater for contamination. That lawsuit is still pending.

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