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Dunn County Board approves rezone for Denmark Dairy

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE —  The Dunn County Board has approved a rezone of 100 acres for a proposed expansion at Denmark Dairy.

The rezone from General Agriculture to Intensive Agriculture was approved by the county board at the November 14 meeting.

Denmark Dairy, located on county Highway B south of Colfax, had initially applied to rezone 120 acres to Intensive Ag.

The county board’s Planning, Resources & Development Committee held a public hearing on the application October 10 and reconvened the public hearing October 24.

PR&D committee members said they would be more comfortable rezoning half of a 40-acre parcel to Intensive Ag because of concern for Sinking Creek, which runs across the northeast corner of the parcel.

The parcels are located east, west and north of the existing dairy.

Karl Kragness, who owns and operates Denmark Dairy with his parents, Dennis and Mary Kragness, said the plans for expansion could work if only half of the 40-acre parcel in question was rezoned.

At the time of the October meetings, Dennis and Mary Kragness owned the two 40-acre parcels to the west, and PR&D members learned if the ownership of the land is transferred to Denmark Dairy, then setbacks for the parcel boundaries do not apply concerning buildings and manure storage lagoons constructed by the dairy.

PR&D members also learned if the dairy owned the parcels, then the land would not have to be surveyed, and a property description would be sufficient to identify the 20 acres that would be rezoned.

Denmark Dairy currently milks 1,300 cows, and at the October 10 meeting, Kragness said he eventually would like to put in a rotary milking parlor for milking 2,200 to 2,400 cows.

The expansion is expected to occur over a four-to-eight year period, he said.

The request for a rezone also included a third 40-acre parcel to the east of the dairy intended to be used for feed storage.

The northwest 40 was included in the rezone because there might not be enough room close to the existing manure storage lagoons to add another one, and at least part of a new lagoon might have to be built on the adjacent parcel, Kragness said.

The Dunn County Board approved rezoning the two 40-acre parcels and a 20-acre parcel.

Denmark Dairy is classified as a CAFO because it has more than 1,000 animal units.

A dairy cow is 1.4 animal units.

The Dunn County Zoning Board of Adjustment, as part of the expansion, has already granted a variance for the milk house to be located closer to the road than the county’s zoning code allows.

Denmark Dairy will still need a special exception for the remainder of the expansion from the Board of Adjustment.