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Howard supports Chippewa County moratorium on CAFOs

By LeAnn R. Ralph

TOWN OF HOWARD — Even though a moratorium on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) would not affect the unzoned Town of Howard, the Howard Town Board has gone on record in support of a moratorium by Chippewa County.

The Howard Town Board approved sending a letter to Chippewa County planning and zoning in favor of a moratorium on CAFOs at the September 4 meeting.

“It’s a good idea to plan in advance. I am in favor of a moratorium,” said Dennis Dvoracek, Supervisor 2 on the Howard Town Board.

Concern about CAFOs in Chippewa County surfaced earlier this year when there was a proposal for a hog farm in the Town of Cleveland that would have had 6,500 brooding sows, 1,600 replacement pigs and 70,000 piglets.

The Town of Howard does not have information on a start date or the duration of a moratorium, noted Tom Zwiefelhofer, Supervisor 1.

A CAFO is defined as a farm with more than 1,000 animal units. All together, a CAFO would include 714 milk cows or 908 heifers or 2,500 hogs. A milk cow is 1.4 animal units.

Chippewa County’s moratorium on CAFOs would affect those townships that have adopted county zoning and would not affect the Town of Howard, Dvoracek said.

According to minutes posted on-line, at a Chippewa County Land Conservation and Forest Management Committee special meeting July 18, Dan Masterpole, county conservationist, and Todd Pauls, assistant corporation counsel, gave reports in response to a motion adopted June 20 for staff to bring language for a moratorium on CAFOs and a staff recommendation on length.

Masterpole reported if a moratorium on CAFOs were pursued, LCFM staff would recommend a one-year moratorium.

Masterpole also recommended that even in the absence of a moratorium, the LCFM Committee could work within the existing authority to update the Chippewa County Animal Waste Storage and Utilization Ordinance.

At the July 18 meeting, Pauls reported the Planning and Zoning Committee had not taken a position on the request for a moratorium and had directed staff to contact zoned townships to determine whether they were interested in updating the zoning district and maps used to issue permits for CAFOs under county comprehensive zoning.

At a special meeting August 6, the Land Conservation and Forest Management Committee agreed correspondence should be sent to the chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee that the LCFM Committee would be in support of a moratorium if planning and zoning determined there was a need for a moratorium to pursue changes to the county’s comprehensive zoning ordinance. 

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