THE AVERAGE HERD SIZE FOR DAIRY FARMS IN WISCONSIN HAS RISEN FROM FORTY ANIMALS IN 1980...MORE THAN SEVENTY TODAY.
SMALL FAMILY FARMS ARE BECOMING MORE OF A BUSINESS..RATHER THAN SMALL MOM AND POP OPERATIONS OF THE PAST.
THIS TREND MAKES FOR BIGGER BARNS AND MANURE PITS MORE ANIMALS....AND, MORE STINK.
WITH URBAN COMMUNITIES GRADUALLY SPRAWLING INTO RURAL COMMUNITES...THE BATTLE BETWEEN HOW STINKY IS TOO STINKY BEGINS.
THE DAIRY BUSINESS HAS BEEN IN THE HAWKINS FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS...IT WASN'T UNTIL 1990 THAT DENNIS AND HIS BROTHER DOUG DECIDED TO TURN THEIR SMALL DAIRY BUSINESS INTO SOMETHING BIGGER.
Dennis Hawkins - "Before we expanded we didn't have too many regulations, but after, we're watched a little more.
THEIR BUSINESS IS CALLED D & D HAWKINS DARY. THEY HAVE 540 COWS, EQUALING 756 ANIMAL UNITS.
THESE UNITS ARE BASED ON THE SIZE OF THE ANIMAL, AND HOW MUCH WASTE THEY PRODUCE.
ONE MILK COW EQUALS ONE POINT FOUR UNITS.
CURRENT REGULATIONS STATE THAT FARMS WITH MORE THAN ONE-THOUSAND ANIMAL UNITS HAVE TO ABIDE BY CERTAIN ODOR MANAGEMENT PRACTICES.....THIS MONTH, THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, TRADE AND CONSUMER PROTECTION WILL BE HOLDING PUBLIC HEARINGS TO LOWER THAT TO 500 HUNDRED ANIMAL UNITS..PUTTING THE HAWKINS FARM..ALONG WITH ABOUT TWENTY PERCENT OF OTHER DAIRY FARMS IN THE AREA UNDER A NEW SET OF RULES.
Hawkins - "They have to make it economically feasible, thats the biggest thing."
Jerry Clark - "They've taken care of industry and now its' agriculture that needs to work on air emmisions....They start with these large farms as a starting point, but even small farms could fall under these regulations."
THE DIFFICULITY WILL BE FINDING AN ODOR TESTING METHOD THAT IS UNIVERSIAL...THAT WILL SERVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUE..AND NOT PUT TOO MANY RESTRAINTS ON FARMERS.
THE PROPOSED INDEX WILL TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THESE FACTORS: TYPE OF LIVESTOCK; TYPES, SIZES AND LOCATIONS OF LIVESTOCK STRUCTURES AND DISTANCES FROM MANURE STORAGE FACILITIES.
HAWKINS IS CONFIDENT IN HIS FACILITIES AND HIS FARMING METHODS THAT HE'LL MEET ANY NEW ODOR MANDATES...EVEN WHEN HE INCORPORATES THE MANURE INTO HIS FIELDS.
33:10 - Hawkins - "Basically there's hardly any smell to."
A PUBLIC HEARING ON THIS ISSUE WILL BE HELD THURSDAY, MARCH 24TH AT CVTC FROM 12:30 PM TO 4:30 AND ANOTHER ONE AT 5:30 IN THE EVENING TO 9:30.