Public input is being sought prior to the environmental investigation into a proposal to build a mega dairy.
The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be producing an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed Golden Sands Dairy in the town of Saratoga and is seeking public input on the scope of that report.
The dairy, as proposed, would encompass 8,000 acres with 6,400 in cropland. The dairy operation would involve about 5,300 cows.
The proposal calls for 49 high capacity wells.
A public informational meeting to help define issues to be addressed in the EIS, will be held in two sessions Thursday, Aug. 23, at the Saratoga Town Hall, 1120 State Highway 73 S, just south of Wisconsin Rapids. The sessions will run from 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
Each session will begin with DNR staff presenting a brief overview of the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act that defines the EIS process.
Any interested individuals at the meeting then will have the opportunity to talk about topics to be addressed in the EIS. DNR staff will be on hand to answer questions and receive comments. Every comment will be considered.
The applicants - Golden Sands Dairy and Ellis Industries Saratoga - have applied for permits necessary to construct, populate and operate a dairy operation that qualifies under Wisconsin law as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO).
A CAFO is defined as an operation with 1,000 or more animal units (the number of animals equivalent in weight to 1,000 600-pound steers). As proposed, the Golden Sands Dairy would house 6,130 animal units comprising milking cows, dry cows, heifers and calves.
Project proponents have also submitted applications for 49 high capacity wells. Two wells would serve the production site of the dairy operations, and 47 wells would be used for irrigation of about 6,400 acres of cropland.
The applicant is preparing an environmental impact report describing the proposal and its anticipated environmental effects. The EIR will be made available to the public once it is complete.
Additional information can be found on the Golden Sands Dairy CAFO page of the DNR website.
Individuals can submit comments about the scope of the EIS any time prior to the meeting, at the meeting or after the meeting through Sept. 21. Suggestions for topics to be included in the EIS can be mailed to Russ Anderson at 3911 Fish Hatchery Road, Fitchburg, WI 53711 or sent by email to email@example.com.