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Hog farms, Dairyland Power should get together

by 5m Editor
18 December 2007, at 9:17am

US - Probably the two biggest business issues in southwest Wisconsin are proposals to concentrate animal feeding operation (CAFO) hog farms and the Dairyland Power ash problem at its Genoa plant.

If you’re not aware of the issues, here’s a quick summary. CAFOs in Vernon and Crawford counties led to opposition from people concerned about runoff from manure and other issues. The 2,500 hog operation in Vernon County was approved with some restrictions. Action on a 2,900 hog operation in Crawford County has been tabled for further study.

Meanwhile, Dairyland Power has installed new scrubbers which will reduce air pollution, but make ash from the plant not as useable for recycling. Thus, the coop has been looking for a possible dump site, again prompting opposition and bad public relations.

Dairyland also recently became the target of protestors, when its permits were renewed for discharging water into the Mississippi River. Some have expressed concern about mercury content in the water and monitoring of temperatures.

The issues are not directly related. Nothing involved with the hog operations can directly help Dairyland with its need to discharge water or its ash disposal problem -- at least not in a way this writer can see. But, this writer has an idea that might be able to help Dairyland with its overall PR problem and help the coop show its concern for the environment. Here’s how.

Dairyland has been a leader in methane production of electricity. The coop owns three animal waste-to-energy facilities on dairy farms in its service territory. These “cow power” plants use dairy cow manure as the energy source to generate renewable energy.

Source: Wisbusiness.com

5m Editor