‘Stink In’ Continues Debate Over Hog Farm

Proposed Plan to Bring Pig Farm to Northern Wisconsin Has Residents Speaking Out

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An event called the ‘Stink In’ brought dozens to Ashland  concerned over how plans for a proposed hog farm could begin to affect the air quality and water quality, with Lake Superior not far away.

Wednesday night, the public got a whiff of what this hog farm could smell like if it comes to northern Wisconsin.

These reactions to this pail filled with pig manure.

“I grew up on a farm and I know what pig manure smells like, and I thought everybody else should know what it smells like also, simple as that,” said Ashland City Councilor Carl Doersch.

A proposed plan for a hog farrowing farm includes moving 26,000 swine into Eileen, Wisconsin.

“Keep them in Iowa where you already have them,” said Ashland resident John Evans.

Some who call northern Wisconsin home are concerned about what it could leave their city smelling like.

“People come here because of the pure air, because of the pristine environment that we have,” said Ashland Mayor Deb Lewis. “They’re not going to come here if we smell like a pig farm.”

Other residents are on board.

“I just feel that it’s bringing in jobs,” said Terry Weaver, another Ashland resident.

Weaver says in an area already flooded with farms, this one would be no different.

“When farmers are spreading manure, you can smell that good too, but I don’t see no complaints about it,” he added.

But Mayor Lewis says the odor is just one of many issues the farm could bring the area.

“The proposed project is right on the water shed that feeds into Chequamegon Bay where we get our water supply from,” Lewis explained.

Affecting not only the drinking water, but the fish who live in The Big Lake just eight miles away.

“These blooms take the oxygen out of the water and ends up with a dead zone,” Doersch described.

It’s no secret tourism is a huge part of Ashland’s economy, and Lewis worries that could change with the addition of this farm.

“Would you want to go set up your campsite next to some hog farm and camp next to that? No. This is just common sense,” Evans exclaimed.

But Lewis says, most importantly, it goes against what her city is all about.

“It’s so against what we think of when we think of Lake Superior,” Lewis said.

An application for the farm is still incomplete in the state of Wisconsin. However, Bayfield County just marked that application complete this month. A public hearing regarding the license for the farm will be held likely at the end of August or early September.

The nearly 600 acre piece of land was purchased by a farmer from Iowa last October for $1,237,500.