Experts Weigh in on Proposed Pig Farm in Bayfield

Locals Pack Visitor Center

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More than 200 people packed a room in the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.

“To see what the other side of the fence is all about,” said Clay Burditt from Mason, Wisconsin.

“I think a lot of people are operating with innuendo and rumor,” said Ed Korleski from Bayfield, Wisconsin.

A hog farm is being proposed to house 25,000 pigs just miles away from Lake Superior in Bayfield County.

“I’m afraid of our standard of living, our children’s standard of living,” said Korleski. “So I’m very concerned and very frightened quite frankly.”

Locals fear the millions of gallons of manure runoff from the facility will cause toxic pollution, disease and hurt the tourism industry by contaminating Lake Superior.

“Sooner or later it will happen,” said Korleski. “There will be an overflow and infestation into the lake.”

The treatment of the pigs are also a concern.

“The female pigs cannot even turn around in the small cages that they’re put in,” University of Missouri Professor of Agricultural Economics Dr. John Ikerd said. “There will be thousands of those side by side.”

To answer unanswered questions environmentalist, public health and economist presented their findings and experiences with confined animal feeding operations also known as CAFOs.

“It’s not good,” said Ikerd. “I think we have about 50 years of experience with this kind of operation.”

The audience learned about the hog farms impacts on the environment, economy, how it operates and more.

“When these CAFO’s move in its very rare that the local people will be employed in the operations because they tend to be low paying jobs and very unfavorable working conditions,” said Ikerd.

But not everybody is against the factory farm.

“I’m excited to see new entrepreneurial business come into the area,” said Burditt.

Burditt believes the project could potentially boost the local economy and create jobs.

“They’ll need to buy or purchase locally what they need to feed the animals,” said Burditt. “That will help out a lot of farmers that have ground that they’re probably not working up.”

A moratorium has been passed to look into the safety and risks of the farm.

Concerned citizens are also urging the DNR to conduct an environmental impact study.

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