An appeals court ruled in favor of the Town of Saratoga, and against permitting the operation of the Golden Sands Dairy farm, after a five-year legal battle.
The rejected farm would have been large enough to hold 6,130 animal units, and would thus have been characterized as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or CAFO.
The farm also intended to convert 4,660 acres of wooded area, and an existing 1,800 acres of farm land, into irrigated crop fields, according to the Wisconsin DNR website.
The plan also would have required 33 high capacity wells.
The farm was proposed by the Wysocki Family of Companies which own similar operations, like Central Sands Dairy, in Nekoosa, Wisconsin.
The legal struggle between the Town of Saratoga and proposed Golden Sands Dairy farm began in 2012 when a notice was given to the town about the intentions for the farm.
“On that day, I saw it on TV, we got something in the mail and it came out in the newspaper also,” said Rhonda Carrell, a resident of Saratoga. “A representative from Wysocki Family Companies just dropped off a binder at our town clerks house and said it was a formality that she should pass this on to the board.”
It did not take long for the town to get together in an attempt to learn more about what was being proposed. Public meetings took place within days of the notice.
“We started meeting at each other’s houses and we founded Protect Wood County and its Neighbors,” Carrell said.
The concerns that Carrell, Protect Wood County and its Neighbors, and the Town of Saratoga had were, in large part, for the water quality, from the high levels of manure, and for the water quantity, from the high capacity wells being used for crops.
There were additional concerns that were not environmental.
“We lost $70,000 on our home already, just at the announcement that they were coming in here,” Carrell said.
Carrell’s decrease in property value is not an isolated incident, as there are over 500 homes adjacent or within a quarter mile of the 7,838 acres owned the by the Wysocki Family of Companies.
It has been reported that the Wysocki Family of Companies may appeal the current decision to the state Supreme Court.
The Wysocki Family of Companies’ media contact was unavailable for comment.