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Day County okays CAFO after second hearing

by George Thompson, Reporter and Farmer [1]

Two weeks after deadlocking 2-2 on whether to issue a conditional use permit to a beginning York Township farmer, Day County Commissioners last week voted 3-1 to approve the final piece of the puzzle that will allow Scott Schiley to build a concentrated animal feed operation (CAFO) for up to 480 cattle, the first one since Day County enacted its zoning ordinances.

Before Schiley can break ground, however, he will have to meet a set of six conditions, drafted by States Attorney Dan Smeins, which gives the county some control over the project.

Those conditions are:

•The applicant must provide copies of the NRCS nutrient and manure management/operation plans and comply with them.

•Provide fly and odor control plans and implement best management control practices.

•Provide copies of the EQIP agreements and design criteria and comply with them.

•Cooperate with NRCS, SCS and Randy and Kayla Czmowski in planting trees which should act as air filters.

•Work with his father Jeff, owner of a hog confinement operation right across the road, and determine if the best management practices at the hog CAFO are being utilized and work to resolve the air pollution impact if it can be accomplished at reasonable costs.

•Comply with all other requirements of the ordinance.

Scott Schiley said he would agree to all six conditions.

Chief opponent and nearby landowner Randy Czmowski and his attorney unsuccessfully argued the project is too close to a fisheries (Horseshoe Lake), and charged the new conditions have no teeth.

Czmowski said he’s not against CAFOs, but feels this one could be further from his farmstead which is .8 miles away.

“There is nothing in this that says they have to do anything,” they said.

Schiley’s attorney said both CAFOs together meet all of the requirements in the zoning ordinances.

The new project has all of the permits, and the NRCS and SCS management plans the county wants to review are now in the works.

This CAFO would construct a 66×264 foot building with a deep underground manure pit under it. It would pump manure to nearby fields where it would be directly knifed into the soil.

Scott Schiley wrapped up the testimony by saying, “This is something I want to do seven days a week, every week.”

A number of other people testified both in support and against this project during this hearing.

Commissioners Darrell Hildebrant and Jim Tompkins made the motion and second to approve the conditional use permit with the six recommended conditions.

In a subsequent 3-1 vote it passed with commissioner Linda Walters casting the lone nay. Commissioner Gary Block abstained, just as he did at the last meeting, citing a conflict of interest because he’s related to one of the parties.