Bradford Township residents voice opposition to proposal
Some local crop producers will benefit, said Steve Douglas, who lives on Rye Road in Johnstown Township near the proposed farm. But, "it really isn't going to be something that improves my quality of life. I've got zero upside if this happens," he said.
The Bradford Town Board and the town planning commission hosted a hearing to hear public comment on Nebraska farmer Todd Tuls' proposal to build a dairy at Highway 14 and Scharine Road.
People from across Rock County and western Walworth County shared concerns about the proposal. Most concerns were about odors, airborne bacteria, groundwater contamination and the risk of increasing the phosphorous load in nearby Turtle Creek.
Tuls' attorney, David Crass, said proposed odor control measures exceed state requirements and the nutrient management plan will focus on controlling phosphorous. While neighbors shared concerns, none gave evidence that the application doesn't meet state requirements, Crass said.
When the town has finished reviewing Tuls' application, the planning commission will make a recommendation to the town board about whether to approve it. That could happen as early as February, said Dave Moore, town attorney.
The town must follow the parameters of the Wisconsin Livestock Siting Law while considering the permit, Moore said.
Leon Waite lives on Highway 14, about 2 miles west of the proposed farm. He said he was surprised the proposal has gotten this far considering the town's Smart Growth Plan.
"I think it should be stopped, and I think you should build somewhere else," Waite said. "Some of them are going to say, 'It's a farm.' But it's still turning the soil upside down and putting concrete and roads on it."
Richard Newsome of Beloit agreed with Waite's comment that the proposal is impressive. But that doesn't reassure him that Turtle Creek will remain safe, he said.
"This is a sophisticated operation," Newsome said. "That makes me think of computers. And one thing I'm sure of is that at some point in time, something's going to go wrong."