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Harmony Township bans center pivots

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ANN MARIE AMES
June 7, 2011
— Margaret Pulera usually doesn’t have positive things to say at public meetings about large livestock facilities.

Pulera, who lives in far western Walworth County, has been a regular attendee of local and state meetings about the Rock Prairie Dairy and center-pivot manure sprayers. She has spoken passionately against both.


Monday night was different.


The Harmony Town Board unanimously approved an ordinance banning the application of liquid manure through center-pivot irrigators onto farm fields in the township, which borders the northeastern edge of the city of Janesville.


The board did so after hosting a public hearing in which Pulera was the only person to speak.


Pulera complimented the board on its awareness of the issue that has bubbled out of nearby Bradford Township, where the 5,200-cow Rock Prairie Dairy is under construction.


“Your leadership is strong, and I support that,” Pulera said in favor of the ordinance.


No such pivots are proposed in Harmony Township or in any other township in Rock or Walworth counties. But the discussion has been a regular one at board meetings in some townships east of Janesville.


The original state and local operation applications for the Rock Prairie Dairy included center-pivot manure sprayers as one way of disposing of waste generated by the cows.


The town of Bradford on Monday will host its own public hearing as officials consider an ordinance requiring conditional-use permits to operate such sprayers.


The town of Johnstown earlier this year banned the sprayers as a nuisance. The town board later wrote a different ordinance to regulate rather than ban them, attorney Dave Moore told the Harmony Town Board on Monday.


In Walworth County, where towns do not have zoning authority, the town of Richmond has asked the county zoning agency to create a countywide ordinance banning or regulating center pivots. The county committee has tabled the issue.


Harmony Town Board Chairman John Bergman on Monday said he has not heard anyone support center pivots. Banning them seemed to be the best choice for the town, he said.


“I’m more comfortable with prohibiting them than allowing them as a conditional use,” Bergman said. “I can see that conditional-use process as being very messy.”



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