To the editor:
On July 31, I attended the governor's Water Quality Town Hall in Rochester. Water quality is an important issue to me, especially because a factory hog farm is threatening to move in next door to my family's dairy farm in Zumbrota Township. The 4,700-hog operation, proposed by the Kohlnhofers (who already own factory farms), would jeopardize our community's water.
If we're serious about improving our water quality, we cannot continue to allow factory farms to spread throughout our rural communities.
At the meeting, I shared the story of how erosion recently damaged our grass waterway, leaving us a mess to clean up. When the Kohlnhofers bought the property, they removed the contour strips and grass waterway, choosing profit over stewardship. That shows us they plan to operate their factory farm at our expense.
Zumbrota Township is covered in sinkholes and other karst features; what we put on the land can quickly end up in our groundwater. In our community, millions of gallons of liquid hog manure is a disaster waiting to happen.
We discussed this issue with Gov. Mark Dayton and we were glad to see he shared our concerns. I met many other farmers and rural residents who agreed that we can't protect our water with more polluting factory farms.