For quite some time, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) remarks have taken up a large portion of the Public Comment portion during the monthly meetings of the Polk County Board of Supervisors. This month, the Board Chair’s report spurred further debate.

Board Chair Chris Nelson moved his report up on the agenda, so it could follow Public Comment. 

Nelson said, “This is probably the most time I have spent this month on phone calls and emails. This misinformation is unbelievable about what is going on in the county. It goes from the Stower Trail to the CAFO issue.

Nelson said he had been receiving calls from Trade Lake residents concerning their CAFO issue. Trade Lake sits within Burnett County. Nelson said he suggests those residents talk to the Burnett County Board as well as the state. “Everyone thinks the county has the ability to shut down a CAFO. I keep telling people we don’t. It is not up to a county whether a CAFO comes into your community or not. The ultimate decision is the DNR,” he said.

Nelson said, “As I sit and listen to the Public Comment be dominated the last few months, it seems to be such a big issue (CAFOs). So, what I have decided to do because there is a lot of misinformation being presented out there; I have decided to ask that every month we bring one of our local CAFO farmers in to tell us a story about CAFOs.”

“Every month we are going to educate ourselves and the community and the public,” Nelson said. “Clearly there is an activist group in our county that is trying to scare everyone about CAFOs.”

Nelson said he had recently visited Minglewood Farms south of Amery. “That was the cleanest Farm I have ever seen.” Nelson said he has invited them to come give a presentation to the Polk County Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Doug Route asked Nelson about CAFO speakers coming each month. He said, “What about the opposition, don’t they have a right?”

Nelson responded, “Ya, but they have been showing up at Public Comment every month.”

“If you are going to bring someone right in here to give a presentation, doesn’t the opposition have the right to do that too,” asked Route.

Nelson said, “I think we have heard the opposition. We have heard it for three years. I think it is time to hear about local farmers. This isn’t about opposition, it is about this is about educating. We are going to bring CAFO farmers of Polk County in here to educate us on what they are doing and why they are doing it,” said Nelson.

Route asked, “Are you saying a small farmer can’t come in and tell his side of the story?”

“He can call me and if he wants to do a presentation, I can talk to him about it,” Nelson said.

A third Supervisor chimed in and said all operators should be allowed to come in and speak. 

Nelson reiterated that people who want to present can give him a call. He said, “I hear you guys loud and clear.”



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