Crawford Stewardship Project works to protect the environment of Crawford County and neighboring regions from threats of polluting and extractive industries, to promote sustainable land use, environmental justice, and local control of natural resources

Crawford Stewardship Project is a nonprofit organization.
Donations are tax deductible.

Support CSP
Send a check to:
Crawford Stewardship Project
P.O. Box 284
Gays Mills, WI 54631


Crawford Stewardship Project is grateful for the generous support of RESIST, Inc. RESIST funds and supports grassroots groups organizing on the frontlines of the peace, economic, social, and environmental justice movements.

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

"CAFOs are only profitable because so much of the cost and damage is externalized onto the environment, neighbors and wildlife. The monitoring, supervision, clean-up, restitution, fines are not happening, thus the true cost of CAFOs never find the way onto the balance books." Talking point from the CAFO Conference.

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
~Aldo Leopold, 1948. A Sand County Almanac.

DATCP Listening Sessions


The Wisconsin Livestock Facility Siting Law called "the envy of the CAFO industry nationwide" has effectively:

  • Paved the way for rapid expansion of increasingly large and concentrated livestock operations
  • Stripped local governments of much of their traditional authority to control land use while burdening them with an incredibly complex and contentious licensing scheme
  • Made it difficult for citizens to protect their communities from the risk of water and air pollution


The Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has scheduled four listening sessions throughout the state on the Siting Law Rules:

  1. Dodgeville: Thursday February 18th, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dodger Bowl, 321 King St
  2. Eau Claire: Tuesday, Feb. 23, Town of Washington Town Hall, 5750 Old Town Hall Road , 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  3. Oshkosh: Tuesday, March 2, Winnebago County UW-Extension, J.P. Coughlin Center , 625 E. County Road Y, Rooms A&B, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  4. Wausau: Wednesday, March 3, Marathon County UW-Extension, 212 River Drive , 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Please give a printed copy of your comments with your name and contact information to DATCP at the hearing. For those who are unable to attend the listening sessions, written comments, can be sent to Mike Murray by March 10th
via email to faxed to 608-224-4615
or mailed to DATCP, Attention: Mike Murray, P.O. Box 8911, Madison WI 53708-8911.

Send a separate copy to Crawford Stewardship Project as well (email and address)
Crawford Stewardship Project
P.O.Box 284
Gays Mills, Wisconsin 54631

And send a copy to your state senators and representatives.

Other action you can take:

  • Inform others of the upcoming listening sessions and encourage them to attend
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper (see samples at the bottom of this email)


Background: In 2006 the Livestock Facility Siting Rule, ATCP 51 went into effect, along with a requirement for a review of the rules in four years. This rule sets standards that local governments must follow when issuing a permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). These listening sessions and written comments will be summarized by the DATCP staff and presented to the DATCP Board at their May meeting. Comments need not be limited to these points but can speak to the overall state CAFO policy.

Talking points:

  1. The Siting Rule limits local control. As long as applications are filled out correctly and a fee of a maximum of $1000 is paid, local governments are pressured by the rules to accept an application. Any research or stronger attempts to mitigate potential environmental concerns are limited by time constraints set in the rules and expense.
    • Local government should set their own fees and create a timeline at their discretion to evaluate an application effectively.
  2. The Siting Rule limits local zoning authority. Under the law, local governments with agricultural zoning are required to allow CAFOs, at least in some areas. CAFOs are a private, for-profit industry and as such should not be granted privileges normally reserved for "common good" such as utilities. The law treats every community the same statewide regardless of local vulnerabilities. Proof of health and safety in the law's rules are vague and uncertain and thus unworkable for local government.
    • Local government needs the authority to zone CAFOs according to their local environmental concerns for water quantity and quality. Local protection of unique topography and geology and high quality waterways, prized natural areas, and historic sites is crucial.
    • "Quality of Life" issues need to be considered in zoning to include the right to clean air and water and the right to enjoy and be healthy in our yards and homes.
  3. The Siting Law is bad public policy (see reasoning below) and needs a complete revision in the legislature. In the meantime, changes in the rules are needed.
    • Add and enforce rules to prohibit building without permits. Presently, CAFOs are built first, then under pressure of possible lawsuits, are granted their permits by local government.
    • Add greater distance requirements and revise the odor control formula. Schools, homes, hospitals, scenic river ways, state parks, historic sites, trout streams, lakes, etc all deserve protection from noxious fumes. Public welfare issues need to be addressed.
  4. The Siting Law benefits private industry at the expense of the public.
    The LSL is the first law in Wisconsin that strips away traditional land use authority to solely benefit a private interest, for-profit industry. Good public policy has allowed for uniformly applicable state standards for facilities that are arguably controversial but nonetheless benefit the public as a whole: landfills to dispose of our waste; wind farms to produce renewable energy, etc. But the LSL is blatant in its intent to promote the expansion of large-scale, industrial livestock facilities for the profit of a small (<2%) segment of the livestock industry in Wisconsin .
  5. The weakness in the Rule is its combination of:
    • The "presumption of compliance" with the underlying substantive standards (i.e., an applicant is presumed to comply with the standards if it has correctly completed the siting application)
    • The cap of $1,000 on a local application fee. The result is that even those local governments that want to run a rigorous local siting program under the limitations of the LSL are hamstrung, and are tempted to throw in the towel early
    • This structure benefits local units of government who are pro-CAFO expansion because they are legally on solid ground in relying on the information found in the 25-page permit application
  6. The Rule sets a vague, uncertain, and virtually unattainable standard for local governments to meet if they want to go beyond the state standards:
    • The Rule requires local governments to make "reasonable and scientifically defensible findings of fact" that "clearly show that the standards are needed to protect public health or safety." See ATCP 51.10(3)(c) and (d).
    • DATCP has never defined what "scientifically defensible" means or what "clearly show" means.
    • This sets an absurdly high standard - why is there no trust placed in local officials to make decisions they feel are needed to protect their citizens?
    • Local governments in Wisconsin have always been allowed to set standards to protect the public welfare - at a minimum, the language should be changed to allow for that under the LSL.

Links to provide more background information:

The Livestock Siting Law and DATCP's Rules:

Midwest Environmental Advocates overview of the Siting Law:


The following is the original release sent out by the DATCP:

Release: January 22, 2010
Contact: Jane Larson (608) 224-5005 office (608) 212-3094 cell

MADISON-Four listening sessions are scheduled to gather comments on what farmers, rural landowners, government officials and others think about the state's rule related to the expansion or establishment of larger livestock operations.
"The Livestock Facility Siting rule, also known as ATCP 51, became effective in 2006. The primary purpose of the rule is to establish state standards that local governments must follow when they issue a permit or license for a new or expanded livestock operation," said Richard Castelnuovo, land and water resources section chief with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "Our department is required to evaluate the rule after four years. These listening sessions are part of the evaluation process."
The evaluation will focus primarily on state standards related to setbacks, odor and air emissions, manure and nutrient management, waste storage facilities, and runoff management.
"While we will accept comments on other aspects of the siting rule, we will focus on the state standards within the rule," Castelnuovo explained. "We are aware that there are a number of concerns that fall outside the scope of our rule but that may need to be addressed through other means such as another agency's rule or other legislation."
The state agriculture department will hold four listening sessions to gather the diverse viewpoints about the siting rule.

Each session is set for 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Dodgeville: Thursday, February 18, Dodger Bowl, 321 King Street, Dodgeville.
    (this is a change of location and times)
    Begins at 3 p.m. and continues until 6 p.m. After a break, the session will resume at 7 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m.
  • Eau Claire: Tuesday, February 23, Town of Washington Town Hall, 5750 Old Town Hall Road
  • Oshkosh: Tuesday, March 2, Winnebago County UW-Extension, J.P. Coughlin Building, Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Rooms A&B
  • Wausau: Wednesday, March 3, Marathon County UW-Extension, 212 River Drive

At the start of each session, staff will provide a short presentation on the current livestock siting permit process and ATCP 51. Attendees who complete an appearance card will have opportunity to share their comments in writing or verbally.
For those who cannot attend the sessions, written comments can be sent to the department and they carry the same weight as comments provided at the listening sessions. Send comments to Mike Murray by March 10. Comments can be sent via email to, faxed to 608-224-4615 or mailed to DATCP, Attention: Mike Murray, P.O. Box 8911, Madison WI 53708-8911.

"Once we have gathered the comments from farmers, local government, rural residents and others, we will present a summary of the comments and a plan of action to our Board. We will identify the "next steps" in the rule review process which could possibly include opening the rule for revisions if we find that is needed," said Mike Murray, the DATCP siting program manager.

The summary and plan will be presented to the DATCP Board at their May meeting. A date has not yet been set.


Mike Murray
Livestock Facility Siting Program Manager
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
(608) 224-4613