In 2008, a 600-heifer Rockland, Wisconsin farm was ordered to pay $28,000 for a manure discharge that killed 225 trout in a nearby creek and many more fish as far as 9 miles downstream.
Some Wisconsin mega-dairies have operated without necessary permits and many never receive an onsite inspection — the state’s goal is to visit once every 5 years but admits it does not meet that goal.
Between 2003 and the end of 2010, Wisconsin will have permitted 200 mega-dairies to open or expand but has never turned down a permit application or revoked a permit, even after repeated environmental violations.
The 257,000 dairy cows, nearly 270,000 hogs, 40,000 beef cattle, 4.9 million broiler chickens, and 3.6 million egg-laying hens on factory farms in Wisconsin produce as much untreated manure as 69 million people — 12 times the population of Wisconsin.
In 2009, a Vernon County, Wisconsin dairy was ordered to pay $7,900 for allowing manure to spill from a storage facility. A state investigation found that the farm’s milk waste tanks had been modified to allow manure and waste overflow to drain down a hill into a local waterway.