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Rally to help finance court case against farm

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ANN MARIE AMES
April 1, 2011
— Rural residents in western Rock County and eastern Green County are asking the public to support their fight against a large dairy farm.

The public is invited Saturday to a benefit to raise money for legal costs incurred by town of Magnolia and residents as their case against Larson Acres moves to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


Larson Acres is Rock County's largest dairy farm. It has 5,580 animal units. One cow equals 1.4 animal units.


The meal and rally, which is scheduled for Saturday, will include soup, buffalo meat tacos, vegetarian tacos and ice cream. The buffalo meat was raised by the Heider family of Janesville, the spinach for the veggie tacos is being grown by Scotch Hill Farms in Brodhead, and the ice cream will come from Sassy Cow Creamery in Columbus.


The case will have an impact on the protection of Wisconsin's water and the future of local control—rather than state control—to enforce rules governing public safety and health, according to a news release from Tony Ends, owner of Scotch Hill Farm.


The Supreme Court decision is expected to set a precedent as to how the state's livestock siting law interacts with local zoning authority, according to a news release from the court. It will be the first such case accepted by the court.


The case revolves around conditions the town placed on the Larson Acres permit in 2007 to protect groundwater—an action the farm claimed was micromanagement.


The farm appealed to the livestock siting board, which found in the farm's favor.


The town and a group of neighbors appealed the livestock siting board's decision in Rock County Court. A judge vacated the siting board's decision.


The farm and the livestock siting board then took the case to the District 4 Court of Appeals, which said the siting board acted within its powers when it reversed some of the town's conditions.


The town and the neighbors sought Supreme Court review.


The town's attorney has agreed to argue the case for $15,000. A town board member donated $10,000 toward the expenses, and the town has budgeted $5,000 for legal expenses in 2012.


The citizens group's legal fees are separate from the town's.


IF YOU GO
What: Benefit meal to raise money for legal costs incurred by residents and the town of Magnolia to argue the Larson Acres case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
When: 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2.
Where: American Legion Hall, 3913 S. Highway 213, Orfordville.
Details: Money raised will go to the Green-Rock Citizens for Clean Water, Green Rock Audubon Society and the town of Magnolia to pay for costs associated with litigating the Larson Acres case in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Cost: Donations of any size may be made at the benefit. RSVP or send checks to Green-Rock Audubon Society, c/o Linda Adams at Brodhead Packages Plus, 1021 1st Center Ave., Brodhead, WI 53520. Email Adams at bpackages@frontier.com. For more information, contact Tony Ends at (608) 897-4288 or email tony@scotchhillfarm.com.

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