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Town to talk pivot permit

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ANN MARIE AMES
March 18, 2011
— Opponents and supporters of a proposal to spray watered-down manure onto growing crops soon could get another chance to share their opinions in public.

At a special meeting tonight, the Bradford Town Board and town plan commission could vote to change a town zoning ordinance requiring a conditional-use permit to operate center-pivot manure sprayers.


If the two groups move forward with the change, the town will host a public hearing in the next few weeks, Clerk Sandy Clarke said.


Nebraska farmer Todd Tuls has proposed using 10 such pivots as one way to eliminate the waste produced on the proposed Rock Prairie Dairy, a 5,200-cow farm that Tuls wants to build on Highway 14 at Scharine Road.


Tuls wants to pump waste from the top of manure-storage lagoons through underground pipes to pivots located near the farm in Bradford Township and in nearby Johnstown Township. In January, the Johnstown Town Board banned center-pivot manure spraying.


Tuls would spray the wastewater up to six times a year on each of the fields, according to his permit application filed at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Tuls has said this method allows him to keep waste moving out of the lagoons in small amounts for a large part of the year. It also would reduce odors that come with emptying lagoons in the spring and fall, and would cut back on truck traffic generated by emptying the lagoons, he said.


Center-pivot waste application is common in the western United States but is uncommon in Wisconsin. Bradford is likely one of the first municipalities to consider regulating center pivots through a zoning ordinance, said Mike Murray, livestock siting manager with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.


Tuls uses center pivots to remove waste from two farms in eastern Nebraska, which are about the same size as the proposed Rock Prairie Dairy.


Tuls also would inject liquid manure onto fields in the spring and fall and spread some solid waste. He has contracted more than 5,000 acres in the vicinity of the proposed farm to get rid of the waste.


The board and commission tabled the matter at a meeting March 10 after approving the conditional-use permit for the dairy farm facility.


Tuls could break ground as soon as weather permits. He expects to be milking cows by the end of the year.


Before Tuls can operate, he needs a wastewater permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. That application still is under review.


The DNR also will host a public hearing before acting on the application.


IF YOU GO

What: Special meeting of the Bradford Town Board


When: 6:30 tonight


Where: Bradford Town Hall, at the intersection of Bradford Town Hall Road and Carvers Rock Road, 10 miles east of Janesville.


What's on the agenda: The board could decide to change an ordinance to require a conditional-use permit to operate center-pivot manure sprayers such as those proposed for Rock Prairie Dairy. If the board decides to do so, a public hearing will be scheduled in the next few weeks.



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