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LaFarge’s Wild Rose Dairy responsible for two manure spills pursuing expansion
Wild Rose Spill 1
WILD ROSE DAIRY, a 1,000-animal-unit confined animal feeding operation in rural LaFarge, has been the site of two manure spills in less than two years.Photo courtesy of WDNR

LAFARGE - Wild Rose Dairy, a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) dairy located in rural LaFarge, responsible for manure spills into Otter Creek in 2017 and 2019, is seeking WPDES permit renewal and to expand their operation.

Their permit, being drafted by Eric Struck, WDNR Senior Wastewater Specialist, has been published in a local newspaper for a 30-day comment period.

In that legal notice, it is stated that “the department has tentatively decided that the above specified WPDES permit should be reissued.”

The legal notice further reads:

“Persons wishing to comment on or object to the proposed permit action, the terms of the nutrient management plan, or the application, or to request a public informational hearing may write to the Department of Natural Resources at the permit draftees address. All comments or suggestions received no later than 30 days [from July 30, 2020] after the publication date of this public notice will be considered along with other information on file in making a final decision regarding the permit. Anyone providing comments in response to this public notice will receive a notification of the Department’s final decision when the permit is re-issued.”

“The Department may schedule a public informational hearing if within 30 days of the public date of this notice, a request for a hearing is filed by any person. The Department shall schedule a public informational hearing if a petition requesting a hearing is received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or from five or more persons, or if the Department determines there is significant public interest.”

To submit a comment, and/or to request that a public informational hearing be scheduled and held, contact:

Eric Struck

WDNR Senior Wastewater Specialist

3911 Fish Hatchery Road

Fitchburg, WI 53711-5367


In the legal notice, it specifies:

“Requests for a public informational hearing shall state the following:

• name and address of the person requesting the hearing

• the interest in the proposed permit of the person(s) requesting the hearing

• the reasons for the request

• the issues proposed to be considered at the hearing.”

Wild Rose Dairy permit renew/expansion public notice_073020
This public notice of Wild Rose Dairy, LLC, permit reissuance and notice of intent to expand was published in the July 30, 2020 issue of the Epitaph newspaper of Viola.

Current and plans

Wild Rose Dairy’s WPDES permit has been expired since March 31, 2015. They continue to be listed as a ‘1,000 animal unit dairy,’ but the public notice and permit fact sheet about the dairy’s application for reissuance of their WPDES permit states that the dairy currently has 1,784 animal units, proposes to expand to 2,202 animal units by October 1, 2020, and to 2,812 animal units by 2022.

The 2,202 animal units proposed to be part of the dairy’s operation by October of this year include:

• 65 dairy calves (an increase of five)

• 2,156 milking and dry cows (an increase of 777)

• 403 heifers – 400-800 lbs. (an increase of 47)

• 446 heifers – 800-1,200 lbs, (an increase of 200)

At 1,784 animal units, the facility is expected to generate 11,159,875 gallons of manure and process wastewater, and 6,123 tons of solid manure in the first year of the permit term.

By 2021, the operation is projected to generate 23,914,540 gallons of manure and process wastewater, and 1,242 tons of solid manure.

Penalties for spills

The permit fact sheet for the dairy’s WPDES permit application states the following about the cases before the Wisconsin Department of Justice for the dairy’s October 2017 and May 2019 manure spills into Otter Creek as a result of failures in drag line hose systems:

“DNR has referred the farm to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for enforcement related to previous discharge events and failing to timely submit a complete application for permit reissuance. The farm has since submitted a complete permit application and is currently in substantial compliance and has fulfilled all requirements for permit reissuance. The enforcement action at DOJ is separate from this permitting action. Issuance of a permit to the farm does not resolve or in any way affect the outstanding enforcement action at the Department of Justice.”

Department of Justice Director of Communications, Gillian Drummond, reported that as of Friday, July 31, 2020, "This case is still active and there is no update at this time." 

By "case" she is referring to the case against Wild Rose Dairy for the 2017 and 2019 manure spills and fish kills into Otter Creek, their failure to submit a timely application for renewal of their WPDES permit, and their failure to report the 2017 spill for more than 24 hours.

TU 1
This chart shows the numbers of brown and brook trout killed in area trout streams in the last two years in the Coulee Region. Three of the four fish kills occurred in 2019.

Previous Independent-Scout coverage of the 2017 and 2019 spills can be found at:

2017 spill – 30,000 gallons of manure, 1,069 dead trout, waited more than 24 hours to report the spill

2019 spill – 10,000 gallons of manure, 661 dead trout