Santa’s magic eventually fades into fond memories, yet there’s still the reality of any threat to Ripon’s drinking water and surrounding waterways, as a result of the Rosendale Dairy’s CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) of about 8,000 cows. The huge quantities of waste from 8,000 poop chutes, transporting disease-carrying bacteria, versus evidence of a soil’s inability to properly absorb and naturally cleanse itself of too much e. coli, nitrates, and high phosphorous levels being spread on it too quickly.

Tons of “liquified” manure stored in lined, containers over the winter (until the ground thaws), requiring spreading during warmer months with additional loads of more recent poop. How often will off-site locations be spread on and monitored? Run-off from other sources has already polluted Green Lake and Lake Winnebago watersheds; Rosendale Dairy’s operations could increase potential for further harm, to the point of no return.

I’m no expert on hydrology, agronomy or bio-chemistry, but I remain unimpressed with the typical, surface logic from “good ole boys” who either work for or profit from the Rosendale Dairy. ...

At this point, Ripon’s actions are limited due to the lack of absolutes, and I realize the imperative that no half-baked propaganda causes panic. But I’d expect Ripon’s leadership to publicly step out from its comfort zone and explain putting all its eggs in the DNR’s basket, describe any active investigation into Rosendale Dairy’s plans, note any additions or deletions to DNR’s regulations, and outline vulnerable waterways and spreading locations. Provide accurate safety tips for individual protection, when the city could not reasonably be expected to do so. Where has Ripon resident, Sen. Olsen, or Rep. Ballweg’s legislative influence, been? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; not, an ounce of profit is worth a pound of manure.

This dairy’s CAFO may negatively affect Boca Grande’s vast business interests in Ripon. At the risk of sounding flippant and shamelessly putting Boca on the spot, does its love for Ripon include a deep compassion for the individuals and children living in it? Could this be an opportunity for Jim Connelly’s resources to bear selfless generosity, for which all Ripon residents should be thankful for; and, at the very least, curtail the will and whim of what has gained unfair control over the health of thousands? Great leaders are also good followers.

— Michele Perr

321 Thorne St.

Read the full letter in the Dec. 31, 2009 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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