Last week, a DNR specialist gave an hour-long PowerPoint presentation about what rules and restrictions Rosendale Dairy must follow to ensure the purity of surface and groundwater with regard to manure application.

Then it was time for a few words from the operations manager of the state’s largest dairy, located about 10 miles east of Ripon.

He offered a less-technical observation:

“It would be physically impossible to land-apply manure with an 80,000-pound, fully-loaded Peterbilt” truck when groundwater is within 24 inches of the soil surface, said Bill Eberle. “The axle would be buried a foot deep.”

Eberle, who has spent much of his life on more conventional-sized farms before becoming operations manager of the state’s largest dairy, was attending the July 12 meeting of the Fond du Lac County Board of Health.

Board member and county Supervisor Tom Dornbrook, Brandon, invited a representative from the DNR to attend the board meeting to explain the dairy’s proposal to monitor the land on which it considers applying manure from its 8,000 cows.

While noting that, unlike the DNR, the committee has no jurisdiction over the dairy’s manure applications, Dornbrook said the County Board’s interest in water-quality issues would be heightened “if something does happen to our water table and does affect our citizens.”

Read the full story in the July 21, 2011 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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