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The Rosendale Dairy near Oshkosh has lakes of manure. Seas of … stuff. And the environmental lobby has watched this “concentrated animal feeding operation” (CAFO), the largest milking operation of its kind in the state, like a hawk. Despite a number of protests, it just won approval from the state Department of Natural Resources to operate at its current capacity – almost 9,000 cows – for five more years, which means so much more poop.
The Midwest Environmental Advocates law firm in Milwaukee ranks the farm – this one farm – as the third-largest producer of biological waste in the state, behind the cities of Milwaukee and Madison. The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh even built a small power plant at Rosendale last year to burn gasses released by these waves of waste.
Each cow lined up in the farm’s two barns (and by barns, we mean airplane hangars) produced an average of 120 pounds of solid waste a day, about 40 times more than the average human. With 217 dairy CAFOs in the state, up from 92 in 2002, more and more of our milk is coming from these dynasties of dung.
OK, we’ll stop.