People of Kewaunee County voice opposition to the addition of 3,000 cows to El Na Farms

LUXEMBURG, Wis. The request to add more than 3,000 cows to El Na Farms raises concerns among people in Kewaunee County. They’re afraid adding all that cattle would further contaminate their water system.

A Kewaunee County man shows the Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday the water sample he took from his home during the public hearing

El Na Farms is asking the Department of Natural Resources for a permit to more than double the amount of cows on their farm.

"Well we currently milk about 1,500 cows, and crop about 4,500 acres of land, we have dairy farm, we have been farming on that property for approximately 165 years now," said Lonnie Fenendael, Part-Owner of El Na Farms.

County officials say the 123 percent increase in herd size would add an additional 21 million gallons of cattle waste. People of Kewaunee County are worried about the effects that would have on their already contaminated water.

"Now these three thousand cows would represent what 60,000 people produce in a year," said Dick Swanson, a Kewaunee County resident.

"Well I understand their concerns, I'm always open and willing to listen to their concerns, but you know a lot of the things we are doing now are much improved on what was done a generation before," said Fenendael.

Despite Fenendael's efforts to improve cattle waste management many of Kewaunee County still disagree with letting him grow.

"Shouldn't we be figuring out how to handle the existing bovine toxins in our water supply before adding more? It just is to me, excuse the term- it's like duh," said Lynn Thompson, who lives in Kewaunee County.

"What is it going to take for the DNR agency to finally say, we recognize that we should not be permitting anymore cows or expansions in this portion of the state that is so vulnerable to contamination?" says Nancy Utesch, a Kewaunee County resident.

If the five-year permit gets approved El Na Farms would be increasing their herd from 2,675 cows to 5,970 cows. Right now El Na Farms generates 16.5 million gallons of manure and wastewater, no one at the public hearing on Tuesday spoke in favor of the increase.

The public has up until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 to submit any comments or questions to the DNR.