We scheduled our next meeting on the factory farm for this coming Thursday, February 3, at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be at:
Clinton Senior Center
508 Front Street, Clinton
(corner of Hwy 140 S & Front St.
by the car wash)
Thanks to Norbert Larson for setting this up.
At last Wednesday's meeting, we took more nominations for a name for our group. We tabled the voting until the next meeting. Here are the nominations so far:
Save Rock Prairie
Citizens for the Land
Good Neighbors Unite
Preserve the Land
If you have an idea for a name for our group, please email it to me and/or the whole group by Wednesday. We will choose a name when we meet on Thursday.
We have arranged a meeting with leaders of the Rock County Health Department. It will be held next Friday at 10 am. We have six people committed to participate. If you would like to attend, or have ideas for the agenda, please get in touch with me.
There are also two people who stepped forward to arrange to talk to Bradford Township about passing an ordinance outlawing central pivots (as Johnstown Township did recently). Contact Tim Bliss and Tammy Van Pamel if you want to be part of this effort.
Remember: we have a February 4th deadline to respond to the environmental assessment on the mega-dairy. We will discuss this at the meeting. Here is the link once again:
A number of people have suggested that we need to do stream monitoring and test wells in the area now so that we have baseline data in case the factory farm does go in. We added another team at our last meeting. I think Tammy is the only person to volunteer for the water monitoring team so far. We need more recruits!
Here is a suggested agenda for Thursday's meeting. Please let me know if there are other items that should be included that don't fall under these categories.
Draft Meeting Agenda
1) Introductions 6:30 pm
2) Updates 6:40
3) Choose a Name 7:00
4) Response to Environmental Assessment 7:10
5) Landowner spreading contracts 7:30
6) Public Events ??? 7:45
7) Teams: break out to discuss action/strategy 8:00
8) Report back 8:15
9) Adjourn 8:30
Hope to see you on Thursday. You can forward this message on to friends or neighbors that might be interested, but it's better to give them a phone call instead. We have about 40 people on our email list now, but try to call folks that you know don't use email and have come to previous meetings (or may be interested in doing so.)
What: CAFO meeting (huge factory dairy just east of Janesville)
When: Wednesday, January 26th, 6:30 PM
Where: Janesville Senior Center, 69 South Water Street, Janesville
For more information on this meeting, please contact Dwight Brass, retired Environmental Engineer at email@example.com
"When People lead, the Leaders will Follow"
Dear Fellow Factory Farm Fighters:
This will be a lengthy notice because things are happening so fast, but I’ll try to mention the most important items first.
One: Date & Place of next meeting changed! We were not able to reserve the Janesville Library for next Thursday (or next Wednesday) so I reserved a meeting room at the Janesville Senior Center. We also wanted our attorney from Midwest Environmental Advocates to be present, and she cannot attend on a Thursday evening. Here’s the scoop:
Wednesday – January 26 – 6:30 – 8 pm
Janesville Senior Center
69 South Water Street
This is more “downtown” than the library, near the Court House. You can park behind their building, in the parking lot, and enter through the back door. We are meeting in the upstairs conference room. They are charging us $30 for an hour and a half, so please bring a couple bucks to help defray the cost. (We will look into other, free, alternatives to the library. I will check out local churches, which are usually free and more comfortable.)
Please bring two other people with you to the meeting. (Supporters, not those sitting on the fence.) If you can’t make the meeting, please recruit three other people to take your place!
Two: The EA is out!
Dr. Margaret Pulera alerted us Friday that the DNR has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Tuls project. We have until February 4th at 4:30 pm to comment on it! Go to the link below to review it. There is a press release, the 20-page EA, and 12 pages of attachments.
Three: Attorney Assistance As mentioned above, Miriam Ostrov, an attorney with Midwest Environmental Advocates, a public interest law firm in Madison, will join us for the meeting. For those of you who are not already aware of this, Midwest Environmental Advocates has hired an expert to review the WPDES permit application. They can also help us:
write our own comments on the permit
help us find grants to support a water-monitoring program
assist with a PR campaign against the cow factory.
I also had a conversation Friday with Peter McKeever, an attorney with Ed Garvey’s firm in Madison. They assist community groups around the state on environmental issues and have worked on the Magnolia Township factory farm case. (Peter used to be the State Director for The Nature Conservancy.)
Peter stressed that the nutrient management plan for the dairy is a crucial issue to focus on. We need to find experts to assist us with issues like: the nature of soils on the Rock Prairie, characteristics of the groundwater table, and proximity to wetlands and other water. We should learn all we can about the potential impact on streams in the area. Here is a link Peter sent to a new report on “Management practices to mitigate hazardous animal emissions.”
Four: Outside experts knocking on our door
Karen Hudson, a national leader in the fight against CAFOs, also contacted us Friday. Karen lives near Peoria, with two CAFOs in her backyard. (Not literally.) She leads a number of groups, including the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project and Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water. Her and her cohorts can connect us with other experts and they have money to travel – to come consult with us, speak at public events, etc. John Ikerd, the agricultural economist and factory farm expert from Missouri, is on their board of directors. We are going to be arranging a conference call with them.
We also have the women who came to our last meeting, fighting the factory farm in Galena, to consult with us.
Five: Leadership teams As you can see, we now have plenty of help, but we need to take the lead to win this battle for self-determination! It is up to each of us. We made a great start at our last meeting. Attached is the list of all those who signed up for the Steering Committee or one of the three teams. Please look this over and let me know if I missed anyone. Let me know if you were not at the last meeting and want to volunteer for one of these teams.
It is not too soon to get started. It would be best if one of you from each team can take the initiative and contact the others and arrange a time to meet, either in person or by phone. If not, you can choose a time to meet on Wednesday evening.
I’d like to suggest that the Steering Committee meet at 5:30 pm Wednesday at the Senior Center. If this is not possible, please let me know and we can make other arrangements.
Six: How about a name?
I’d also like to suggest we choose a name for our group. Please note I’m not suggesting we incorporate, write by-laws, elect officers, hire a lobbyist, etc. But I do think we need a name. If nothing else, it will make it easier to reserve a room for a meeting if we are an actual entity.
My suggestion is we call ourselves: Citizens for _____ ________ __________. You fill in the blanks. (It’s always best to say we’re for something rather than against.) How about if you email your ideas in and/or bring them to the meeting? We can have a quick election, and keep the name as long as we feel it still suits us.
Seven: Public Action
The last thing I want to mention is that I feel we need to take some public action in the near future. This could be any number of things – meetings with public agencies or public officials, a large public event where we explain our position and gain support, etc. The idea is to get public visibility, focus the issue, and energize people.
One thought is to ask John Ikerd to come speak in Janesville. He will be in Rockford on March 28, and I think in Peoria about the same time. We could also have Karen Hudson and/or others make a public presentation. Karen mentioned two books they have been involved in producing – Animal Factory and CAFO Reader – that we could utilize. (This event should be a fundraiser too.)
Of course, we need to take some action before March 28. We must spend some time strategizing about meetings with public officials. Why not meetings in the next three weeks with the DNR, County Board members/committees, the county conservationist, and the Rock County Health Department? The latter three are potential allies, and we will need allies. Remember, we can accomplish some things as individuals, but we will be much more powerful as a group.
With all this in mind, I will attach a suggested agenda for the next meeting, which the Steering Committee can refine.
One more thing: Please consider writing a letter to the editor, and ask your friends and neighbors to do the same. There is the Janesville Gazette, Beloit Daily News, and Clinton Topper, depending on where you live. There may be other small weekly papers I’m not aware of. It’s best to focus on one specific aspect of the broader issue: water, clean air, property values, public health, economic issues, etc. Pick the one you feel most strongly about.
Don’t do what I did and try to cover everything in one piece. I wrote a 1,200- word piece and asked the Gazette to publish it as a guest editorial. They wanted me to chop it down to 500 words. (No exceptions!) I took many attempts at editing it down, and did a lot of haggling with the editor. I pared it down to about 600 words and gave up. There didn’t seem to be much left of my original argument! I will attach the original piece in case you might like to read it.
Hope to see you on Wednesday.
You are invited to two events this Friday evening to mark the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. In the Citizens United case the Supreme Court decided that corporate spending on elections could not be limited under the First Amendment, because corporations are "persons" and money is their "speech".
So, please join us on Friday for the following two events co-hosted by South Central Wisconsin Move to Amend (www.scwmta.org) and Liberty Tree (www.libertytreefdr.org). First, come take a stand for democracy at the:
CITIZENS UNITED ANNIVERSARY RALLY
5:30 PM, Friday, January 21
On the Steps of Capitol Building (State Street Entrance)
Speakers: John Nichols, Trish O'Neill, Mindy Preston, Kaja Rebane, Ben Manski (MC)
Immediately following the rally, join us for a merry Irish-style wake for our good friend Democracy. We will celebrate her life, raise a glass to her accomplishments, and discuss ways to revive her:
WAKE FOR DEMOCRACY
6:00-10:00 PM, Friday, January 21
Brocach Irish Pub (Upstairs), 7 W. Main Street
Featuring: The Raging Grannies, Good Food and Drink, and Great Company!
If you are on Facebook, you can RSVP to these events here:
Please feel free to forward this invitation to others who may be interested in attending either of these events. Thanks!
Co-Chair, South Central WI Move to Amend
In case you may have missed the meeting last week, there is another this Thursday.
Where: Hedberg Library
316 S. Main St., Janesville, WI
When: Thursday, January 20, 2011
Beginning at 6:30 PM
The meeting will run for one hour.
The meeting will be hosted by Dwight S. Brass. Mr. Brass holds a degree in engineering as well as an MBA. His work has included two distinct areas, environmental engineering (Illinois EPA), and business (U of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Financial analyst). As a life-long "environmentalist", he has a strong interest in projects that have the potential to wreak havoc on the environment.
In addition, he is interested in our economy, that desperately needs jobs. A mega-dairy such as this 5,000 cow facility, is likely to be more "efficient", which means fewer jobs for a given amount of milk produced. Since we don't necessarily have a shortage of milk (we actually have a glut), this additional production capacity will force other dairies, likely smaller family farm operations, out of business. The Nebraskan indicated that he may buy the needed dairy cows in Wisconsin. This could be from family dairy farms forced out of business.
Please share this information with others. The Martin Luther King Commemoration event is this Saturday, January 8, 2011, 3pm – 5pm, at Blackhawk Tech, on Martin Luther King Rd, between Beloit and Janesville.
Thanks very much.