Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 24, 2019
By Adam Jarchow
BALSAM LAKE — It’s a fact: bacon makes everything better. Everybody knows it, except for the Polk County Board of Supervisors. If they had their way, there’d be no more bacon. Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s always turkey bacon.
Last week, the board passed a moratorium on large hog operations. This action was started when a farm in a neighboring county applied for a conditional use permit to operate a large hog farm, known as a concentrated animal feeding operation (a CAFO). So liberals in Polk County sprung into action, and got their lapdogs on the county board to pass a meaningless and legally questionable moratorium. Why?
Well, according the board, we need a “pause” or “timeout” to study the issue. Let’s think about that. A bunch of old retired guys with no particular expertise in science, farming or otherwise are going to figure out how to regulate hog farms better than the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. We have been farming in Wisconsin since before Wisconsin was a state, but now the Polk County Board needs to timeout? What a joke. It’s absurd and embarrassing.
At a time when farmers are twisting in the wind with low prices, tariffs and bad weather, we should be doing everything we can to support farms. Instead, Polk County Board members slap farmers in the face with a moratorium. It essentially says, if you get too big, we won’t trust you and will look for ways to shut you down. Every farmer, big or small, should be outraged by this action.
This episode reminds me of the old saying: “I was for local control, until I met the locals who wanted control.”
There is a strong argument that these so-called CAFO moratoriums violate Wisconsin law. My hope is that some farmer will sue Polk County and thump ‘em.
Until then, enjoy your turkey bacon.
Adam Jarchow serves as president of Empower Wisconsin. The small business owner, attorney and volunteer firefighter is a former Republican state representative in the Legislature.