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County will hold June 2 animal waste hearing

The Marathon County Infrastructure Committee last week Tuesday voted to hold a June 2 public hearing on a proposed animal waste ordinance revision.

Committee members said the hearing, while timed when farmers are generally busy, needed to happen sooner or later and that a further delay served no purpose.

“It’s busy in July, August and September, too,” said committee member Sara Guild, Weston. “You are heading into a busy season for farmers no matter what. I am in support of a June date.”

Committee members said they didn’t know whether a June public hearing could be held in person or if it would have to be held over the internet. That will depend on whether the state is still be under Safer at Home rules due to COVID-19.

Committee chairman Jacob Langenhahn said setting the June 2 public hearing date gave farmers plenty of time to put the hearing on their calendar or, otherwise, submit written testimony for the committee.

County land and water program director Paul Daigle said he sent a letter to 550 county farmers informing them of the proposed ordinance revisions. The letters referenced a narrated PowerPoint that details changes to the ordinance.

The PowerPoint can be accessed at Departments/CPZ/Documents/2020Chapter 1102Ordinance_Draft_v3.pdf

The committee’s action comes after the full county board sent the proposed ordinance back to committee following a request by the Marathon County Farm Bureau to hold another hearing.

Chairman Langenhahn said he supported having a second hearing. “We value our relationship with community groups,” he said.

The chairman added, however, that the county had now “gone above and beyond” to get farmer input on the ordinance re-write.