Letter: Impact of dairy expansion
I write this after much soul-searching. I am the daughter of a farmer whose land was recently taken for highway development in rural Illinois (Carthage). My childhood home was demolished. The family farmstead flattened. I saw the pain and frustra...
I write this after much soul-searching. I am the daughter of a farmer whose land was recently taken for highway development in rural Illinois (Carthage). My childhood home was demolished. The family farmstead flattened. I saw the pain and frustration it caused my grandmother, father and brother who operate the family farm today.
It seems that if one owns the land, one should be able to do with it as he pleases, especially when it is the income generator for the family, right? Sacrificing the land to the government for roadways was not what was best for my family's farm or income -- but it was better for the community. It was very hard to accept, but it had to be done.
Within in this context, I have given much thought to the Fitterer Dairy expansion. I think it needs to be considered in a broader context. Dan Fitterer is a respected, careful farmer and for that I applaud him. But, unfortunately, his property location and its future use(s) impact many other people. I'm not just thinking of the landowners around Lake Minnie Belle, I'm thinking of all Meeker County taxpayers.
Minnie Belle is a gem. Its market rates are going for nearly one quarter of a million dollars per 50 feet of shoreline. That is a huge property tax basis for Meeker County. Minnie Belle is so close to the Twin Cities it has unlimited lake property values. These properties will most certainly continue to increase at higher percentage rates than other properties in Meeker County. However, if the expanded operation causes water or air pollution, the property values of Lake Minnie Belle will fail to increase as they could have going forward.
Even if the lake is never impacted with runoff, how can that many cattle not smell? Are we absolutely positive there will be no air or water pollution from this operation? Are we absolutely sure there will be no impact on the rest of the community due to depressed property value increases? Are these risks worth taking for the betterment of one vs. the betterment of all? I think not.
Debra (Junk) Spellman