TOWN OF LA PRAIRIE (WKOW) — A new egg farm could bring three million chickens to Rock County, and it could break ground as early as next spring.
After months of meetings and negotiations, including a public input session, the Town of La Prairie granted S&R Farms a conditional use permit Wednesday for a new facility off of South Belding Road in La Prairie. The building will be a ways off the road for bio-security purposes, and the facility will be something much larger than the town has ever seen.
At a public hearing last month, Town Chair Allan Arndt says people voiced many concerns gien the scale of the farm, particularly about its smell and the increased traffic to and from the facility.
As far as traffic, the town negotiated a direct route with the farm along South Belding Road and County Road S to the Interstate, which S&R has agreed to help maintain, as well.
S&R already operates a farm in Whitewater with more than four million chickens. Arndt toured that facility and says he was amazed at the cleanliness and lack of odor outside. While he knows it won’t be like that all the time, he says he’s confident the farm will fit in well in La Prairie.
“There was one statement that was made that said, ‘I don’t want to live next to three million of anything,” Arndt recalled from the public hearing. “I think we can sympathize with her opinion. That said, this is an agricultural community, and if you have a residence next to ag land, you should probably figure that someday you’re gonna have an ag neighbor that’s different than the one you have today… This has the economic impact of 500 $200,000 homes in the Town of La Prairie. I think most of us would rather have three million chickens than 500 homes.”
No one from S&R Farms was available Thursday for comment.
Ardnt said a lot of the big decisions are made at the state level rather than by the town and that more permits will be required before construction begins.
He says the eggs, however, will stay in Wisconsin, and the feed for the chickens will be purchased locally as well.