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Agricultural Crop Field Details
The current red pine plantation area that will be used for production fields and buffer zones will be 5,940.
The red pine plantations are currently owned by Plum Creek Timber Company.
1,280 acres will remain as red pine plantation to provide buffer zones.
4,660 acres will be converted from pine plantation to irrigated fields that will be used for growing vegetable and feed crops.
There is an additional 1,800 acres that is part of the existing productive Wysocki agricultural fields that will be used for our nutrient management plan. (Please note that this does not involve converting red pine land and is land that is already being farmed.)
The converted agricultural crop fields will utilize 37 new High Capacity Wells and one existing High Capacity Well primarily from May through September. This is fewer than the originally proposed 49 wells.
Fields will be planted in potato, alfalfa, sweet corn, field corn, peas and beans.
The agricultural crops will require an annual and field-specific Nutrient Management Plan that must be approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
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Groundwater Monitoring

Golden Sands Family Farm is the first dairy farm or vegetable grower in Wisconsin to voluntarily propose to install groundwater monitoring wells at land application fields.
A comprehensive groundwater level and water-quality monitoring plan has been developed for the Golden Sands Family Farm including the Agricultural Crop Fields proposed for conversion from pine plantation.
Sufficient monitoring wells have been proposed to evaluate potential water quality changes along five separate groundwater flows that traverse the agricultural fields proposed for conversion from pine plantation.
Groundwater monitoring conducted pursuant to the monitoring plan will provide early warning of any potential adverse effects to water quality in neighboring residential wells.
The monitoring wells proposed for the agricultural fields consists of seven monitoring wells screened across the water table and four deeper monitoring wells (piezometers) screened below the New Rome member.
Three of the monitoring wells are located upgradient of the agricultural fields proposed for conversion from pine plantation and the purpose of these wells is to quantify the quality of groundwater flowing into the converted fields from upgradient of the Golden Sands Family Farm project.
Five water-table monitoring wells, and three deeper wells, are located downgradient of the agricultural fields proposed for conversion from pine plantation and upgradient of clusters of residences to quantify the quality of water flowing beneath the fields.
The monitoring system is spatially configured to provide information on potential changes in groundwater quality from upgradient to downgradient of the converted agricultural fields and to provide data that will serve as a sentinel to potential adverse changes in downgradient residential wells.   
All monitoring wells initially will be sampled monthly for eight months to establish background conditions.  The monitoring wells associated with converted agricultural fields will be sampled every 15 months thereafter.
Water samples collected from the wells will be analyzed for nitrate, nitrite, total organic nitrogen, ammonia, chloride, coliform, total dissolved solids, chemical oxygen demand, pH, specific conductivity and temperature.
The water-quality results from the groundwater monitoring program will be reviewed annually to determine if changes in cultivation practices are needed to reduce the potential for adverse water-quality changes.
Groundwater use will be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources annually, as required pursuant to Wis.  Admin. Code Ch. NR 820.

Nutrient Management Planning

Golden Sands Family Farm has contracted with a Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection qualified nutrient management planner to develop a field-specific plan for crop fertilization and soil management on our Agriculture Crop Fields.
This management tool is called a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) and is required under Wisconsin's Water Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit.
Implementation of a NMP helps prevent or minimize manure or other wastewater runoff from fields to surface water or groundwater.
Our NMP describes, in specific detail, field characteristics, soils information, soil nutrient content, planned crops, tillage, nutrient application rates, locations and methods of application.
Our NMP tailors the application of nutrients in accordance with the specific, measured needs of our crops and specific soils of each field.
Our planned anaerobic digester and diversity of crops in the NMP provide an even greater ability for us to fine-tune the specific applications of nutrients as compared to traditional (i.e., non-integrated) dairy or produce operations.

Crop Management

Crop Rotation
Golden Sands Family Farm will utilize a dynamic crop rotation of alfalfa, corn silage, sweet corn, grain corn and vegetables.
The proposed crop rotation takes advantages of the differences between the crops to maximize overall nitrogen use efficiency.
To the extent practicable, we will be planting fall cover crops after crop harvest for additional nutrient uptake and minimize soil erosion.
Organic Nutrient Integration
Through our ability to incorporate organic fertilizers from the dairy, our crops are less dependent on chemical fertilizers and the quality of the sandy soils is improved by increasing the content of organic matter in the soil.
Adding organic matter from our dairy to the soils improves the water and nitrogen holding capacity of the soil; which, in turn, reduces the need for irrigation.
Nutrient Application
Through our Nutrient Management Plan, we will tailor the application of nutrients in accordance with the specific, measured needs of our crops and specific soils of each field. 
Our planned anaerobic digester and diversity of crops in the NMP provide an even greater ability for us to fine-tune the specific applications of nutrients.
Irrigation Management
 
Crop fields at Golden Sands Family Farm will be irrigated with water via center pivot irrigation systems.
Our computerized irrigation system will be remotely monitored to ensure crops receive an appropriate amount of water to achieve crop yield goals while reducing overwatering.
Variable speed drives added to irrigators allow us to vary the application rate to meet the crop need
Soil moisture probes can be used to help determine if a field needs to be irrigated.
Implementing low pressure irrigation systems increases the size of the water droplets applied to the crop, placing them closer to the developing crop.  
Evapotranspiration losses from the crops are measured daily allowing irrigation personnel to replace the exact amount of water lost.
Professional meteorologists’ short-range local forecasts are consulted to reduce the amount of irrigation water needed. 
Telemetry, including readings from wind meters and rain gauges mounted on the pivot, is used to remotely monitor and control each irrigation system.
The use of state of the art irrigation equipment has been found to provide desirable benefits including a 68% improvement in crop field and quality, 16% reduction in the loss of fertilizer and pesticide loss caused by overwatering, and 26% reduction in soil erosion (USDA, 2008).

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Economic Benefits
Construction of the Golden Sands Family Farm is estimated to provide 100 new jobs for about six months and 50 jobs for an additional six months.
The dairy itself will provide approximately 40 new permanent full-time jobs, including veterinarians and assistants, herdsmen, milkers, feed attendants, heavy equipment operators, animal breeders, forage harvesters, transport drivers and office staff. 
The Wysocki Produce Farm also will require an additional 5 to 10 people for farm operations and land clearing in support of the farm. 
When it is fully operational, the Golden Sands Family Farm will have local payroll of $1.5 million and a procurement of $6 million annually; this will increase the local tax base by approximately $11 million on an annual basis.

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Permits & Approvals
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are heavily regulated operations that require numerous permits and approvals before operations can begin. Below are the organizations involved in the permit and approval process, along with their areas of authority.
WDNR Permits & Approvals
Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
 

The purpose of a CAFO WPDES permit is to protect water quality.  The Golden Sands Family Farm dairy CAFO WPDES permit will contain numerous restrictions and requirements that we must comply with, including, but not limited to:

1. Proper design, construction and operation of structures associated with manure and process wastewater handling at the site;
2. A zero-discharge effluent limitation for the production area;
3. Development and implementation of emergency response and operation, maintenance and monitoring plans;
4. Requirements to contain and properly manage runoff from animal housing, feed storage and manure storage facilities to meet effluent limitations and ground and surface water standards;
5. Daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly inspection requirements for facilities;
6. A requirement to maintain at least 180 days of manure and process wastewater storage on-site;
7. Restrictions on the amount, location, and timing of applications of manure and process wastewater through a Nutrient Management Plan; and
8. Significant recordkeeping and reporting requirements for land application activities
Stormwater Construction Site Permit (Wis. Stats. Ch. 283 and Wis.  Admin. Code Ch. NR 216) 
High Capacity Well Permits (Wis. Stats. §281.34, and Wis. Admin. Code Chs. NR 812 and 820)
Drinking water standards for non-transient, non-community wells (Wis. Admin. Code Ch. NR 812; §809.04)
Review and approval of manure storage facilities, transfer systems, feed storage and runoff control systems (Wis. Stats. §281.41)
Nutrient Management Plan review and approval (Wis.  Admin. Code Ch. NR 243, and NCRS technical standard 590)
Water withdrawal registration and reporting (Wis. Admin. Code Ch. NR 856)
Protection of endangered and threatened species (Wis. Stats. §29.604, and Wis. Admin. Code Chs. NR 27 and 29)

Wood County Permits & Approvals
Approval of on‑site domestic wastewater system
Manure storage permit
Fire number/address
Permit to install utilities in a county road right-of-way
Permit to haul oversized loads on county roads
Driveway permit to access county highways

Other Permits & Approvals
Town of Saratoga building permit
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Premise ID and Grade A Dairy Permit
Department of Transportation driveway permit

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Maps
(the images below have been reduced to accomodate mobile devices. If you would like to view larger images, please click here.)
Golden Sands Family Farm Project Area

Regional Location Map for Golden Sands Family Farm

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Dairy Operation Details
Golden Sands Family Farm will be operating a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) similar to its sister facility in Nekoosa – Central Sands Dairy. Any Wisconsin animal feeding operation with 1,000 animal units or more is considered a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). CAFOs are heavily regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, including the need to receive a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit to comply with the Clean Water Act. The water quality protection permits ensure farms use proper planning, nutrient management, and structures and systems construction to protect Wisconsin waters. 
The Golden Sands Family Farm dairy operation will consist of 98 acres of converted red pine plantation. This area will include all of the facilities associated with the dairy operation including housing for all of the animals, the milking parlor, feed storage facilities, digester facilities and other storage facilities associated with our dairy operations.
The location for the dairy was chosen because it is as isolated as possible from existing homes and water resources and it is also in an area that does not support any threatened or endangered species.
When fully operational, the dairy will house 3,400 milk cows, 600 dry cows, 300 heifers and 1,000 calves, totaling 6,130 animal units.
The dairy plans to construct two High Capacity Wells to supply drinking and processing water for the cows and dairy operations.
The dairy will utilize an anaerobic digester to reduce odor, produce renewable energy for the dairy and process the necessary organic fertilizer (liquid & dry) for the agricultural crop lands.
The dairy itself will provide approximately 40 new permanent full time jobs, including veterinarians and assistants, herdsmen, milkers, feed attendants, heavy equipment operators, animal breeders, forage harvesters, transport drivers and office staff. 
On an average day there will be approximately five truckloads of milk leaving the dairy, 15 to 20 feed loads and an additional 5 to 10 varied deliveries.  The estimate for the average day traffic would be 60 vehicles made up of 35 cars and 25 semi-trucks.
   
Additional Dairy Operation Details

Buildings & Storage

Construction of the Golden Sands Family Farm dairy is designed to occur in two phases:
Phase 1
The dairy plans to construct two 98' by 1,553' free stall barns. A free stall barn provides farm animals with a clean, dry, comfortable resting area and easy access to food and water. Cows that are housed in free stall barns are not restrained and are free to enter, lie down and move about the barn whenever they choose.
A 92' x 370' milking parlor and holding area will be built adjacent to the free stall barns.
A 113' by 420' barn will be constructed to house dry cows, and one 98' by 428' special-needs barn will be constructed to house and care for the cows and heifers.   The calves will be housed in calf hutches.  
A 650' x 650' concrete pad will be constructed for silage storage. The feed pad is concrete and designed to be water tight to prevent leachate and runoff from coming into contact with subsurface soils.
A 120' x 650' asphalt pad will be constructed to store dry hay. 
Two 40' x 50' concrete stacking pads will be built between each end of the free stall barns to stockpile the sand that is used for bedding in the barns.
A 260' x 100' commodity building will be constructed to store feed supplements.
Three concrete waste storage facilities will be built to handle liquid manure. Two of the facilities will be built to handle 6.6 million gallons of liquid manure and the third will be built to handle 26.9 million gallons. All of the waste storage facilities are designed with watertight concrete liners with a secondary 8" clay liner to prevent waste from coming into contact with subsurface soils.

Phase 2
The digester will be built during phase 2. The digester is planned to be operational at the time the facility is populated with animals. Specific details of the anaerobic digester plans have not yet been finalized because technology continues to advance and we prefer to construct and install the most advanced technology on the market at the time the facility is built and ensure the digester is properly sized.
A 90' x 176' manure processing building will be built to house the mechanical separators that will separate the sand from the liquid manure.
A 300' x 400' concrete pad will be built for separated solids and sand stacking.

Manure Management

Golden Sands Family Farm dairy will be classified as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


CAFO permit requirements include DNR approval of reviewable facilities including manure storage facilities; runoff control structures; manure treatment or transfer systems, including those related to animal housing; digesters for biogas production; and other structures or systems associated with the storage, containment, treatment, or handling of manure or process wastewater. [Source: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/AgBusiness/CAFO/PlansSpecifications.html]


Golden Sands Family Farm will be installing an anaerobic digester on site at the dairy. The digester will be fully integrated into the manure handling and processing facilities.


Manure generated in our free stall barns will be collected by vacuum tankers and transferred to a tank in our separation building. 


Once the sand is removed from the manure, the manure will be pumped to our digester, where it will be held for approximately 22 to 30 days.  The naturally-occurring bacteria in the digester consume organic solids in the manure and biologically transform the nutrients in the manure into forms that increase the efficiency of crop uptake of nutrients.


From the digester, digested manure will be pumped back to the separation building where manure solids will be mechanically separated and stacked on the separated solids pad. The separated solids pad is concrete and designed to be water tight to prevent runoff from coming into contact with subsurface soils.


Manure solids look, feel and smell similar to the potting soil you use in your garden. In fact, landscape companies use these post-digested solids as compost.


The digested liquid manure that remains after the solids are separated will be pumped to the manure storage basin. All of the waste storage facilities are designed with water tight concrete liners with a secondary 8” clay liner to prevent waste from coming into contact with subsurface soils.


Liquid and solid manure will be land applied in accordance with our Department of Natural Resources approved Nutrient Management Plan, in accordance with Wis. Admin. Code Ch. NR 243 and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NCRS) Code 590 conservation practice standards for nutrient management.

Groundwater Monitoring

Golden Sands Family Farm is the first dairy farm or vegetable grower in Wisconsin to voluntarily propose to install groundwater monitoring wells at land application fields.
A comprehensive groundwater level and water-quality monitoring plan has been developed for the Golden Sands Family Farm including the dairy.
Groundwater monitoring conducted pursuant to the monitoring plan will provide early warning of any potential adverse effects to water quality in neighboring private wells.
The monitoring plan for the dairy consists of five monitoring wells.
The five monitoring wells proposed for the dairy consist of an upgradient water-table monitoring well, three downgradient water-table monitoring wells, and a downgradient deeper monitoring well.  The downgradient monitoring wells are located immediately downgradient of the manure and wastewater storage basins and the feed storage pad.
The monitoring wells associated with the dairy will be constructed within 60 days of completion of construction of the dairy facilities.
All monitoring wells initially will be sampled monthly for eight months to establish background conditions.  The monitoring wells associated with dairy will be sampled quarterly thereafter. 
Water samples collected from the wells will be analyzed for nitrate, nitrite, total organic nitrogen, ammonia, chloride, coliform, total dissolved solids, chemical oxygen demand, pH, specific conductivity and temperature.
Groundwater use will be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources annually, as required pursuant to Wis.  Admin. Code Ch. NR 820.

Odor Control

Golden Sands Family Farm will be covered by Wisconsin’s Livestock Facility Siting Law. Facilities covered by the Livestock Facility Siting Law must comply with an odor standard that uses a predictive model to determine acceptable odor levels from the farm areas, including manure storage, animal housing and open lots.
The dairy will utilize an anaerobic digester to reduce odor associated with the dairy.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, manure digesters offer the following environmental benefits to livestock facilities: "Anaerobic digestion technologies provide air and water quality benefits including pathogen destruction, odor control, organic stability, greenhouse gas (methane) and hydrogen sulfide emissions reductions, and some nutirent management benefits."
The digester will reduce pathogens from manure generated at the dairy by 95% to 98% and will have significant odor-reduction benefits for the dairy and at fields receiving land applied manure.

Renewable Energy Generation

The Golden Sands Family Farm dairy will utilize an anaerobic digester not only to reduce odor, but also to produce renewable energy for the dairy and the local energy grid.
The digester will generate approximately 11,500 kilowatt-hours (KWHs) of energy per day. 
The energy consumption at the dairy is expected to be less than the amount of energy produced, and the surplus energy produced will be sold back to the utility.  Thus, Golden Sands Family Farm will be a net producer of renewable energy and will provide numerous benefits to the local rural electrical system.
The electricity produced from the digester methane qualifies as a renewable resource for utilities required by law to generate a portion of their energy from renewable resources and through voluntary programs for customers in Wisconsin and other states.
Electrical service in the Golden Sands Family Farm area is provided by Adams Columbia COOP and Alliant Energy, both of which are members of Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities’ statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program that has operated since 2001 to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Cow Comfort

The majority of mature animals will be housed in two freestall barns.
A free stall barn provides farm animals with a clean, dry, comfortable resting area and easy access to food and water.
Cows that are housed in freestall barns are not restrained and are free to enter, lie down and move about the barn whenever they choose.
Animals will be bedded with sand. Sand bedding is widely considered the best material for ensuring cow comfort and will be used in all animal housing at the dairy.

Traffic

On a daily basis, the Golden Sands Family Farm Production Area will operate with approximately 15 people on site at a time.  Shift changes throughout the day do not coincide with peak traffic times. 
On an average day there will be approximately five truckloads of milk leaving the Golden Sands Family Farm Production Area, 15 to 20 feed loads and an additional 5 to 10 varied deliveries. 
The estimate for the average day traffic would be 60 vehicles made up of 35 cars and 25 semi-trucks.

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