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State files criminal charges against dairy farm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — State prosecutors filed criminal charges against a Kewaunee farmer, agronomist and hauler who allegedly illegally dumped nearly 3 million gallons of excess manure that washed into tributaries of Lake Michigan.

All three defendants are charged with felony counts of conspiracy and fraud, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Wednesday.

According to a criminal complaint, the farmer had accumulated too much manure at his 2,000-cow dairy operation in late 2019 and hired a hauler to spread it in order to avoid a permit violation. The manure spread on the saturated fields exceeded what was allowed by the farmer’s permit, and the excess manure washed into tributaries of Lake Michigan, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that the person who spread the manure gave the farmer a false report saying he had spread much less.

DNR agents investigating the spills estimated there were about 3 million gallons of unaccounted-for manure spread and found records indicating that all three defendants were aware of the fabricated record, the complaint said.

None of the defendants could be reached for comment Tuesday, and no attorneys were listed in court records for them, the State Journal reported. The charges were announced by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.

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