The number of CAFOs, or concentrated animal feeding operations, has shot up in the past decade — as have concerns about their impact on water quality and quantity.

Big farms, frac sand mines could feel force of judge’s groundwater ruling

Two weeks ago, Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt approved the state Department of Natural Resources’ issuance of permits for a large and controversial dairy farm in Central Wisconsin. But he also reduced the amount of water the farm could pump from proposed high-capacity wells and required the DNR to consider the impact of the withdrawals in conjunction with other, nearby wells — a concept known as cumulative impacts.

Wisconsin dairy CAFOs

Mega-dairy’s growth plans hotly debated

A four-day hearing on challenges to the expansion of a Kewaunee County mega-dairy illustrated deep divisions, ranging from neighbors who shared fears of polluted wells and illness to fertilizer and feed dealers who showed up to express their support of big farms.

Wisconsin milk board claims dairy aids weight loss

A major Wisconsin dairy group continues to promote dairy products for weight loss, four years after two national groups, under pressure from the Federal Trade Commission, agreed to stop.

Should raw milk sales be legalized?

For farmer Brian Wickert, the raw milk bill is about having the freedom to live without interference from the government. But for health officials in America’s Dairyland, it’s about potentially exposing unsuspecting citizens to disease-causing bacteria. At the crux of this debate is the age-old question: How much should government protect its citizens from possible hazards?

Slideshow: A community transformed (Dairyland Diversity Part 6)

Reporter Jacob Kushner and photographer Jake Naughton went to Darlington, Wis., for the latest installment of our Dairyland Diversity package (it’s here: Immigrant dairy workers transform a rural Wisconsin community). And they came back with an unusual coming-to-America story. One in which the old guard and the new wave are actually living in relative harmony.