The top executive of an organic processing plant said he plans to fight an order by the Black Earth Village Board that wants its slaughter facility moved outside the village.
The village board voted Tuesday night to tell Black Earth Meats that it has 120 days to present the board a plan to move its slaughter operation outside the village or face litigation.
Village president Patrick Troge said Black Earth Meats has grown too big for its facility located in the middle of the village and has disrupted village services and created problems for neighbors and a school.
Black Earth Meats managing partner Bartlett Durand said the company’s plan will include telling the village to pay the estimated value of the facility, which he figured was around $1.3 million. He added that he’ll use that money to build a new plant outside the village limits, which he estimated would cost around $1.8 million.
“It’s either that or shut down the business, and we’re not doing that because we’re too important to this community,” Durand said.
The village has the right to take the building by eminent domain, which Durand said is a likely scenario because the only business that would have any interest in buying it would be a slaughterhouse.
“I’ll have to sue them for ($1.3 million). They have already made it so I can’t sell the business,” Durand added.
Black Earth Meats is the only small organic processing facility in the state and works with 80 to 100 farmers. It has 40 employees and slaughters an average of 20 animals a day, according to operations manager Jeff Parajecki.
Troge said Black Earth Meats used to employ three or four butchers and slaughter just a few animals a week. He said the increased productivity has been welcomed by the community because it has employed more people.
An overflow of animal waste and byproducts have created problems at the wasterwater treatment plant that serves Black Earth, Mazomanie, Arena and parts of Cross Plains, Troge said.
Also, neighbors have complained about bad odors, regularly see massive piles of animal guts pouring into garbage trucks and have to deal with extra truck traffic on residential streets, Troge added.
Although Black Earth Meats has resolved some of those problems, “there are still issues,” Troge said.
“It’s our opinion that moving the slaughterhouse to an outside center would alleviate a lot of the problems,” Troge added.
Troge said the board wants Black Earth Meats to keep its butcher shop in the village. But Durand said that’s just 2 percent of the business.
Durand also said the company can’t afford to build a new plant on its own because it is in the process of obtaining a $1.3 million loan for other issues.