Current Edition

current edition

Letter to the editor

Written by Willard Drysdale

To the Editor:

On May 15, a parcel package was delivered to our farm by FedEx from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) containing a letter and a copy of the Corps’ Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) and their intention to acquire our property to permanently store dredged materials.

Our 298-acre contiguous, irrigated, prime farm land would become a permanent placement site for dredged material from the Mississippi River. Our fertile and tillable farm ground would be ruined forever if this plan goes through. After a 40-year period, this land would be covered with 7.1 million cubic yards of dredged material at a minimum of 15 feet high.

The Drysdale Farm has been in existence for 78 years as a diversified farm business. My family is in full disagreement with the Corps acquisition of our property. This land has been our livelihood all our life. There are hundreds of acres of unproductive land, owned by government agencies, in much closer proximity to the dredging site that could be used, rather than using valuable farm land to place this dredged material. I am a third-generation farmer and Angus producer on this land. My daughter, who is fourth generation, needs this land to continue her cattle operation.

They don’t make land anymore.

In 1965, the Zumbro River flooded this property, my grandfather and father removed thousands of yards of sand from the very field that the Corps would like to acquire from us.

In 1970, a new dike was built by the Corps to stop flooding of our property and that of neighboring properties in Greenfield Township. The Corps built the dike to save our farm and our neighboring farms. Now, they want to cover the 298 acres with dredged sand.

The outcome of this plan will be a permanent loss of our income and livelihood. If the Corps plans to go forward with the DMMP on Lower Pool Four, this will devastate our economy. There will be a loss of tax base in Greenfield Township, Wabasha County and the state of Minnesota. Our local and regional farm and feed stores, agronomy sites, vet clinics, implement stores and several other dealerships will be affected by this acquisition.

This detailed plan not only affects us and our neighbors but also two other farm producers in the state of Wisconsin. We are working together to save what belongs to us.

We are asking you, as producers and care takers of the land, to please send in comments by June 23 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, please email your U.S. senators. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) can be reached at daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) can be reached at tester.senate.gov/?p=email_senator. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) can be contacted at enzi.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-senator-enzi, and Sen. John Barrasso can  be reached at barrasso.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form.

Please help us change this plan for the future of agriculture.

Sincerely,

Willard S. Drysdale

Greenfield, Wisc.