During the course of week, I’ve had the pleasure of attending various meetings pertaining to the policies in the county of Dunn as well as talking to the people who are affected by them. This also includes learning about how the county and community currently work towards land and water conservation, who gets a say when constructing certain policies, and how different boards will communicate to the public about these issues. Overall it’s quite interesting seeing how policies are perceived through the eyes of different individuals and their takes on what is actually important. Along with my group members Amber and Kayleigh we got to see a bit into the history of water use in Lake Menomin thanks to the Dunn County Historical Society. In order to improve the water quality here in Menomonie in addition to other areas I think it’s important to identify the social infrastructure as well as the community capacity that will help attain more measurable and sustainable results.
Another thing that I was able to improve on this week was on interviews. With my mentors help and my fellow peers I learned more about how I should conduct interviews and determine what should go into formulating questions that we ask and what shouldn’t. I’ve personally conducted interviews in the past, but I wasn’t taught much about structuring them or how to effectively get a respondent to produce more information. I also got to use a transcriber foot pedal for the first time and questioned why I hadn’t ever used one before? They make it so much easier to do transcriptions instead of just using your mouse and keyboard all the time. As I continue doing my research I hope to delve deeper into regulations and policies pertaining to water quality that affect dairy farmers. This includes both smaller family farmers and CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). From what I have already looked into Dunn County has round six CAFOs which are regulated under state statues. These statues have certain regulations that require permits for a pollutant discharge elimination system. In addition, there is also a manure management ordinance that’s in place to help protect the waters quality. I plan to get in connection with the individuals who run these farms as well as the policy makers themselves. I want to understand how the development of these policies and the phases it must go through to become official. I’m positive that this research will help me develop my skills as a researcher if it hasn’t already.