Modern Wisconsin dairy farm.
September 17, 2019

Eleven Ag Groups Object To Wisconsin’s Revised Livestock Siting Law

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Eleven agricultural groups, most of them dairy related, are objecting to proposed changes to the state’s livestock facility siting law.

The siting law was first enacted in 2004, in essence requiring local governments to be no more stringent on their livestock siting ordinances than state law unless they had sound, science-based reasons to do so. The proposed new revisions, ag groups fear, would set livestock siting back 15 years.

The rule changes are being proposed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

“The current law is working. The changes would undermine the rule’s effectiveness, hurt Wisconsin farmers and send the message that we don’t want modern dairy farms in our state,” says Tom Crave, president of the Wisconsin Business Association.

Dairy farmers and their organizations are not the only ones objecting to the proposed rules. “Wisconsin’s livestock facility site law was designed to create a uniform and understandable framework for siting new and expanding livestock farms across Wisconsin,” says Keri Retallick, executive vice president of the Wisconsin Pork Association. “The changes proposed by DATCP in this rule revision will erode that much-needed consistency and could leave Wisconsin with a patchwork of inconsistent local regulations.”

The groups say the changes would require unworkable facility setbacks, inconsistent nutrient management standards and leave undefined delegation of monitoring authority to local governments. Most local governments lack the resources to develop, implement and enforce their own standards, say the groups.

For a more detailed list of objections to the proposed siting law, click here. The DATCP meets September 19 to review the result of statewide hearings held earlier this summer on the proposed rule changes.

The 11 ag groups that object to the changes include: Cooperative Network, Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin Association of Professional Agricultural Consultants, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Wisconsin Dairy Alliance, Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and Wisconsin Pork Association.