Special interest lobbying: a success story

This morning I read a copy of a news release from the Dairy Business Association (DBA) touting their success in managing Wisconsin’s Governor, State Legislature and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They believe their accomplishments have improved the dairy industry and are clearing the way to fewer regulations for greater expansion.

They say nothing about how they have improved the quality of Wisconsin’s air, land and water.

Read the excerpt below carefully between the lines to understand the true scope of DBA’s power over government. For example, they report they have partnered with town and county governments to restore $10 million in local road funding necessary to maintain roadways to meet today’s transportation needs.

The detail they leave out, of course, is the damage caused to roadways from the oversized haulers used to carry liquid manure to spread on fields far from the storage area. They go on to say they are even trying to get permission to apply the stuff at even higher rates than currently allowed. That just means more trips and more damage to the roads. What about the consequences of greater runoff of this higher rate of manure into streams, rivers and lakes?

Kewaunee Cares wants you to be informed about what’s happening all around us every day. We will continue to bring you information, both sides of an issue, so you can make up your own mind about the condition of our environment.

Dairy Business Association release

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DBA Experiences Huge Success in First Session of Legislative Session

DBA is dedicated to improving Wisconsin’s dairy business and regulatory environment. Our highest priority is regulatory reform. Here are some of our priorities as well as DBA’s accomplishments that have improved Wisconsin’s dairy industry:

State Issues

DBA was instrumental to maintaining the livestock siting law as originally developed. We continue to fight for the modernization of Wisconsin’s dairy farms as groups tried to roll-back the right of producers to expand their operations. Earlier this year, DBA stopped DATCP from rewriting the law and making it difficult to secure local permits for dairy farms.

DBA is always mindful of the necessity to use innovative technology to meet today’s regulatory requirements. Some state and local government officials oppose this concept, and spend their time telling farmers how to farm. DBA secured a letter from DNR and DATCP which resulted in Walworth County tabling a resolution to prohibit the use of center pivot irrigation for manure management.

We recently announced DNR’s intent to issue “general permits” to large dairy farms as a means to greatly streamline and expedite the CAFO permitting process. This was a DBA led effort all the way; in fact, it would not have happened without DBA at the table. DNR’s state permitting process is now easier for dairy farms that milk up to 4,000 cows and eliminates the need to complete an environmental assessment of each farm.

We think it is absolutely necessary to base regulations on peer-reviewed science. For too long, state government ignored this concept and developed regulations on the basis of “what-if” scenarios. In January, DBA secured a commitment from Governor Walker that ensures DNR and DATCP will be required to use peer-reviewed science when proposing any new regulation.

We support the need to develop air emission management practices as a means for making sure all farms comply with the federal Clean Air Act. Unfortunately, Wisconsin was poised to become a regulatory island by adopting a July 31, 2011 compliance deadline. DBA, along with other agriculture groups, successfully lobbied the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules to suspend this deadline until a workable compromise can be put in place.

DBA has partnered with town and county governments to restore $10 million in local road funding. A strong infrastructure is an important component to the growth of Wisconsin’s dairy industry. It is crucial that local governments have the funds necessary to maintain roadways to meet today’s transportation needs. Joint Finance has added this to the budget which awaits a vote by the full legislature.

DBA was successful in adding an exemption for research and development to the state budget. This provision will improve the timeline to obtain approval from the DNR for the research and development of new nutrient management technology while keeping the same environmental standards.

We recognize it is important to reduce phosphorus run-off from farms but this goal must be accomplished in an open and fair manner. DBA secured an agreement with DNR that this will only be implemented using the public hearing process and after extensive input from our farmer members. DBA’s efforts mean DNR will now treat all farms the same as the state develops new phosphorus run-off controls on field activities.

We entered into an agreement with DNR to improve the efficiency and the performance of CAFO permits by listing specific goals that DNR and DATCP needed to accomplish to insure our continued support for this program. DBA’s efforts over the last two years have made the paperwork easier for those producers who need a CAFO permit in order to operate their dairy. DBA has made certain that DNR:

  • Shares technical work and engineering reviews with DATCP;
  • Treats all producers the same when reviewing plans and specifications for expansions;
  • Streamlines the communications between the applicant, agencies, and the public;
  • Maintains a CAFO permit process tracking system;
  • Simplifies technical requirements;
  • Utilizes a “General Permit” for CAFOs and eliminates an environmental assessment for most CAFO operations; and
  • Continues to reduce the time it takes to review and approve CAFO permit applications.

DBA is working with DNR to allow increased manure application rates given new advances in seed genetics and crop management technology. As a consequence, DNR has agreed to support updating UW’s nutrient management recommendations given these advances and greater field experience in developing modern application rates.

DBA along with other agriculture groups advocated for and secured the extension of the Dairy and Livestock Farm Investment Credits to January 1, 2017. These tax credits may be claimed for a portion of the cost to expand or modernize a dairy or livestock facility.

DBA was influential in the selection of Mark Schleitwiler, Vice President of BelGioioso Cheese and DBA member, to serve on the Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and represent the interests of Wisconsin’s dairy producers and cheese makers. DBA worked directly with the Governor Walker’s office on this appointment. Schleitwiler will bring all of his expertise to bear on important issues like food safety, consumer protection, agricultural business development, and environmental protection.

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2 Comments

Filed under General Information

2 responses to “Special interest lobbying: a success story

  1. Bill

    Thank goodness that people can now find a forum to express their concerns over the failure of our government to protect our air, water, and soil from ever greated pollution.
    I hope all concerned caring citizens will contact their local, county, and state representives and ask them to DO their job to protect all Kewaunee Co. citizens from air and water pollution.
    Lets all do our part for a better tomorrow for all.
    Thank you for this website.

    Like

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