Dairy Business Association: Farmers Union not held to environmental standards of CAFOs

Contact: Laurie Fischer

Executive Director

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: (920) 366-1880

Oneida – A recent decision by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), which required additional environmental documentation for a proposed new 4,000 dairy operation, included extensive environmental research and assessments from federal, state and local authorities. With over two years of research and 33 different permit approvals, the site required extensive environmental research and engineering analysis. In addition, the site was highly scrutinized to ensure protection to the environment. Only then, after this entire process, did the WDNR issue the permit.

“Farmers Union should not attack Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that have completed the comprehensive environmental review process required by the DNR. CAFOs in Wisconsin are required to comply with the most stringent environmental operating standards in the United States, but Farmers Union members are exempt from those same high environmental standards,” said Laurie Fischer, Executive Director of Dairy Business Association (DBA).

“The last thing the dairy industry needs is dairymen arguing over investment in the industry which will lead to more jobs at a time when Wisconsin so desperately needs them. I am very frustrated that Farmers Union would come out attacking fellow dairy producers especially because of the success the dairy industry has had over the last several years working together with the Governor and the legislature for the good of Wisconsin’s $20 billion industry. The benefit the entire dairy industry has achieved has been beneficial for all producers and cheese manufacturers by offering tax credits along with increased environmental protection,” said Jerry Meissner, President of DBA.

Wisconsin is already home to many dairy operations with 4,000 cows – all which have proven to be beneficial to the community and the environment. There are over 170 CAFOs in the state and none are allowed to discharge manure. Policy reform is not necessary for CAFO producers who already comply daily with hundreds of regulations. Whether you like them or not, CAFO’s have proven to improve water quality.

At a recent meeting with cheese processors and manufacturers where 60% of Wisconsin’s milk supply was present, the processors and manufacturers expressed to producers the need for continued expansion of dairies in Wisconsin. They further stated that after 20 years they finally felt they had the milk supply necessary to run facilities at full capacity enabling them to stay in business. Lastly, the processors and manufacturers expressed their commitment to find a home for any future milk increases in the State.

With an estimated loss of 440 dairy operations in 2008, Wisconsin desperately needs reinvestment in the farming infrastructure. DBA welcomes all expanding dairies who comply with regulations that will protect and improve Wisconsin’s environment and economy.

About DBA

The Dairy Business Association is an industry organization comprised of dairy producers, corporate and allied industry supporters. DBA promotes the growth and success of all dairy farms in Wisconsin by fostering a positive business and political environment. For more information about DBA, please visit our website at http://www.widba.com.