Wisconsin Dairy Alliance: Republicans’ need to stop Governor Evers’ attacks on regulated dairies

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Republican members of the Joint Committee on Finance have an opportunity to stop Governor Evers’ attack on large animal operations, CAFOs, during their action on the DNR budget on Tuesday. Governor Evers proposed a 91% increase in annual permit fees paid for by CAFO operators as well as a new $3,270 fee CAFOs must pay every five years.

“Dairies of all sizes have been devasted by low milk prices and tariffs in recent years. As a result, Wisconsin lost more than 700 dairies last year alone. Now is not the time to nearly double the current $345 annual CAFO permit fee or implement a massive new five-year renewal fee on CAFOs,” said Cindy Leitner, President of the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance. “DNR has plenty of money and plenty of staff to conduct their mandatory on-site review of every CAFO once every five years.”

CAFOs are highly regulated and follow strict zero-discharge standards on daily manure management at the production site. CAFO operators agree to environmental standards that are significantly higher than smaller dairies when they receive their WPDES permit.

The Governor’s proposal also included the addition of five staff positions at the DNR with the sole purpose to police CAFOs.

“There are roughly 1.3 million cows in Wisconsin. Only 300,000 of them are regulated under a zero-discharge standard, or CAFO, yet that is where the DNR continues to focus all their time and energy,” said Leitner. “It’s time for the DNR to focus on the source of the problem and stop placing additional burdens CAFO operators.”

WDA fully supports actions taken to reduce pollution in our waterways, however, unnecessary and unfair permit fees solely targeted at CAFOs missed the point completely.

About Wisconsin Dairy Alliance
WDA represents modern regulated dairy farms in Wisconsin and works diligently to preserve Wisconsin’s heritage as the Dairy State. Our non-profit organization advocates for the truth by contesting unnecessary regulations that do not protect natural resources. The WDA believes in parity for all dischargers and works to operate under the uniform “zero-discharge” standard applied to WDA members.