Hearings begin on proposed Wisconsin CAFO rule changes

Wisconsin’s ag department is taking testimony on proposed rule changes for farms with more than 500 animal units. 

Proposed changes to Wisconsin’s livestock facility siting regulations, known as ATCP51 include eliminating odor scoring, changing building setbacks standards and more opportunities for local governments to restrict farm expansion. 

Mike Koles with the Wisconsin Towns Association tells Brownfield he supports the proposed changes. “The equipment has gotten bigger, so you’ve got bigger equipment, more repetitive trips, and we need to take into account that impact on the roadways.”

Raymond Hansen of Wautoma chairs the Central Sands Water Coalition and testified that where CAFO’s exist, water quality problems soon follow. 

John Holevoet with the Dairy Business Association says the proposed regulations won’t improve water quality. “If you think you’re going to get better water quality by pushing animal agriculture out, you’re wrong. What you’re going to be left with is probably as bad of an environmental situation if not worse.”

Several dairy farmers told the hearing the existing rule is better, and that changes allowing more local government oversight would defeat the purpose of having the statewide guidelines.

Twelve hearings will be held in six locations. Public hearings will end September 5th, and the Department of Ag, Trade, and Consumer Protection will accept written comments until September 13th.  On November 7th, the state’s ag board will vote on the rule changes, and after that, it would be forwarded to the Governor and the Legislature.

Mike Koles interview
John Holevoet interview

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