WI Farmers Union wants more in high-cap well bill

Nick Levendofsky

Wisconsin Farmers Union is not satisfied with the high capacity well bill that passed the Senate Wednesday.  Government Relations Director Nick Levendofsky says the bill is missing something.  He tells Brownfield, “Our membership has said, you know, we understand the situation, we know what’s going on, but without periodic review in this bill or in the future law, we can’t be supportive of it.”

Levendofsky says periodic reviews should keep track of two things.  “Keeping a close watch on how much water usage is being utilized, and then also not only the quantity but the quality of that water.”

If passed, the legislation would allow farmers with one or more wells on the same property capable of pumping more than 70-gallons-per-minute to be repaired, replaced, or transferred to a new property owner without a new DNR permit.  The wells are used to water livestock and irrigate crops.

The Farmers Union did support the amendment from Senator Pat Testin (R-24th) expanding a watershed study area, but Levendofsky says they will lobby for additional amendments to the bill in the State Assembly.

The Farmers Union is the only agriculture group opposed to the high-capacity well repair and replacement bill as-written.

The bill has strong support from others including the Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin Farm Bureau and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.  It also has support from majority Republicans in the Senate and Assembly.

Nick Levendofsky discusses several issues from the spring meeting with Brownfield’s Larry Lee.

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