The Dairy Business Association’s John Holevoet recently stated that the DBA won’t apologize for pushing pro-dairy policies. He wrote this in response to an article by Lee Bergquist which revealed that the DBA lobbied Governor Scott Walker’s office to move regulatory authority of industrial farms, or CAFOs, from the DNR to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
This comes as no surprise as the DBA has not supported other efforts to protect the waters of northeast Wisconsin. While serving on a committee to rewrite rules for manure spreading in vulnerable areas, such as Door and Kewaunee counties, the DBA was unwilling to acknowledge that the science showed a minimum of three feet of soil over karst bedrock for manure spreading was needed to protect the groundwater. But rather, their representatives pushed for small farms producing liquid or solid manure be required to spread on the same two foot minimum required of factory-sized operations, some with more than 7,500 cows.
It is also no surprise that open records requests have revealed that the DBA provided the Governor detailed plans and talking points to move CAFO authority away from the DNR, the agency charged with protecting our water resources, to an agency who has a role in promoting farming. And, these documents came the day before Governor Walker announce plans to this shift.
I agree that the DBA need not apologize for their efforts to promote industrial size farms. That’s their business.
Who should apologize is Governor Scott Walker for so willing opening his door to the an organization that represents a small number of producers and ignores the 5.9 million Wisconsin citizens depending on safe drinking water, including the 20,000 citizens of Kewaunee County facing a clean water crisis.
Rather than take away CAFO regulation from the DNR, the Governor should propose legislation to better protect our most valuable resource: water!
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.