Since January 1st, 2019, Wisconsin has lost 551 farms.
At a time when our industry is struggling the most, we can’t afford any more loss or costly rule revisions. Unfortunately, that is precisely what we are facing today.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection recently accepted public comments on the proposed rule revisions to ATCP 51 (Livestock Siting).
The legislative intent of the livestock siting law was to “promote the growth and viability of agriculture in this state”. As the proposed changes are currently written, the original intent of ATCP 51 will clearly not be met.
Beginning earlier this year, WDA leadership was in direct contact with DATCP leadership, DATCP staff and the DATCP Board and articulated our concerns with the proposed rule revisions and their approach. WDA specifically asked that DATCP work with the livestock industry stakeholders to address concerns and pursue constructive changes prior to moving forward with public comments.
Despite knowing our expertise in the industry and hearing our concerns, DATCP moved forward with public comments on the proposed revisions without having significant input from stakeholders. Staff failed to ground test the impacts of the rule on actual dairy operations and account for all of the costs these proposed revisions will have.
If adopted unchanged, this revised rule would result in significant costs to operations that want to expand, resulting in a “chilling effect” on livestock industry growth. Rather than grow in Wisconsin, producers will leave the state for more workable locations. Following the supply, meat and milk processors will move new investment opportunities to wherever that supply is. The jobs those investments create simply become “collateral damage”. All of this coupled together will likely result in a monumental loss of economic generation to the state’s $46 billion-dollar dairy industry.
WDA is opposed to the 2019 public hearing draft of ATCP 51 and the process DATCP followed. The proposed rule revisions violate the legislative mandates of the rule’s authorizing statute and, if adopted, would be subject to legal challenge.
WDA believes that without significant overhaul of the rule the economic impact could be disastrous for not only the dairy industry but the meat and cheese processing industries as well.
WDA wants to work with DATCP and other livestock industry stakeholders to find economically feasible solutions that will ensure the viability of Wisconsin’s livestock industry and ease the minds of struggling farmers that there is a future for their family’s farm businesses here in Wisconsin.
to read WDA’s submitted comments on the proposed revisions to ATCP 51.