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DBA Calls ATCP 51 Changes 'Unfair' to Dairy Farmers
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 08/16/2019

One of Wisconsin's largest farm organizations is crying foul over proposed changes to regulations affecting new or expanding livestock farms. This week, the Dairy Business Association publicly stated that revisions to ATCP 51, the administrative rule that regulates the approval process used by local governments that choose to add conditions for larger farm projects, are unacceptable and that previous information gathered on the subject in the past is being ignored.

"The passage of the livestock facility siting law a decade ago marked a turning point for the state's dairy community," the Green Bay-based farm group said in a statement. "It helped us to rebound from a period of decline. There are legitimate concerns that these changes will take us in the opposite direction, particularly given that they would be implemented after several years of low milk prices."

DBA board members feel the new changes fail to incorporate farmers' feedback throughout the process. A press release issued on Wednesday said 'when similar changes were proposed in 2017, the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection board decided not to move forward without more input. Although input was gathered, it has been ignored. Farmer input should have already been incorporated into the rule draft before the public hearing process.'

Meanwhile, the organization added that many of the revisions do not meet the legal requirements of the livestock siting law, which dictates that the rules must be practical, cost-effective, science-based and objective.

"The proposed new rule also runs counter to a 2011 state law, Wisconsin Act 21, which requires all administrative rules and any other proposed farm standard to be grounded in clear statutory authority," the release said.

Public hearings on the proposed changes were held on Thursday in Oshkosh. The state is also taking written comments through September 13, with a final draft rule to be presented to DATCP later this fall. Final rules are expected to be presented to the Legislature in early 2020.

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