In Wisconsin, Dairy Group Files Lawsuit Over New Regulations

Rick Barrett reported on Friday at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online that, “A farm group that represents some of Wisconsin’s largest dairy operations has sued the state Department of Natural Resources, saying the agency has overreached its authority on key regulations.

“The lawsuit filed in Brown County Circuit Court by the Dairy Business Association, of Green Bay, centers on how the DNR implements new regulations as some dairy farms now have thousands of cows in confined animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs.

“The lawsuit cites an example of rules regarding the management of rainwater that comes into contact with feed storage or calf hutch areas.”

Mr. Barrett noted that, “For years, the Dairy Business Association said, the DNR encouraged farmers to create areas filled with plants, known as vegetative treatment areas, where the rainwater was naturally absorbed and processed by the vegetation.

“Then in 2016, the association said, the agency began requiring farmers to collect the water and add it to manure pits for spreading on fields.

“The lawsuit alleges the change circumvented Wisconsin law, which requires agencies to follow a specific method of rule-making.”

The Journal Sentinel article added that, “The Dairy Business Association said the agency’s reversal on vegetative treatment areas has caused farmers to spend millions of dollars on manure storage lagoons, which could actually increase the risk of pollution.”

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