Advisory Action Addresses Ag Issues
On June 18th, the Portage County Board of Supervisors passed an advisory resolution supporting Local Control for Livestock Siting.
The resolution specifically addressed ATCP 51, the regulation that oversees livestock siting in the state. Current state law regarding livestock siting preempts local control, meaning that even if the local community has reason to oppose the placement of a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), it’s incredibly difficult for a county, town, or municipality to contest it.
The resolution states that it “recognizes the authority of ATCP 51 to set statewide, minimum standards and procedures for CAFOs but supports lifting the preemption of local control in ATCP 51 and allowing local governments to pass more stringent standards and procedures that are based on reasonable and scientifically defensible findings of fact that clearly show that the standards are needed to protect surface water and groundwater and air quality and public health or safety without seeking DATCP or DNR approval.”
From 2011-2016, Wisconsin lawmakers passed more than 162 measures that represent unfunded mandates and restrictions on the decision-making power of local governments, according to a May 16 2016 memo released by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Tommy Enright, a farmer in the Town of Amherst and author of the resolution, stated that due to Wisconsin’s diverse geology and hydrology, a “one size fits all” approach like ATCP 51 does not adequately address vulnerable areas.
Despite the loss of thousands of farms in Wisconsin and across the US, farms have been trending toward more and more animal units per farm. From 2000-2017, the only dairy farm types that saw a rise in numbers were those over 1000 cows. Dairies over 2000 cows saw an over-250% increase.
“This not an anti-farming resolution,” Enright stated. “As a farmer myself, I view farmers as stewards of the land, and acknowledge that there are responsible and conservation-minded farmers at all scales of production.”
“What I’m really trying to get at, and what I’d like to reiterate, is that as citizens of Portage County, we know what’s best for our communities. Wisconsin towns and counties should have control over what’s happening in their own backyards.” ffffffffffff