Wisconsin's eight-year-old Livestock Siting Rule (ATCP 51), which regulates land use across the state, is up for review this year. At a listening session hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) this afternoon in Madison, Cooperative Network voiced dairy cooperative support for ATCP 51 in its current form and shared the positive effect it has had on the state's milk supply.
Dairy cooperatives in Wisconsin market more than 80 percent of the milk and process 60 percent of the cheese produced in the state. The ability to produce an adequate milk supply is vital to the state's milk processing industry, and ATCP 51 has helped dairy cooperatives to efficiently and responsibly expand their markets, said David Ward, Cooperative Network director of government relations and dairy. He said Wisconsin's milk production is now at an all-time high of 27.5 billion pounds, and there have been very few, if any, environmental incidents associated with ATCP 51 permits.
"The original intent of the rule was to help stimulate animal agriculture in Wisconsin by making the permitting process more uniform, more predictable, and based on sound science," said Ward, who authored the bill that led to ATCP 51 as a Wisconsin legislator in 2003. Prior to the rule, each county issued land use permits based on different criteria. "Producers, their lenders, and local government now have a permitting process that creates outcomes rather than lawsuits."
Participants at today's listening session included stakeholder organizations who represent agricultural, environmental/citizen, and governmental interests. DATCP will host two more listening sessions as part of its review. The current version of ATCP 51 and historical documents are located at http://datcp.wi.gov/Environment/Livestock_Siting.
Cooperative Network serves more than 600 Wisconsin and Minnesota member-cooperatives by providing government relations, education, marketing, and technical services for a wide variety of cooperatives including farm supply, health, dairy marketing, consumer, financial, livestock marketing, telecommunications, electric, housing, insurance, worker-owned cooperatives, and more. For more information about Cooperative Network, visit www.cooperativenetwork.coop.