The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been verified or endorsed by Hoard's Dairyman.

Wisconsin Dairy Alliance and Venture Dairy Cooperative along with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce submitted comments to the DNR questioning their decision to do away with a CAFO General Permit.

The groups criticized the decision for a number of reasons:

  • The DNR lacks statutory authority for this action.
  • The lack of transparency associated with this policy change.
  • The DNR’s ongoing pattern of seeking higher fees and more regulations on CAFOs, while ignoring tools (like this one) to minimize red tape.
  • The implication of this determination for other WPDES general permits issued by the DNR.

“We hear time and again from the DNR that the CAFO program is understaffed and underfunded and that’s why permit renewals are behind, but then they voluntarily layer on additional red tape to the process. It makes us wonder if their claims of being inadequately resourced have any merit. The general permit is used by other industries but is now unavailable just for farms. When we've asked why this is we get no response.” said Kim Bremmer, Executive Director of Venture Dairy Cooperative.

“DNRs claim that this change will only affect a small number of farmers is only because DNR has pushed nearly all farms to the more cumbersome individual permit. This individual permit forces the DNR to spend additional time and additional cost on each permit renewal while not adding any environmental benefit. Conversely, the general permit provides more predictability and certainty for both CAFOs and DNR staff,” said Cindy Leitner, President of Wisconsin Dairy Alliance.

View comments here.

About the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance
WDA represents regulated dairy farms in Wisconsin and works diligently to preserve Wisconsin’s heritage as the Dairy State. Our non-profit organization advocates for the truth by contesting unnecessary regulations that do not protect natural resources. The WDA believes in parity for all dischargers and works to operate under the uniform “zero-discharge” standard applied to WDA members. For more information contact WDA President, Cindy Leitner at 920-254-3999.

About the Venture Dairy Cooperative:
Venture Dairy Cooperative provides third-party milk sample verification services for our members at proprietary processing plants. We support our dairy farmers of all sizes, including many CAFOs, through leadership and advocacy on their behalf. For more information please contact Executive Director, Kim Bremmer at 715-797-7796.