The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture is holding listening sessions around the state on the Livestock Siting Law, which governs Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. The Livestock Siting Law went into effect in 2006 and is now up for review.
This is our opportunity as citizens to speak and bring written comments. The closest session to our area is from 3 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Dodger Bowl, 321 King St., Dodgeville.
Comments can be sent by March 10 to firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael Murray, DATCP, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, WI 53708-8911.
The Livestock Siting Law limits local control. As long as CAFO applications are filled out correctly, local governments are pressured by the rules to accept an application. The maximum application fee a local government can charge is only $1,000, which does not cover costs, especially if more research or additional expert opinions are warranted. Local governments should be able to set their own timelines and fees.
Further, the law allows facilities to build before permits and licenses are in place, and thus, under pressure of possible lawsuits, permits are granted.
If a local community zones agricultural, it is required to include CAFOs. These are for-profit businesses that are allowed an unfair advantage with this law. For things such as utilities, we have laws that cover the state for the public good. This law grants an unfair advantage in promoting large-scale, industrialized operations for the profit of less than two percent of the livestock industry. We need to be supporting agriculture that is of a scale the land can support. We are letting family farmers suffer economically while supporting CAFOs.
To read more specifics on the issues surrounding the upcoming Livestock Siting Law rules review, visit www.crawfordstewardshipproject.org.