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The Dairy Business Association’s John Holevoet recently stated that the DBA won’t apologize for pushing pro-dairy policies and lobbying Gov. Scott Walker’s office to move regulatory authority of industrial size farms from the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.

This is no surprise as the DBA has not supported other efforts to protect our water. While serving on a committee to rewrite rules for manure spreading in vulnerable areas, such as Door and Kewaunee counties, the DBA was unwilling to acknowledge that the science showed a minimum of 3 feet of soil over bedrock for manure spreading was needed to protect the groundwater.

Again, no surprise that the DBA provided the governor detailed plans and talking points to move CAFO authority away from the DNR, the agency charged with protecting our water resources, to an agency who has a role in promoting farming. And, these documents came the day before Walker announced plans of this shift.

I agree that the DBA need not apologize for their efforts to promote industrial-size farms. That’s their business.

It is Walker who should apologize for so willing opening his door to the DBA, which represents a small number of producers and ignores the 5.9 million Wisconsin citizens depending on safe drinking water, including the 20,000 citizens of Kewaunee County facing a clean water crisis. Rather than take away CAFO regulation from the DNR, the governor should propose legislation to better protect our most valuable resource: water.

Dean Hoegger

Sturgeon Bay, WI

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