Ag groups praise farmers on clean water initiative

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin's public drinking water systems continued to provide safe and affordable drinking water in 2015 with more than 96 percent of the systems meeting all health-based standards.

Farm organizations across Wisconsin today applauded the efforts of a farmer-led conservation group to provide clean drinking water for Kewaunee County homeowners who have E. coli in their private wells.

Peninsula Pride Farms announced that it has developed a program, called Water Well, to help ensure that rural residents at risk of getting sick from E.coli, no matter the source, get clean water now and have a means for longer-term protection. Among key aspects of the program, the group will pay for bottled water and a well inspection for homeowners, help cover the costs for a water treatment system if it’s necessary, and pay for servicing the system.

The organizations that praised the program represent a broad spectrum of agriculture: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Pork Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Soybean Program, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Dairy Business Association and Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative.

The Farm Bureau commended “the families that make up Peninsula Pride Farms for helping their neighbors,” said Paul Zimmerman, executive director of governmental relations for the state’s largest general farm organization, with more than 45,000 members and 61 county bureaus.

“By stepping forward to correct this unfortunate situation, Peninsula Pride Farms has ensured safe drinking water for fellow Kewaunee County residents,” Zimmerman said. “Wisconsin’s farm community must continue to work together to find solutions to prevent well contamination.”

Peninsula Pride Farms' announcement is an excellent example of how local, farmer-led initiatives are a key component to successful, local problem-solving, said dairy farmer Mitch Breunig, president of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin's farm community is committed to developing community solutions with local leaders, citizens and neighbors,” Breunig said.

Gordon Speirs, a dairy farmer and president of the Dairy Business Association, said farmers understand their role in protecting and preserving natural resources, and helping to ensure that their communities have clean water.

Speirs’ organization includes farms of all sizes as well as various other agricultural-related businesses in Wisconsin.

“Peninsula Pride Farms’ initiative demonstrates the collective commitment of farmers to water quality, to their neighbors and to collaboration,” Speirs said. “We are impressed by the group’s leadership on this important community issue.”