Wisconsin Dairy Alliance supports nutrient trading legislation

Wisconsin Dairy Alliance
Wisconsin Dairy Alliance

The newly launched Wisconsin Dairy Alliance (WDA) supports and applauds State Sen. Robert Cowles, Sen. Jerry Petrowski and Rep. Joel Kitchens for their tenacity in implementing nonpoint source pollution through a new, innovative approach that will achieve superior results improving the environment.

WDA believes strongly in water quality trading and other market-based programs to maximize pollutant-reduction efforts and improve water quality for all dischargers. The WDA believes in parity for all dischargers and wants a path to compliance for all dischargers in order to meet the same “zero-discharge” standard applied to modern regulated dairy operations.

“Wisconsin must pursue an all-encompassing approach to environmental management, including the impact from all sources, such as homeowners excessively applying nitrate-based lawn products; controlled release of millions of gallons of sewage in urban centers; noncompliant farms that discharge; and the epidemic of substandard septic systems and outdated wells not in line with today’s standards,” said Cindy Leitner, president of the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance.

(LRB-1244) has just been released and is currently being circulated for additional co-sponsors. This bill is a sustainable, nonpoint initiative and will provide environmental safeguards while allowing a market to form, which is an economically stable mechanism to implement water-quality improvements on all dairy farms.

Point sources of pollution, — including municipal wastewater treatment plants, manufacturers, food processors, cheesemakers, and others, — are facing additional phosphorus reductions to meet their permit requirements. This bill allows these point-sources to deploy and implement the removal of phosphorous from non-point sources like farms. The point source, in essence, will provide credits through a clearinghouse and offer monetary incentives by giving these credits to farmers who reduce their nutrient loads.

WDA is committed to improving the environmental sustainability of all dairy farms. “Anyone who takes the time to visit with farmers knows no two farms are the same,” said Leitner. “Farmers will be able to generate water-quality credits by implementing workable practices on land as well as advancing new, innovative manure-treatment technologies through the use of a clearinghouse. Credits can be verified and sold to the clearinghouse, which then transacts those credits back to industrial and municipal point sources. This new mechanism will allow farmers to generate an additional revenue stream improving water-quality practices.”

WDA encourages all dairy farmers to contact their State legislators and ask them to co-sponsor this very important bill.

WDA, a non-profit organization, represents modern regulated dairy farms in Wisconsin and works to preserve Wisconsin’s heritage as the Dairy State.