New Livestock Siting Rules and DATCP head dead in water | Wis.Community

New Livestock Siting Rules and DATCP head dead in water

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Madison, WI
Published
November 2, 2019
Brad Pfaff

There was some hope that when Governor Evers took office there would be progress on some of the state-wide issues that have been sitting moribund in the legislature. At least on the agricultural front, it appears that the GOP is ensuring little progress. 

State-wide hearings were held on the new livestock siting rules, which are intended primarily to reign in the growing CAFO facilities around the state. Feedback from most of those present was in favor of passing the new rules, while some of the larger, more traditional farm groups were not in favor, saying that the current rules are already an intolerable burden on farmers and that tightening that control would only make matters worse.

Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden reacted by saying

Wisconsin Farmers Union urges DATCP and Secretary-Designee Pfaff to reverse course immediately and bring the ATCP 51 rule revisions to a vote before the DATCP board next Thursday. To scrap the rules now is to ignore the input of hundreds of citizens who participated in the public comment process, not to mention the hundreds of hours invested by technical review committee members in 2010, 2014, and again in 2018 to make science-based recommendations for improving the rules. To abandon the revisions now at the 11th hour is a colossal waste of government resources. It's time for these rules to go forward.. 

Yesterday DATCP-secretary-designee Brad Pfaff announced that the new rules would not be brought forward to the DATCP board for a final vote. This is yet another example of the disappearing rule - rules and laws that disappear before anyone has a chance to vote on them. This has become the normal mode of operation in the state. 

Also yesterday Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced that there will not be enough votes in the Senate to confirm Brad Pfaff as head of DATCP. This is apparently over a squabble over Pfaff demanding the release of funds for mental health and suicide prevention programs for farmers. Fitzgerald and spokesperson Alec Zimmerman four days before the scheduled vote on Pfaff's nomination, stating that there were not sufficient votes and that Fitzgerald had asked Evers to remove Pfaff's name from consideration.

Evers responded by stating

It is astonishing that, in the middle of a dairy crisis and trade war, Republicans want to create even more uncertainty and instability by firing the leader of the agency charged with fighting for Wisconsin's farmers and rural communities,It is astonishing that, in the middle of a dairy crisis and trade war, Republicans want to create even more uncertainty and instability by firing the leader of the agency charged with fighting for Wisconsin's farmers and rural communities,

In the end the state seems to be ending up with no new livestock siting rules, and no DATCP secretary., all at a time when the farming industry in the state is in crisis. This is good for nobody.

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