Putting the people above the politics | WisCommunity

Putting the people above the politics

November 4, 2019 - 10:21pm
Darin Van Ruden

#222222;">Recent developments in Madison have threatened livestock siting rule changes, leaving our water and rural communities at risk.

Last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald threatened that legislators would deny the appointment of Brad Pfaff, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Fitzgerald asked Gov. Evers to withdraw his nomination of Pfaff, who, like many cabinet members, has been awaiting Senate confirmation for nearly a year.

Hours later, Sec. Pfaff announced the DATCP board would not move forward with a Nov. 7th vote on updates to the state’s Livestock Siting Rules, aka ATCP 51. This decision comes after citizens turned out across the state for hearings and proposed revisions to the rules, which safeguard Wisconsin’s land, water and communities.

#1d2129;">As Midwest Environmental Advocates noted in a recent post on social media, “The real losers in this political power struggle are the thousands and thousands of families whose quality of life steadily erodes as the industrial farming model tightens its grip on rural Wisconsin. Who is looking out for them?”

Among those being hurt by this industrial agriculture model are the hundreds of family farms we’ve lost each year, including 691 dairy herds in 2018 and 634 so far in 2019 (as of Oct 1).

The Senate is scheduled to vote on Pfaff’s appointment tomorrow, Nov. 5th. It remains unclear whether ATCP 51, the Livestock Siting revisions, will move forward for a vote.

#222222;">Wisconsin Farmers Union encourages those displeased with this gridlock to contact Governor Tony Evers' office (608-266-1212) DATCP (608-224-5012) and your State Senator's office (find contact info at http://maps.legis.wisconsin.gov/). Urge them to tell Secretary-Designee Pfaff to put the vote on ATCP 51 back on this Thursday's DATCP Board agenda. If the DATCP board does not vote the rules forward on Thursday, all of the positive progress that we have made on these rules will be lost.

Von Ruden is a Westby dairy farmer and president of Wisconsin Farmers Union, a grassroots organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for farmers, rural communities, and all people.

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