Jan. 18, 2018
Contact: Jamie Mara, director of public relations
Dairy Business Association
(920) 209-3990 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Schimel: Regulatory certainty key for ag, other businesses
MADISON, Wis. — Since becoming Wisconsin’s attorney general in 2015, Brad Schimel has focused on bringing predictability and stability to the state’s regulatory environment.
Schimel, who spoke to dairy farmers and related agricultural professionals during the Dairy Strong conference Thursday at Monona Terrace, said that when businesses do not know what to expect regarding regulations they become hesitant to add employees or expand operations.
When Schimel issued a legal opinion in 2016 keeping in check the power of the state Department of Natural Resources to regulate high-capacity wells, he was looking to create certainty for state farmers who had been left in limbo.
“I wanted to clarify the law so the DNR could get moving on approving well permits so you can continue your work of feeding the world,” Schimel told conference attendees.
As the state’s top prosecutor, Schimel said it’s his job to defend state laws and prevent overreach by state and federal agencies. Under Schimel, Wisconsin joined lawsuits filed by other states against California and Massachusetts over their strict rules regarding egg sales.
“Those two states should not be telling the rest of the nation how to raise their chickens,” he said. “In this case, it involved eggs, but who knows where it could lead? It’s a case that should worry all ag producers.”
In protecting businesses from regulatory overreach, Schimel pointed to the Wysocki Family of Companies’ plan to build a 3,500-cow dairy in Saratoga in central Wisconsin. The local town board granted the farm’s building permits for the project, but then changed the zoning rules on the surrounding property saying the land could not be used for growing crops or manure spreading.
“That is not right – you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game,” Schimel said. “You basically said, ‘Here’s your permits for your dairy buildings, but you can’t use the land for ag purposes.’”
Schimel also joined the fight against changes proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency involving the designation of wetlands. While the EPA reversed its decision last summer, he said it was important to stop any additional federal overreach.
“The people of Wisconsin do not want Washington exerting more control. As attorney general, I want to assure that regulations are stable for our producers and businesses,” Schimel said.
There is one issue, however, where he said Washington needs to lead: immigration, an increasingly important issue for dairy farmers.
“We cannot have each state coming up with its own regulations about immigration. Immigration is a federal issue and should be decided by that level,” Schimel said.
Tweet now: Brad Schimel @WisDOJ says regulatory stability, predictability crucial to #ag community success. #DairyStrong18 http://bit.ly/2Du25QI
About Dairy Strong: Dairy Strong, in its fourth year, is a conference where all aspects of the dairy community come together to coalesce around a commitment to what’s important today and tomorrow. Farmers representing farms of all sizes and management philosophies are joined by any number of related businesses and partners to learn, engage and explore. For more information, go to dairystrong.org.