A few minutes ago, Gov. Tony Evers announced that his administration will pursue regulatory changes that could affect many of our farmer members.
The changes call for creating targeted performance standards to address high nitrate levels in groundwater and surface water in certain areas of the state. The governor’s plan focuses on areas with the “most susceptible” soils, but exact areas were not named and have not yet been determined. Both the Central Sands region and areas with karst soils will likely be considered.
The governor has directed Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole to pursue rulemaking to modify NR 151 to include these new performance standards. Changes like these cannot be made overnight. The state must follow a formal rulemaking process that can stretch over a number of years. This means there will be ample opportunity for input from the agricultural community.
DBA will be deeply involved in this process from the outset. I want to assure you that our team will be heavily involved to guard against regulatory overreach. Any new rules must be sensible and workable for our farmers. They must also apply to all of agriculture regardless of the size or type of farm. It is also important to note that any proposed new standards will be subject to review and potential rejection by members of our state Legislature.
The dairy community is committed to finding pragmatic solutions to address water quality challenges. Regulations should provide for lasting environmental protection and be practical for farmers to implement. This is the only path forward.
We will make sure you have the latest information throughout this process.