Dairy Business Association is hard at work advocating for Wisconsin’s dairy farms, large and small, to keep the state’s dairy community strong. We monitor economic, regulatory and legislative developments that affect our farmers. DBA provides an important voice for our dairy community at all levels of government, particularly at the state Capitol in Madison. We work with lawmakers and policymakers to advance science-based and practical, common-sense regulation and laws to support Wisconsin’s dairy farms and their significant economic impact.
Impact of regulations on dairy farms
Many of the same politicians who bemoan the consistent decline in the number of dairy farms have no problem with imposing new regulations that will only hasten the decline. These regulations touch farms of all sizes. Complying with ever-changing permit and other requirements imposed by all levels of government can be confusing and expensive for dairy farmers. DBA works to provide permitting processes, environmental reviews and compliance standards that are clearer and more predictable for our farmers. Where possible, farmers need to have the flexibility to adapt and expand as their business needs dictate. Our team helps ensure local ordinances and state regulations are scientifically sound and take current technology and practicality into account.
Well-maintained infrastructure is crucial to keeping Wisconsin’s dairy community strong. Dairy farmers depend on town, county and state roadways to ship their milk to their processor and for the processor to get the dairy product out on grocers’ shelves. Farmers are also dependent on these roadways to transport their equipment that is essential to plant, grow and harvest the crops used to feed their animals. Our rural roadways are deteriorating with time and cannot handle modern farm equipment’s size. These roadways often either need significant maintenance or to be totally replaced. Wisconsin needs a sound and sustainable way to pay for future road projects, and our transportation priorities must always include rural roads.
Dairy farmers, like other Wisconsinites, value clean and safe ground and surface water. We rely on a quality supply of groundwater for our farms and our families. We appreciate our streams, rivers and lakes for their beauty, economic importance and recreational opportunities. Our team helps farmers provide their input on policies that affects their farms. DBA also promotes how modern farming practices and technology have evolved and will continue to evolve to address water quality concerns. DBA continuously monitors potential state and federal regulations meant to address water quality. We will work to ensure any new rules are manageable, practical and will actually be effective. We know farmers are willing to do their part to address real concerns, but they cannot shoulder the entire effort alone.
Wisconsin’s abundant supply of groundwater is one our state’s selling points for farms or other businesses. Even though dairy farms are relatively modest users of groundwater, it is still important to us. DBA supports regulations and laws that allow farmers access to adequate groundwater resources to maintain their existing dairy farm investments and also facilitate growth and investment in Wisconsin’s dairy community. Our team has been at the forefront of this issue, working with policymakers to advance favorable groundwater policy through Wisconsin’s high-capacity well laws. We know groundwater is a shared resource, but properly managed there is more than enough for agricultural and other uses.
Dairy farmers continually struggle to find and retain good employees. Cows need to be milked every day of the year, often two or three times a day, on top of all the other farm work that must be done. DBA is doing what it can on the state level to provide a favorable environment for hardworking dairy farm employees, regardless of their immigration status. We also partner with organizations working on the federal level to give farmers the assurance that a consistent workforce will be available to keep their operations in business for years to come. We talk with policymakers about the status and makeup of our current workforce and our future workforce needs, so practical and workable solutions can be reached.
Wisconsinites deserve an abundant, nutritious and safe supply of dairy products. Modern dairy farming and processing allows our farmers to ensure their products’ safety from farm to table. Customers need and will continue to depend on our dairy community’s farming and processing techniques to give them a safe and reliable milk supply to fulfil their family’s nutritional needs. DBA opposes the sale of raw milk because of the significant health risks associated with it. The dairy community cannot afford being associated with the illnesses that can be caused by drinking unpasteurized milk. It will hurt all us, not just the lone farmer that sold it.