Wisconsin’s Governor Jim Doyle has signed a new modernization and siting bill that aims to balance the profitability of dairy and livestock operations in the state with environmental protection and community interests.

The legislation establishes science-based performance standards and a process for siting livestock operations in Wisconsin. Dairy and livestock operators will be able to use the standards to make decisions about expanding their businesses. The legislation also means townships and counties will make decisions based on consistent, science-based standards.

“Siting legislation provides a balance of interests: predictability for producers; respect for local decision-making; opportunity for review; and standards that protect our environment,” says Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection.

Proponents of the bill hope it will make Wisconsin a national leader in the balancing act between agricultural profitability and environmental protection, as well as sustain the state’s dairy industry.

“With this legislation, dairy producers in Wisconsin can grow their businesses and know what to expect from the process,” says Laurie Fischer, executive director of Wisconsin’s Dairy Business Association, an organization formed four years ago to promote the growth and success of all dairy operations in the state.

The legislation is the result of lengthy study and discussion among representatives from local and county governments, and agricultural and environmental groups. State Representative David Ward and State Sen. Dale Schultz co-authored the bill.

Dairy Business Association