The Wisconsin Farm Bureau says it is imperative that farmers attend upcoming public hearings by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on proposed changes to the non-point source pollution regulations (officially known as NR-151).

“These proposed rules will have many significant consequences and ramifications to farms of every size, commodity and management style,” says Paul Zimmerman, executive director of public affairs for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. “Therefore it is very important that farmers attend to testify on how these proposals will work or will not work on actual Wisconsin farms.”

The proposed changes include:

  • Basing nutrient management plans on area water quality instead of crop needs.
  • Creation of new performance standards for total maximum daily loads.
  • New definitions for the phosphorus index, tillage set-backs and process wastewater.
  • A new tillage set-back performance standard would prohibit tillage and row cropping within 20 feet from bodies of water.  
  • The definition of a feedlot is added and includes barnyards, exercise areas and other outdoor areas where livestock are concentrated for feeding or other purposes where vegetative cover is not maintained.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau says is reviewing the extensive set of proposed modifications and is developing responses for farmers to communicate at the five public hearings scheduled around the state. The Farm Bureau will host pre-meetings from 10:30 a.m. to noon before each hearing to further explain the proposal.

All of the public hearings begin at 1 p.m.  The hearings are scheduled on:

  • Jan. 25 – Appleton, Wis.
  • Jan. 28 – Eau Claire, Wis.
  • Feb. 2 – Waukesha, Wis.
  • Feb. 10 – Madison, Wis.
  • Feb. 11 – Wausau, Wis.

Source: Wisconsin Farm Bureau