FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative concerned with Wisconsin DNR’s proposed manure rule changes

A farm organization says Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources underestimated how dairy farmers would be affected in their proposed manure management regulations.

Jeff Lyon with FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative says proposed changes to rule NR151 including a prohibition on spreading manure more than once on certain soil types after September 1st would have a huge economic and operational impact. “Part of that is you can put only 25% (of liquid manure) on, so what it would mean is that if you’re not going to add any manure storage, you know, you’re going to have to find different places to put the manure out because you’re not going to be able to put it on at the rates that you normally would.”

And, he says the need for more manure storage will affect farmers differently. “For some folks that already have it, it may not be as big a deal but they may have to add to it and others who don’t have it are going to have to make that investment.”

Lyon tells Brownfield the DNR underestimated the real costs of their NR151 rules to the dairy industry.  He says the rule changes would likely contribute to the exit of dairy farms because some will be financially unable or reluctant to take on the cost of additional manure storage.

Public comments on the economic impact of the DNR plan closed Saturday and Lyon says the public will get another chance to comment once the proposal goes to a public hearing before the Natural Resources Board sometime in the future.

Lyon says, “This isn’t just a dairy farmer thing.  The potato growers, the cranberry growers, soybean, corn growers, very interested in this as well so, you know, it’s going to be different factions of agriculture that are going to be weighing in on this.”

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