The Wisconsin Towns Association is asking the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to improve its livestock siting facilities policies it had established four years ago.
“It is particularly important for DATCP to review the standards and procedures established under ATCP 51 because the initial rules were groundbreaking in many areas of the law and it is time to revisit those rules for fair enforcement,” said WTA Executive Director Richard Stadelman.
These rules define pollution controls for managing livestock regarding roaming distance near water, odor and nutrient management, waste storage facilities, and run-off management and procedures.
All of the above depends to some degree upon the water absorption capacities of the various soil types throughout the State.
Where near surface bedrock is present, there is not enough soil to filter contaminated water before trickling to underground water tables that feed lakes and potable wells. Clay soils lead to stormwater run-off issues as pollutants can be transported to nearby lakes and streams. The sandy soils in central Wisconsin absorb water quickly and often exacerbate water access issues for livestock during dry spells. Another distinctive soil type is made up of crumbling limestone and gypsum known as "Karst" that create disruptive drainage issues in western Wisconsin with formations of sink holes and caves.
The unique soil qualities affect how fertilizers are used, farm animals are watered, shorelands are protected from livestock and other agricultural practices, the dispersement of farm waste for odor control, and high capacity well usage.
Stadelman urges in a March 10, 2010 letter to DATCP that they ought to revisit the standards set by ATCP 51 as it was created four years ago to ensure that nutrient management and odor control are adequate.
"This was exploratory legislation back then. New information and practices have emerged that should be looked at by a panel of experts to assure the public that their health and safety are being protected, and that the standards balance the economic viability of farm operations while protecting natural resources and other community interests," said Stadelman.