Dairy group & three environmental groups form water quality partnership
The Dairy Business Association has partnered with Clean Wisconsin, The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association to jointly work on water quality initiatives.
Dairy Business Association President Tom Crave says for too long, groups protecting water and supporting farmers have been competing interests. “Disagreements over policy among other groups and among state leaders often prevented real progress. It’s time for a change. We’re calling on state decision-makers to take bold action on water and farm-related policies, and just as importantly, we are committing ourselves to work together to find common ground.”
Mark Redsten with Clean Wisconsin says the challenges facing drinking water and the farming communities are serious and more cooperation is needed. “Of course, while we see drinking water problems in all parts of our state, we also see many people working to address them, and that includes many farmers and our colleagues here today, so we know that we all share a common interest.”
Scott Laeser from Clean Wisconsin says it will take a much bigger investment in clean drinking water to ensure people can trust the water coming from their tap. “We need to expand well testing and funding for well replacement and treatment. We also need more groundwater mapping to help us understand the sources of contamination, which include both agriculture and septic systems. This effort will require a significant financial investment.”
Crave says the groups began talking about a closer relationship nearly two years ago because their missions overlap and because we all need clean water. “Together, our organizations are proposing a set of policy principles to guide lawmakers and the administration in this effort.”
The four organizations will work closely with Wisconsin’s ag department and six farmer-led watershed groups as well as University of Wisconsin soil scientists and local conservation agencies.
Wisconsin Senator Robert Cowles of Green Bay commended the groups on their new partnership, saying, ““Whether it’s a farmer who understands and respects the soil and water on their plot, a citizen looking to help revitalize their local public lands, or a county conservationist looking to find resources to promote both agriculture and a healthy environment in their area, members of these organizations may have different backgrounds, but they have common interests.”