Siting Success Two years in, Wisconsin law proves workable

September 19, 2008 07:00 PM

The Wisconsin dairy industry is pleased with how its livestock siting legislation is performing.

The law prohibits local governments from enacting zoning and permitting requirements more stringent than the state's unless there is a science-based reason for doing so.

Since the law took effect in 2006, 17 permits (14 dairy, two hog and one poultry) have been granted and none denied. Three cases have gone before a review board: one was decided in favor of a hog producer; one involving a heifer facility is currently in court; and in the third case the board found it did not have jurisdiction.

"The law is working extremely well,” says Laurie Fischer, executive director of the state's Dairy Business Association (DBA). "It offers the opportunity for local units to standardize regulations. Producers now know what they have to do to obtain a permit.”

Forty DBA members surveyed said they will invest $120 million by the end of 2008 in upgrades and expansion, she says. The holdup now is not siting and permitting, but simply completing engineering reviews.

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