• WisBusiness

Monday, December 21, 2009

Modern farms protect natural resources and our economic future


By Laurie Fischer
It's becoming increasingly popular to reminisce about simpler times and how good things used to be. Today's dairy farmers, like their agricultural forefathers, share a commitment to produce safe, nutritious and affordable food products. But agriculture is very different now.

Remember the '57 Chevy? That wonderful body style made it a classic. But have you driven one lately? No power steering, no air conditioning, no seat belts, no air bags, no computers to manage performance, horrible gas mileage and no emissions controls.

Comparing modern farming with the old days is like comparing the '57 Chevy with a 2010 model. Today's dairy farmers use technology never dreamt of by our parents or grandparents. Can you think of any business in the United States that hasn't changed significantly in the last 50 years? Dairy farmers have changed in order to remain competitive with other states and other countries. And they have done so responsibly.

The rural beauty of Wisconsin is close to the hearts of dairy farmers. Environmental protection and the adoption of new farming practices are not mutually exclusive. In fact, research conducted at the University of Minnesota and published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers indicates that larger farms do a better job protecting the environment because they have the resources to have specialists dedicated to managing environmental issues.

Wisconsin has strong laws that hold permitted dairies to a "zero discharge" standard. These laws are more stringent than those governing municipal treatment plants. Dairy farmers support these laws because they are concerned about protecting our land, air, and water.

The milk and cheese produced in our state are important economic pillars. The Dairy Business Association feels it is important that we grow and sustain an industry that is critical to Wisconsin's future. You can rely on our dairy farmers to protect and maintain a quality rural way of life and to take their environmental responsibility seriously.

-- Fischer is executive director of the Dairy Business Association.

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Comments: 9

At December 22, 2009 at 11:40 AM, Blogger Denny said...

I had to park my '57 Chevy on the side of the road to make sure I read accurately Laurie Fischer's assertion that somehow big dairy farms are held to laws "more stringent than those governing municipal treatment plants." Wow -- I thought it was Christmas, not April Fool's!

That "zero discharge" referred to here applies ONLY TO THE FARMSTEAD. But the farmstead itself is rarely the problem. Dairy farms are pretty much free to "discharge" hundreds of millions of gallons of manure per year, untreated, on cropland. There is minimal regulation of that practice. If the Dairy Business Association "take(s) its environmental responsibility seriously," they would act like it and be serious about the environmental consequences of proposed mega-dairies in Fond du Lac and Taylor counties, and in all karst areas in the state are vulnerable to drinking water contamination from land-spread wastes.

Denny Caneff
River Alliance of Wisconsin

 
At March 4, 2015 at 11:38 PM, Blogger Helen Jose said...

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At April 27, 2015 at 2:16 AM, Blogger Willie Kaminski said...

You are absolutely right. Agriculture has changed dramatically, especially since the end of World War II. Food and fiber productivity soared due to new technologies, mechanization, increased chemical use, specialization and government policies that favored maximizing production. These changes allowed fewer farmers with reduced labor demands to produce the majority of the food and fiber in the U.S. A best thesis writing service helped me to complete my research paper on this area and it was an awesome experience for me.

 
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At August 10, 2018 at 6:48 AM, Blogger Regina Brand said...

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