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Hi Cap Wells: Support for SB 76 and AB 105

Cooperative Network strongly supports proposed legislation

Published on March 17th, 2017

- See more at: https://www.morningagclips.com/support-for-sb-76-and-ab-105/?utm_content=articles&utm_campaign=NLCampaign&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=newsletteredition&utm_medium=email#sthash.30EyXTPu.dpuf

 

MADISON —  Cooperative Network strongly supports proposed legislation (SB 76 and AB 105) related to the replacement, reconstruction and transfer of approved high capacity wells, recommendation of special groundwater measures by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and metering requirements and grants for certain high capacity wells.

“At the end of the day, producers with high capacity well permits are careful and conscientious caretakers of our water resources,” says Tom Liebe, Cooperative Network President and CEO. “Their livelihood depends on it and these bills recognize that fact.”

The regulatory certainty aspect of these bills is critically important to producers and agricultural and finance cooperatives. Cooperative Network members approved language at their Annual General Meeting for a resolution on groundwater that advocates for permitting certainty for high capacity wells. We appreciate the leadership of Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Representative Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel). Cooperative Network believes that these bills will both help sustain a vital part of Wisconsin’s 88 billion dollar agriculture industry while also providing a mechanism to conduct important research in Central Wisconsin.

“Completely depleting water resources would effectively put these producers out of business,” Liebe says. “That is a powerful and practical incentive to be mindful about water use. In addition, their stewardship ethic is plain to see given that producers in this country are responsible for a massive but largely unknown productivity increase.

“Our producers generate two and a half times more products today while only using the same amount of inputs as they did in the 1930s. That’s not just a productivity story; it’s a remarkable conservation and sustainability story. Producers are in it for the long-haul and can be trusted to continue their safe and sound conservation practices.”

Cooperative Network serves approximately 400 Wisconsin and Minnesota member-cooperatives by providing advocacy, education, public awareness, and development services to a wide variety of cooperatives including agricultural marketing and processing, credit unions, dairy, electric, Farm Credit, farm supply, health care, mutual insurance, housing, service, telecommunications, worker-owned cooperatives, and more. For more information about Cooperative Network, visit www.cooperativenetwork.coop.

— Cooperative Network

 

http://www.fabulousfarmbabe.net/2017/03/16/wisconsin-capitol-hearing-on-high-capacity-wells/  March 16, 2017

Wisconsin Capitol Hearing on High Capacity Wells

It was filled wall to wall in the room at the Wisconsin State Capitol where a public hearing was held for bills concerning high capacity wells. Opposition to high capacity wells is rooted in the fear that the lowering lake levels in Wisconsin are due to the deep drilling farmers need to water their crops. Farmers, however, were airing their grievances about the time it takes to go through the application process constantly to get that water. Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director of Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association described farmers to Bobbi Jo as the original environmentalists. If farmers drain the aquifer, they’re out of business, so they are trying to find a balance.
The movement of crops and study of high capacity wells on ground water supply are a couple measures Houlihan suggested in place of removing high capacity wells altogether. Balance was his main objective. The bill, authored in part by State Representative Gary Tauchen, deals only with currently existing wells. Some misunderstanding in the room was that it pertained to future wells as well.
he bill aims to save farmers the time and consequentially cost of going through the review process by the DNR for their high capacity wells. The DNR still would have the right to review if there was an environmental problem, but it would offer predictability and protection to farmers. Tauchen agreed that the bill is not comprehensive, and revisions could still be in store, but the discussion right now is needed to clear any misunderstandings about what the bill says and why farmers are supporting it.

 

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