The Peninsula Pride Farms organization issued a statement Wednesday in support of the manure management rules passed by the state Natural Resources Board last night and now under review by the state Legislature.
But the group expressed concern for small farmers whose livelihood it says could be threatened by the standards, an amendment to administrative rule NR 151 that restricts manure spreading in areas of shallow soil over Silurian dolomite, which describes much of Door and Kewaunee counties.
“As a group, we work to help farms of all sizes improve by considering individual circumstances and challenges,” said the statement, which was released after the organization’s annual meeting. “We urge regulators and lawmakers to do the same regarding the smallest farms as the rule changes move forward.”
The statement urges “careful consideration and a focus on innovation” to keep those small farms over shallow soil going.
The full statement:
Peninsula Pride Farms feels strongly that we can have clean, safe water and a thriving agricultural community together on the Door-Kewaunee Peninsula.
On our mission of environmental stewardship, we focus on fostering conservation-minded farming practices that make sense for individual farmers and make a difference in protecting water quality for the community.
We work to stay ahead of regulations by going above and beyond through voluntary efforts to identify practical, science-based solutions to water quality challenges and determine how best to implement them.
While developing policy is not our purpose, Peninsula Pride Farms supports the state Department of Natural Resources’ proposed manure management rules for the designated sensitive area that includes farms in our group.
Many of the standards align with voluntary recommendations made by a state workgroup in which Peninsula Pride representatives participated. We have accepted our role and responsibility in protecting and improving water quality, and recognize that scientific research shows the need for additional attention to the issue.
We do remain concerned, however, about parts of the rules that could put certain farms out of business due to restrictions on spreading of manure on the shallowest of soils.
As a group, we work to help farms of all sizes improve by considering individual circumstances and challenges. We urge regulators and lawmakers to do the same regarding the smallest farms as the rule changes move forward. Careful consideration and a focus on innovation are necessary to keep these businesses and legacies alive and our dairy community strong.
As Peninsula Pride Farms further ramps up its third year of programming, including prestigious inclusion in a new NRCS Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farms Network and UW Discovery Farms research, we are encouraged by the progress and yet realize we have more work to do. Helping farms establish a path for continuous improvement is a long-term commitment, one we eagerly make.
ABOUT PENINSULA PRIDE FARMS
Peninsula Pride Farms was established in March 2016 as a nonprofit organization. The goal of its dairy and crop farmers and corporate members is to leverage the ingenuity of the agricultural community, university research and scientists to protect ground and surface water in Kewaunee and southern Door counties in Wisconsin through innovative conservation practices and technology. For more information, visit peninsulapridefarms.org