State Blocks Northern Wisconsin County Regulation on Animal Feedlot Pollution

As an anecdotal aside, Wisconsin has notoriously had higher standards when it comes to care and quality of animal byproducts – in particular when it comes to dairy farming. Wisconsin has been fairly resistant to the animal feedlot / massive factory farming movement and has done so by controlling things like antibiotic use, square footage available per animal, etc.  That’s why this news from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is especially shocking.

Pursuant to a statute allowing local Wisconsin governments to create water quality standards and regulations that are more strict than existing state law, Bayfield County passed a one year moratorium in February 2015 on large scale, factory farms to block an Iowa based company from creating a 24,000-26,000 head hog farm (a controlled animal feeding operation, or “CAFO”).  At the expiration of the moratorium, Bayfield County then passed two ordinances in February 2016 that gave the County massive oversight of farm operations and water pollution.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources blocked these ordinances, essentially siting that they were not tailored enough to the actual water pollution problems in the watersheds of the County.

Advertisements

Oklahoma Governor Vetoes Feral Swine Act

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin vetoed SB1142 ((final version link)), the Feral Swine Control Act, on May 20, 2016.  The proposed bill allows the hunting of all wild hogs without a hunting license. Additionally, the following, often regulated or prohibited activities, would also be allowed when for hunting wild hogs, also without a hunting license: use of ATVs or other land vehicles to pursue or follow ferile swin; use a vehicle mounted spotlight; and use night-vision equipment or thermal-imaging technology.

Feral swine are deemed invasive species by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS for a more manageable name) and “cause cause damage to agricultural crops and livestock and threaten native wildlife and habitats” with its income impact estimate alone at $2 billion. SB1142 seeks protect Oklahoma’s agribusiness and natural lands.

Source: AmericanHunger.org

Opponents of the bill note that it would make it exponentially easier for poachers and exponentially harder for game wardens to effectively do their jobs in keeping the wildlife ecosystem in Oklahoma in balance and preventing illegal poaching. License free hunting on public land also creates a public safety issue. Moreover, there is nothing to show that hog hunting actually reduces the feral swing population and USDA research shows that controlled hog trapping, done by game management specialists, is the most effective population control system (source).

Personal opinion: this all really highlights the tedious balance of wildlife population control.

Brochure reading material from USDA APHIS on feral swine in the US

Enlist GMO Crop Rollout Still Faces Hurdles

The USDA approved Enlist September 17, 2014.  Dow AgroScience’s new genetically-modified corn and soybean crop is resistant to the Enlist pesticide that kills all other weeds and growth in fields.  The president of Dow AgroSciences, Tim Hassinger, claims that Enlist will boost productivity for “safe and affordable food supply.”  According to Hassinger, Dow Agrobusiness has “used the latest science and technology to address problem weeds. Enlist will be a very effective solution and we’re pleased to have this technology one step closer to the farmgate.”

However, some hurdles still exist post-approval.  The founder of Center for Food Safety, Andrew Kimbrell, already plans to litigate in hopes of delaying the crops as they did with GMO sugar beets, canola, and alfalfa.

China has also begun to reject shipments of US corn based on concerns for GMO products and its lack of approval in China.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement can be found here.

Reuters

Forbes 

AgWeb

Legislation Roundup – Alaska

What sort of agricultural laws is your state considering to pass?  Legislation Roundup highlights the laws that each state’s legislative branch is considering in session.  Never forget the importance of public political participation.  If you live in any of these states and support or oppose any state legislation, never hesitate to contact your assembly(wo)man/representative/senator and voice your opinion!  We pay their salaries in taxes.

  • HB215 – Would require all genetically engineered food products to have a label indicating it was “produced with genetic engineering” or “partially produced with genetic engineering.” Unpackaged food, such as produce, would have to have a label visible on the shelf or bin they are being sold in. This bill would bar any product from being labelled as “natural,” “naturally grown,” or “all natural” if it contains or was processed with genetically engineered food products.
  • HB224 – Prohibits the application of any neonicotinoid pesticide to any seed, foliage, or granular form to soil unless it is applied entirely within a greenhouse.
  • HB249 – Would prohibit the use of genetically engineered seeds and plants for agricultural product production.
  • HB248 – Establishes May 15 as ‘Think Local Day’ to raise awareness of use of local businesses, food, and products.

Legislation Roundup – Alabama

What sort of agricultural laws is your state considering to pass?  Legislation Roundup highlights the laws that each state’s legislative branch is considering in session.  Never forget the importance of public political participation.  If you live in any of these states and support or oppose any state legislation, never hesitate to contact your assembly(wo)man/representative/senator and voice your opinion!  We pay their salaries in taxes.

Alabama

  • HB98 – Would change the state insect to queen honey bee.
  • SB362 – Creates the Alabama Poultry Revolving Loan Fund; would allocate state bonds to finance farms that want to transition from using propane-fueled heating sources to using wood-fueled heating sources.
  • SB335 – Will require that all catfish and catfish products be labeled if they were imported from any country other than the US.  The labels must clearly indicate country of origin.  Restaurants will also have to list country of origin for imported catfish on their menus.
  • SB69 – Exempts retail sales of agriculture machinery from state taxes but not local sales tax.
  • HB5 – Repeals Section 3-1-20 of Alabama’s criminal code.  Currently, it is illegal to sell or buy domestic animals/fowl [livestock] between sunset and sunrise.  HB5 would repeal that law and make it legal.