The state ag department is considering changes to how the state regulates large scale livestock farms.
The rule is designed to provide uniform local regulation of livestock facilities with 500 or more animal units.
Kara O’Connor with Farmers Union is glad the board approved the draft rule for public hearings.
“They made clear that they weren’t endorsing every line and sentence of the rules, what they voted for is getting the public’s input, and I think that’s absolutely the right decision.”
She says it’s worth it to take another look. “There are technologies on the market for livestock operations that simply didn’t exist in 2016 when these rules were first promulgated, and operations that want to use those new technologies don’t have that option.”
John Holevoet with the Dairy Business Association opposed the changes. “The question is, really, is this keeping what was originally envisioned by those who created livestock siting?”
He says there is no reason to send this proposal to public hearing.
“The intent of the legislature when they were talking about this four year review was really to look back to see if there were new technological advances, things that change in the industry substantially from a technology perspective that required updating. It wasn’t to necessarily do a wholesale revision of the rule.”
The board voted to advance the proposed rule to public hearing to gather public input, but several members made it clear they don’t endorse everything in the draft.