Livestock Siting bill moves forward

I have been slowly watching the deterioration of cities over the past few years as people continue to move into the suburbs. In the process, valuable farmland has been eaten up. As you can probably tell, I’m opposed to urban sprawl. That is the primary reason why I support the livestock siting initiative. The bill, if enacted, would provide permits to livestock farmers to expand their operations.

For years, Wisconsin’s agricultural community has declined because of the barriers to expansion. Thus, the state’s dairy industry has suffered while other states, especially California, have moved in to produce more milk and cheese. Although other factors play a role (such as the federal government’s milk price fixing), local rules have held dairy farmers at bay from helping the state’s agricultural economy grow. As a result, destructive development has turned once prime agricultural land into concrete islands.

I applaud the work of those that made this legislation possible, and I am glad to hear that all sides could finally come to a consensus. Working for the agency, I realize that it took a large amount of time, effort, and resources to get this bill to this point. I hope that it can now swiftly move through the Legislature and to the Governor’s desk for signing.

DATCP press release: State Ag Board Unanimously Approves Livestock Siting Rule

Brownfield article: Wisconsin Livestock Facilities Siting Rule one step closer

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Bush 2007 budget hurts dairy farmers and other domestic programs

President Bush’s 2007 Federal Budget Proposal includes two new proposals that will hurt dairy farmers in Wisconsin. The first is a reduction in the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program. The proposal is to cut five percent of the current grant payments to qualifying farmers. The second is a three-cent tax per hundred-weight of milk that farmers would have to pay (estimated at about $720 annually per producer).

But this is only one small area that the budget will hurt Americans. While Bush proposes increases in homeland security and war spending, he recommends diverting funds from programs that affect Americans left and right. In addition to burdens to dairy farmers, he recommends cutting spending on health care, education, and biomedical studies (see NPR article link below).

On the other hand, spending will increase in energy (this could include bio-based sources), conservation, crop insurance, and food safety. But if you look at what’s involved, you realize that these seem to fit into the events of the past year (Katrina, increased fuel prices). NPR states that the budget would affect the environment. But increases would actually occur in environmental programs that were passed in the 2002 Farm Bill. But I’m not suggesting that other environmental areas are not at risk.

This is only the first step in the budget process. In this day and age of big corporations squeezing out the family farm, it seems that Bush is paying nothing more than lip service to the working family.

Wisconsin AgConnection article: Bush proposes cutting some dairy programs

National Public Radio article: An Inside Look: President Bush’s 2007 Budget

Statement of Governor Doyle on Federal Cuts to Dairy Programs

Super Bowl XL: Congratulations Pittsburgh Steelers

Although I’m a Green Bay Packers fan, I want to extend a special congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL (40) tonight. I am especially happy for the Steelers because I have seen Head Coach Bill Cowher and Running Back Jerome Bettis struggle over the past few years, and the Steelers were all but written off during the middle of the season. Also, like my native Milwaukee, Pittsburgh is a working town, built upon a strong work ethic and a deep-rooted dedication to its home team. So tonight, I dedicate this blog to the Pittsburgh Steelers and all the people that support the team.

Of course, now I can return to hoping that the Green Bay Packers win next year.

SuperBowl.com article: Steelers capture Super Bowl XL title, 21-10