Your farm, family, and future will be affected by this CAFO permit. It is very important to understand the impact and make comments. When doing so, speak about what you know best — your life, family, farm, and livelihood. Let public officials know what it is like to care for the environment every day.
The following are examples of things you may want to talk about during the hearing:
- The history of your farm
- Examples of the conservation work you have done on your farm — nutrient management, wildlife habitat, water quality protection, etc.
- Investments you have made in conservation and environmental protection — equipment, systems, nutrient management, monitoring, buffers, wetlands, conservation tillage, etc.
- Awards about, recognition of, and pride in your stewardship — clean water, productive cows, healthy crops, jobs, etc.
- Community service in the environment — service on conservation district boards, watershed improvement districts, irrigation districts, groundwater management boards, etc.
- Innovative projects — digesters to produce power and recycle nutrients; energy efficiency projects such as fans, lighting, variable frequency pumps, etc.
- Your past and ongoing compliance with existing rules and guidance from WSDA, NRCS, CD, and private consultants; your updates to farm plans, the time and expense of consultants, work with technical experts at CDs and NRCS.
- Your ongoing education in stewardship and nutrient management.
Ask “Why more regulations?” The report from WSDA shows that dairy producers are doing the work that is resulting in high levels of compliance and protection for surface and groundwater. Data across the state shows that diary is already doing its part. While more can always be done, this extra permit is unnecessary, and increased and unnecessary costs mean less money to invest in other places.
The nutrient management system is working. The data confirms that dairy producers and work with CDs, NRCS, WSU, etc., is working to protect the environment.
Where is the problem that demands such a burdensome, additional layer of regulations? Why regulate us more?
Here is a video developed by Whatcom Family Farmers about the CAFO permit that may be helpful when you prepare testimony.
And here are several videos about environmental efforts by dairy producers: