Feast & Famine in the ag industry

Feast: Anti-agriculture activists — folks who love to tell other people how to live their lives — have a problem. Now the people who claim to be protecting the planet are beating up on people who claim to be protecting animals.
Go figure.
The so-called “Friends of the Earth” recently issued a report slamming the environmental benefits of meat substitutes and lab-grown animal products.

According to “Meating Place” magazine, the report claims plant-based or lab-grown products “are not yet proven to be safe or sustainable by regulators or third-party assessments. Rather, there are increasing concerns and questions that remain unanswered, and existing analyses show that these products may be problems masquerading as solutions.”
Since both sides of this debate are masters of junk science and known for stubbornness, we finally might get an answer to an age-old paradox: What happens when an unstoppable force runs into an immovable object?
Famine: The only thing that Wisconsin “environmentalists” may hold in lower regard than large farms is the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). For years, they’ve claimed the state agency is ineffective and inattentive.
“The public and agriculture hates them,” former DNR administrator Gordon Stevenson told the Wisconsin State Journal about the colleagues he made during his government tenure.
The Wisconsin Dairy Business Association (DBA) has essentially agreed with him and is suggesting CAFO oversight shift from the DNR to the better-equipped Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (DATCP).
Here’s how the DBA’s John Holevoet explained the proposal: “Nobody seems particularly happy with (the DNR’s) program. A legislative audit showed it was failing to meet internal and external benchmarks for getting things done. Farmers are tired of long delays for the approval of even basic changes on farms. Environmental activists are concerned that oversight is not what it should be.
“DATCP staff already have expertise in a lot of the areas that concern CAFO permitting. The agency also already administers a separate permitting program for larger farmers (about 350 cows or more). Yeah, I know, it sounds like a good fit. That’s because it is.”
However, the DBA’s proposal was met with contempt from the environmentalists who have savaged the DNR for years. Is anyone really surprised though? Why should groups like the lawyer-driven Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA) improve the regulatory system when they can continue profiting by filing nuisance lawsuits against farmers and others?
One final irony: Ex-DNR chief Stevenson now serves on the board of directors for the MEA. At least he has his eyes on the prize: Why seek solutions when there is more money to be made in complaining about the problems?

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