Challenges lie ahead but we're equipped to meet them
While rising market prices have given us hope for the coming year, we cannot lose sight of the challenges that still face us.
On the regulatory front, an ongoing creep of new rules and regulatory angles continue to not only threaten the growth of the Wisconsin dairy community, but also harm existing businesses. After having come through a year of tight margins, greater regulation without scientific support or economic consideration is the last thing that America's Dairyland can support.
The Dairy Business Association stands ready to attend to those very issues as the new Legislature comes into session this month. We have some unfinished business to resolve — particularly that of high-capacity wells. Great effort in the “off-season” has been made to build consensus among agricultural groups and to move forward with legislation that fits our growing industry and provides long-term predictability for that growth.
While this remains at the top of our list legislatively, other issues continue to creep into the conversation. This will remain a trend.
The simple fact is that our neighbors, customers and non-rural residents have for too long counted on information from sources that are less than factual. If we continue to rely solely on legislation as our means to address issues, we will be faced constantly with battles in Madison that stem from slanted or imperfect information. The DBA saw this as an issue several years ago and decided to add new depth to our approach.
It is time for us all to speak out in our communities and engage in conversations with those we know — and those we don’t — about how we steward our land, care for our animals and preserve the opportunity for the next generations of dairy families.
DBA has added resources to tell that story along with you. By engaging customers through programs like the Peninsula Pride Farms sustainability project and interacting on social media and other outlets, we are helping to both talk the talk and walk the walk.
We are also a partner in the Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance, a growing group of farmers, dairy processors, environmental groups and others working to measure continuous improvement in a variety of areas, from water quality to animal care.
We are ready to fight the fires in Madison, but time, money and heartache can be spared for all if we act to keep innocent flames from becoming raging wild fires.
If you are not familiar with the work that your DBA is doing on your behalf or have not met our staff, we invite you to set up a time to let that happen. As a part of our growing interest in returning value to our membership, we would love to make a visit to your farm or other business.
We are a partner in this effort and look forward to representing and serving your interest. As I accept the torch from our past president, Gordon Speirs, I look forward to the work that we will continue together!
Mike North grew up on his family's dairy farm in southeastern Wisconsin. His lifelong interest in agricultural production led him to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he received his bachelor of science degree in agribusiness with a minor in dairy science. While a student, Mike served a one-year term as a Wisconsin State FFA Officer. He began his work in the futures industry in 1995 as an intern. He founded Commodity Risk Management Group in 2014 in Platteville and serves as president. Mike and his wife, Jennifer, have four daughters.