Lawmakers drop study on shifting farm oversight from budget

Wisconsin county divided over waterfront development plan

Legislative leaders have scrapped a plan in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget to study shifting oversight of large livestock farms from the Department of Natural Resources to state agriculture officials.

A state audit last year found DNR employees don’t have time to thoroughly monitor large farms. Walker’s budget called for the DNR and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer protection to jointly study the possibility of transferring oversight and report findings by the end of next year.

The leaders of the finance committee, Rep. John Nygren and Sen. Alberta Darling, announced Thursday they had removed the study provision from the budget because it’s a non-fiscal policy item.

The League of Conservation Voters praised the move, saying DATCP isn’t qualified to enforce clean water rules as they apply to large farms.