US – A dairy sector group is fighting the corner for farmers on water, saying industry requirements are ‘insignificant’.
Latest water use data in Wisconsin, America’s second dairy state, shows dairy farming requires five per cent of the state’s 292 billion gallons of water.
The figure, taken from the 2012 drought year, is being brandished by the Dairy Business Association (DBA) of Wisconsin as proof that Wisconsin’s cows are not drinking the state dry.
The DBA argues the data represents a ‘worst case scenario’, coming in a drought year, described as rivalling 1988 by Wisconsin University dairy extension.
Furthermore, the DBA adds that industry requirements are smaller if accounting for the 50-75 billion gallons going unreported each year.
This is in reaction to information relayed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at this year’s Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation conference, where DNR speaker Robert Smail discussed dairy farming’s 16 billion gallon requirements.
A DBA spokesperson called on the public to stop blaming farmers, who were the driving force behind a major industry.
“Why are we being blamed for every water supply challenge? Instead of blaming farmers, we should ask why this issue is being used to entice new regulations to prevent the $26.5 billion dollar industry from growing,” the spokesperson said.
“There are no more conscientious environmentalists than dairy farmers, and if they can find a way to conserve water, they do.
“Let the facts speak for themselves: at less than five per cent of the water used statewide, dairy farms’ consumption of the state’s water resources is insignificant.”
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