A Wisconsin county limiting farms to 200 animal units or fewer without a permit is considering a change to move permit requirements in line with state limits.
La Crosse County, Wisconsin currently requires farms with over 200 animal units to apply for permits proving an ability to handle the increased animal waste associated with larger farms. The La Crosse Tribune reports a county board voted Thursday to remain at 200 units, potentially raising the limit to match the state number of 500 units set in 2006.
When Wisconsin increased its limit seven years ago, La Crosse County remained at 200 units, a mark it established in 1981. Animal units are set according to the amount of waste the animal produces. A cow is considered 1.4 units while a hog is .4 units.
According to the La Crosse Tribune, the Planning, Resources and Development Committee decided to consider a change to the permit requirements after consistent pressure from county farmers who say the costs required to obtain a permit outweigh the benefits of adding livestock.
While the steep terrain make manure runoff a serious issue in the county, some board members say modern livestock practices in manure management have greatly reduced the amount of waste that is truly wasted.