MADISON, WI – Members of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) today applauded the State Senate’s unanimous approval of Senate Bill 431, legislation designed to increase product transportation capacity dairy. Authored by Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc), SB 431 expands a current milk transportation allocation of 98,000 pounds on six axles to all liquid dairy products.
“Known for its cheese, Wisconsin is also a world leader in the production of whey – essentially what’s left when the curds come out of the vat,” said Rebekah Sweeney, WCMA senior director of programs and policy. “Due to the complexity and cost of drying it for use in protein powders, infant formula, and as an ingredient, liquid whey is typically transported from cheese factories for further processing. SB 431 would make this effort more sustainable, more cost-effective, and safer for everyone on the road.
WCMA member Scott Potts of BelGioioso Cheese said, “We are excited about what this bill would mean for our sustainability initiatives. This bill would reduce the amount of fuel BelGioioso would use to transport loads by nearly 29,000 gallons per year and reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 258 tons per year.
WCMA member Dave Buholzer of Klondike Cheese Company added, “We would use less water and wash fewer tanker trucks each day. We would have less congestion in our intake area, thereby extending the life of our current facilities as we grow. We would have less paperwork to fill out. All this means less work on our part, work that is hard to find.
“From labor to water and fuel to wear and tear on vehicles, this bill would significantly reduce our overall costs and improve the economics of Wisconsin’s dairy industry,” said Randy Klein of WCMA member Milk Specialties Global. “Passing SB 431 would make Wisconsin cheesemakers and whey processors more competitive with their counterparts in other states that allow heavier hauls.”
“Our thanks go to Senator Ballweg and Representative Kurtz for their defense of this legislation and Wisconsin’s dairy industry, and to all Wisconsin senators for their support today,” Sweeney said. “We are also grateful for the open lines of communication with Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials and the support of allied advocacy groups.”
SB 431 is also supported by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, the Cooperative Network, the Dairy Business Association, the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, the Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. Its companion, Assembly Bill 440, is scheduled for a public hearing before the Assembly Agriculture Committee next Tuesday, November 21.