WCMA Applauds Gov. Evers’ Action to Strengthen Dairy Industry via Increased Hauling Capacity

Posted By: Grace Atherton Advocacy, WCMA News,

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) members today applauded Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ action to sign Senate Bill (SB) 431 into law, raising dairy hauling capacity on the state’s roads. Authored by Senator Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Representative Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc), SB 431 extends the state’s current allowance for milk hauling of 98,000 pounds over six axles to include all liquid dairy products. 

“SB 431 facilitates dairy processors’ efforts to transport their liquid whey in an environmentally friendly, financially viable, and safe manner,” said Rebekah Sweeney, WCMA Senior Director of Programs & Policy. “We’re grateful to Gov. Evers, Sen. Ballweg, and Rep. Kurtz for their work to bring this bill across the finish line, and to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for their partnership.” 

Whey powder and whey protein concentrate are used as value-added ingredients in a wide range of food products worldwide including processed meat, sausages, health foods, baby food and formula, beverages, and confections. Dried whey represents a significant commercial opportunity for Wisconsin dairy processors, comprising 31 percent of all the state’s dairy sales abroad. 

Due to the complexity and cost of drying, however, whey is typically hauled from cheesemaking plants in liquid form for additional processing. Existing state regulations allow dairy haulers to transport milk at heavier weight limits on Wisconsin roads, but previously did not account for other liquid dairy products. 

“We’re thrilled to see the positive impacts this bill will have on our sustainability efforts,” said Scott Potts of WCMA member BelGioioso Cheese. “Thanks to SB 431, BelGioioso stands to reduce the amount of fuel used in transporting loads by nearly 29,000 gallons per year. We’d also reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 258 metric tons per year.” 

Dave Buholzer of WCMA member Klondike Cheese Company added, “This legislation will help us maximize our resources in so many ways. We’ll be able to use fewer tankers, which means reducing our water usage and cutting down on crowding in our intake area. Less congestion means less administrative work - and more staff time for other tasks that help grow our business.” 

SB 431 is also supported by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, Cooperative Network, Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, Wisconsin Farmers Union, and Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.