WCMA Applauds State Senate Passage of Dairy Hauling Bill

Posted By: Grace Atherton Advocacy, WCMA News,

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) members today applauded the State Senate’s unanimous approval of Senate Bill 431, legislation designed to boost dairy hauling capacity.  Authored by Senator Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Representative Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc), SB 431 extends a current allowance for milk hauling of 98,000 pounds over six axles to all liquid dairy products.  

“Known for cheese, Wisconsin is also a global leader in the production of whey – essentially, what’s left over when curds come out of the vat,” said Rebekah Sweeney, WCMA Senior Director of Programs & Policy.  “Due to the complexity and cost of drying it for use in protein powders, baby formula, and as an ingredient, liquid whey is typically hauled from cheesemaking plants for additional processing.  SB 431 would make that effort more sustainable, more profitable, and safer for everyone on the road.” 

Scott Potts of WCMA member BelGioioso Cheese said, “We’re 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 metric tons per year.” 

Dave Buholzer of WCMA member Klondike Cheese Company added, “We’d use less water, washing out fewer tankers each day. We’d have less congestion in our intake area, extending the life our of current facility, as we grow. We’d have less paperwork to complete. All of this involves less labor on our end, labor that’s hard to find.” 

“From the labor to the water and fuel to the wear and tear on vehicles, this bill would significantly reduce our overall costs and improve economics for the Wisconsin dairy industry,” said Randy Klein of WCMA member Milk Specialties Global. “Passage of SB 431 would make Wisconsin cheesemakers and whey processors more competitive with their counterparts in other states that allow heavier hauling.” 

“Our thanks go to Sen. Ballweg and Rep. Kurtz for their championship of this legislation and of Wisconsin’s dairy industry, and to all Wisconsin senators for their support on the floor today,” said Sweeney.  “We’re grateful, too, for open lines of communication with Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials, and for the support of allied advocacy groups.” 

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. Its companion, Assembly Bill 440, is set for a public hearing in the Assembly Committee on Agriculture next Tuesday, November 21.