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Hearings begin on new Wis. megafarm permits

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A series of public hearings on new general permits for giant farms begins this week.

Hearings begin this week on the DNR's plans to regulate mega farms. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal/Craig Schreiner)

Hearings begin this week on new permit requirements for mega farms. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal/Craig Schreiner)

The state Department of Natural Resources currently issues permits on a case-by-case basis for farms with more than 1,000 so-called animal units, the equivalent of about 700 dairy cows.

DNR regulators want to move to a general permit system for farms between 1,000 and 5,700 animal units. Farms with 300 to 999 animal units could be subject to a general permit if they have uncorrected pollution problems.

Agency officials said the change will speed up the paperwork and enable inspectors to spend more time in the field.

The first hearing is set for Friday in Wausau. Additional hearings are planned statewide over the first two weeks of April.

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