The Power to Pollute

Big Agribusiness’s Political Dominance in Madison and Its Impact on Our Waterways

Factory farms are polluting Wisconsin’s treasured waterways. Runoff laced with pollution from animal manure contaminates the state’s lakes and rivers, and the number of factory farms in the state is rapidly increasing. The agencies charged with keeping Wisconsin’s water clean have issued more and more water permits to industrial farming operations every year, even though livestock operations have already polluted thousands of acres of lakes and hundreds of miles of rivers. The state’s failure to protect our waterways from factory farming is the result of years of lobbying by powerful corporate agribusiness interests.[1] Since 2007, corporate agribusiness interests have spent $427,000 on campaign contributions and $4.4 million on lobbying to get their way in Madison. To protect Wisconsin’s precious lakes and rivers, state officials must stand up to pressure from factory farming lobbyists, refuse to permit new factory farms, and ensure that existing ones follow the law. Pollution from factory farms is a growing threat to Wisconsin’s treasured lakes and rivers. Stormwater runoff from fields and livestock operations carries pollutants from manure into Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers. This can harm wildlife and public health – creating algal blooms that kill fish, destroy wildlife habitat, and contaminate drinking water.



Wisconsin Environment Research & Policy Center