Around the turn of the millennium, a group of entrepreneurial Wisconsin farmers started talking about forming a new kind of trade association — one that would reflect their core beliefs.
Mostly the stewards of multi-generational dairy operations, they believed in using the latest science and technology in pursuit of both more sustainable production and the growth that they believed would enable them to pass on thriving enterprises to the next generations of farmers in their families.
When those farmers launched the Dairy Business Association (DBA) in 2001, they enlisted Michael Best as their legal counsel. We’ve been working with the organization ever since. Today we not only continue to serve as the DBA’s primary outside counsel, but also represent many of its members individually.
In the early days, we served as outside general counsel, advising the board of directors on their legislative and regulatory priorities, representing the organization before regulatory agencies and legislative bodies, and helping them advance state policy that would promote the growth of the dairy industry and the sustainable use of the state’s natural resources.
Beginning with the launch of the DBA, David Crass helped guide the organization through some of the most important farm-policy developments in Wisconsin history. Working with the DBA, David began to see the need to alter the state’s permitting process for expanding dairy farms. That led him to craft Wisconsin’s Livestock Facility Siting Law of 2004. After helping guide the legislation to passage, a Michael Best team went on to argue the seminal case involving the law before the state Supreme Court — resulting in a complete vindication of the law, and tilting the playing field back in favor of farm prosperity.
Our work with the DBA has led to similar engagements with agricultural trade associations in several other states. As with the DBA, we also have the honor of serving many of those groups’ members, providing a full range of legal services to food production and processing companies, from helping them navigate labor and employment matters, regulatory compliance, and enforcement defense to corporate mergers, acquisitions, and succession planning.