Farmer and dairy groups applaud Evers for signing agricultural export bill

Groups representing the state’s farmers and dairy producers applaud Governor Tony Evers for enacting a bill to increase exports of Wisconsin agricultural products.

Under Wisconsin Law 92 of 2021, the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Consumer Protection will work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. five years.

“Exports are critically important to agriculture,” said Kevin Krentz, president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “By providing opportunities for product innovation and access to new markets, we also provide opportunities to develop new and existing markets for Wisconsin agricultural products. “

The state’s Dairy Business Association notes that half of the $ 5 million allocated to DATCP’s Center for International Agribusiness Marketing is spent on dairy products. The other half will be split evenly between efforts to increase exports of meat and crops. DBA President Amy Penterman said the state’s dairy industry is “largely” dependent on international exports.

“This investment will help us not only to remain competitive in the global market, but also to be a leader,” she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, John Umhoefer, calls the new effort “a smart and necessary boost that will benefit not only our dairy industry, but the economy as a whole. State “.

The DATCP and WEDC are required to submit their plan for the program by the end of the year and are expected to report to lawmakers on June 30, 2024 on progress towards the program’s goals. The Legislative Audit Bureau will also assess the effectiveness of the program by December 31, 2026.

At least 15% of the funds allocated to the program must be awarded in the form of subsidies to Wisconsin agricultural exporters by the end of 2022, according to the text of the bill.

Evers had previously proposed a similar agricultural export plan calling for a special session in 2020, and then included funding for the plan in its 2021-2023 budget proposal. None of these efforts succeeded. Republican lawmakers introduced Assembly Bill 314 in May of this year.

“We started this work to promote and increase exports of Wisconsin produce even before the pandemic to help support our farmers and rural communities, and I’m proud that this legislation has finally arrived on my desk,” Evers said in a statement.

AB 314 was written by Senator Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, and Representative Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc. Legislation establishing the program has been passed unanimously by the State Assembly and Senate in recent months.

“Wisconsin is in the top ten states for agricultural production, but ranks 13th for the export of our food, forestry and agricultural products,” Ballweg said in a statement after Evers signed the legislation. “Wisconsin has many opportunities to find new places in emerging markets. “

See the text of the law: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/related/enrolled/ab314.pdf

–By Alex Moe

About Keneth T. Graves

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