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Application details, possible caps still unclear in Wisconsin’s new direct payment program

Wisconsin is moving forward with a state-run program that will make direct coronavirus relief payments to farmers, but there are details to be worked out.

Governor Tony Evers announced Wednesday he would grant the request of eight state farmer organizations and use 50-million dollars from the 1.9 billion the state received from the federal CARES Act for direct farmer payments, but he’s not yet sure if there will be payment caps or how much that cap might be. Evers says, “That is still a moving part. We have to finalize that. I know we have been working with all of the farm groups in the state around this issue.”

Evers tells Brownfield the administration is also looking at how to quickly and efficiently move those dollars into the hands of Wisconsin farmers. “We want to get the money out in June. We’re going to be working with the Department of Revenue. That might be the easiest way to do it. We’re looking for a quick glide path here so farmers don’t have to wait too long.” Evers also expects the application process will not be complicated.

Evers could not give a timeline for when farmers could begin applying for the relief but he expects to do that soon.

The Wisconsin direct payments to farmers program is separate from the USDA’ CFAP program, and Wisconsin farmers will be eligible to receive benefits from both programs.

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