Wisconsin Ag Coalition seeks road funding & more in budget

A dozen Wisconsin agricultural groups spent Wednesday at the State Capitol, as farmer members talked to lawmakers about funding priorities.

Ag Day at the Capitol was a chance for farmers to meet and educate elected officials, and with only a handful of farmer-legislators and 27 new members in the Assembly, Farm Bureau’s Jason Mugnaini says it’s important to push for the continued support of the Dairy Innovation Hub, farmer-led watershed funding, conservation reserve program reforms, additional ag export funding, and a new bill providing 150 million dollars to local towns to improve weight-restricted roads.

Mugnaini says running partial loads on poor roads is a cost paid by farmers and consumers at the grocery stores. “All of the efficiencies you see in the other parts of the food supply chain are out the window because of alternative routes and weight postings, and having to run partial loads. That increases costs. That increases fuel usage.”

WI State Senator Howard Marklein

Farmer, CPA, and Senator Howard Marklein is on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. He tells Brownfield, “For me, it’s a perfect use of one-time money. You know, if this were an ongoing program, I would have some pause probably because the amount of ongoing surplus that we have is not as big as what a lot of people think.”

The Ag Coalition is also asking lawmakers to include 10 million dollars to finish the construction of the 36-million dollar Food + Farm Exploration Center being built in Plover along I-39.

Overall, the ag groups say they’re encouraged by the support for their programs and issues at the state level so far.

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