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Wisconsin Assembly passes ag export funding bill

Wisconsin’s State Assembly has unanimously approved legislation that would put five million dollars into increasing the state’s agricultural exports. 

Representative Tony Kurtz from Wonewoc wrote the bill and spoke before Tuesday’s vote. He says, “There’s a tremendous growth opportunity for our Wisconsin farmers and for all of the wonderful Wisconsin products that our farmers make, for everything from ginseng to cranberries to potatoes, to bovine genetics. You name it, our farmers grow it, and we can export it, and this bill is going to enable it.” Kurtz says, “If you think about it, this is the first time the State of Wisconsin will put money behind expanding our agricultural exports.”

Wisconsin has an ag export assistance program through the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, but it is not currently supported with state dollars.

John Umhoefer with the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association says, “This targeted investment will provide dairy processors with the support they need to navigate the logistics of export endeavors and grow their global customer base, building a stronger, more stable dairy industry.”

The bill would allocate the five million dollars over five years through the Department of Ag, Trade, and Consumer Protection, with half of those dollars dedicated to promoting the export sales of milk, cheese, yogurt, whey, and other dairy products. 

Assembly Bill 314 now awaits a vote in the State Senate before it can be signed into law by Governor Tony Evers.

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