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Wisconsin passes ag export support

Wisconsin’s legislation backing agricultural exports has been signed into law.  Governor Tony Evers signed Assembly Bill 314 Friday, which directs the Department of Ag, Trade, and Consumer Protection to work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on a plan to increase the value of Wisconsin’s ag exports by 25 percent by June 30, 2026.

Co-author Senator Joan Ballweg says in three of the past five years, Wisconsin saw declines in agribusiness exports with an aggregate loss of over $64 million. She says, “Now more than ever, it is important we do everything we can to secure the vitality of our markets into the future.” Representative Tony Kurtz was the Assembly author. Kurtz says, “The agriculture industry is the backbone of Wisconsin. It provides $104 billion, and 436,000 jobs to our economy. Wisconsin is ranked first in the country in the production of cheese, cranberries, snap beans, and many other commodities. Yet, Wisconsin ranks an astonishing 17th in total agricultural exports. That is behind almost all of our Midwestern neighbors including Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, and Ohio. This is unacceptable.”

Objectives of this program include spending $2.5 million on increasing the value of Wisconsin’s milk and other dairy products, $1.25 million to increase the value of Wisconsin’s meat exports, and $1.25 million to increase the value of Wisconsin’s crop exports.

The new law is Act 92 and is being praised by farm groups including the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and Wisconsin Farm Bureau.  The cheesemakers Executive Director John Umhoefer says, “This investment is a smart, necessary boost that will benefit not only our dairy industry but the state’s entire economy.” Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Keven Krentz says, “Exports are critically important to agriculture. By providing opportunities for product innovation and new market access, we also provide opportunities for new and existing market development for Wisconsin’s agricultural products.” He says, “These investments help create long-term relationships with export markets that are sure to pay dividends for Wisconsin agriculture and our local communities in the years ahead.”

Agricultural export support is one issue Democratic Governor Evers and the Republican-controlled legislature and Joint Finance Committees unanimously agreed on.

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