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Wisconsin’s Support of Agricultural Jobs

Wisconsin’s Support of Agricultural Jobs

How did local food and agricultural entrepreneur programs fare in the Governor’s budget? Here are three programs that were eliminated:

Wisconsin’s local foods program – Buy Local Buy Wisconsin
BuyWiscFarmers across Wisconsin have increased sales because of projects funded by Buy Local Buy Wisconsin grants. People who care about buying Wisconsin products now find them at more grocery stores, on more menus, and at more markets, and children eat them in more schools – because of this program. Despite helping farmers and eaters, these grants are again on the chopping block, after zero funding for the previous two years!

Buy Local Buy Wisconsin grants from previous years:

  • created over 100 jobs
  • brought in more than $2.7 million in new sales
  • created a 5:1 return on investment

Wisconsin’s agricultural entrepreneurs’ program – Agricultural Development and Diversification
The Agricultural Development and Diversification Program was created in 1989 to stimulate economic development by creating new products, introducing new higher-value crops, and building a value-added processing industry. And they’ve done just that. Agricultural Development and Diversification grants have:

  • created over 700 jobs
  • created over 550 new products
  • brought economic returns of over $139 million

Despite this, the Governor proposes eliminating the $321,000 that the program gives out in grants each year, after deciding no grants should be awarded for the past two years!

Wisconsin’s grazing program – Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
conversational_cowsFrom supporting grazing networks to helping schools teach rotational grazing to supporting technical assistance, the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative is a big part of why grazing in Wisconsin is so successful statewide today.
Last year alone, the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative:

  •  Created 352 grazing plans totaling 20,341 acres
  • Of those, 231 plans were for new graziers, totaling 12,128 acres
  • Supported 13 grazing networks for peer-to-peer education, reaching 20,422 farmers
  • Supported the School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers and six distance education sites

And it did all of this on a state allocation of $344,980.

We cannot let these programs die when they are the job creating programs that Wisconsin needs right now. Please contact your legislators and ask them to restore funding for the Buy Local Buy Wisconsin Program, the Agricultural Development and Diversification Program, and the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.

To find out who your State Senator and State Representative are and to get their contact information, go here.

Bridget Holcomb is the Associate Policy Director at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. Contact her at (608) 256-1859 or at BHolcomb@MichaelFields.org.

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FairShare CSA Coalition

FairShare CSA Coalition