More than one hundred Wisconsin farmers participated in Ag Day at the Capitol, starting with updates on issues and ending with visits to see Senators and Representatives to discuss issues and priorities. Kieth Ripp is with Wisconsin Farm Bureau and says several water quality bills are near the finish line. “One house or the other may have taken action on some of these bills so it’s just a matter of finishing them up and getting them over the last hurdle and getting them to the Governor’s desk, and seeing if he’ll sign them.”
Ripp says farmers are also asking for more financial support for the Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant program. “The watershed programs have been very successful and I think they’re getting a big bang for their buck out of those.”
Nicole Wagner with the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association says getting farmers to come to Madison and talk to legislators who are more and more removed from the farm is vital for getting needed support for legislation. “It’s our opportunity for farmers to tell their story, help educate the legislators on why we need the policies that we’re asking for, but more importantly we need farmers to make that ask and get involved, and it doesn’t matter if it’s corn growers, soybean growers, the Dairy Business Association, or Farm Bureau. We all work together, but you need to get out there. You need to join somebody and work to protect the way you want to farm.”
Farmers heard updates on the state budget and legislation affecting their issues before meeting with lawmakers in their Capitol offices Wednesday. The farmers and their agriculture organizations asked legislators to:
- Support water quality legislation currently under consideration
- Support a hunting season for sandhill cranes
- Support an amended bill bringing regulatory consistency for above-ground farm fuel tanks
- Support a bill passed by the Senate Tuesday providing local governments financial assistance to control wild parsnip
- Support the dairy and meat labeling bills passed by the Assembly but awaiting Senate action
- Support updates to the Farmland Preservation Program
- Support wildlife damage updates
- Inform lawmakers about upcoming proposed changes to the DNR’s wolf management plan that will likely move forward while the legislature is out of session and lawmakers are back in their districts campaigning.
Ag Day at the Capitol was organized by Wisconsin Farm Bureau with support from the Wisconsin Pork Association, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, the Dairy Business Association, the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, and the Wisconsin Soybean Program.