A dairy group representing farmers and related businesses across Wisconsin today praised lawmakers on the state’s budget-writing committee for designating money for a Dairy Innovation Hub.
On Tuesday, the Joint Finance Committee earmarked $8.8 million for the University of Wisconsin System proposal, which would add researchers at the system’s three agricultural colleges –– in Madison, Platteville and River Falls. The research would focus on land and water use, human health and nutrition, animal health and welfare, and farm businesses and rural communities.
The following statement is from Tom Crave, president of the Dairy Business Association and a farmer and cheesemaker in south-central Wisconsin.
“We have been fortunate to be home to the world’s leading dairy research for decades through the University of Wisconsin System. These efforts were critically important in building America’s Dairyland. Today, farmers, processors and others need the same commitment to next-generation research to help them overcome increasingly complex challenges and find new innovative ways to move forward.
“It has been great to see the bipartisan support this proposal has enjoyed. Members of both parties have shown their support for increased dairy research. The approval by the Joint Finance Committee demonstrates an understanding of this vital component to long-term success for Wisconsin’s dairy community. We applaud the lawmakers for their dedication and we urge the full Legislature and Gov. Evers to keep the Dairy Innovation Hub funding in the final budget.”
The Dairy Innovation Hub was among recommendations of the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0, a joint effort between the UW System and state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to identify ways to keep the dairy community viable. The group included a wide range of participants from the farming community and elsewhere.
The Joint Finance Committee’s plan designates $1 million in the first year of the two-year budget and $7.8 million in the second. UW officials would need to present a more detailed plan before any funds would be dispersed.
The committee’s budget plan now moves to the Legislature where it will need approval from both the Assembly and Senate before heading to the governor, who has veto authority.
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The Dairy Business Association is the leading dairy lobby group in Wisconsin, focused on advocating for sensible state laws and regulations that affect the dairy community. The nonprofit organization is comprised of dairy farmers, milk processors, vendors and other business partners who work collaboratively to ensure that dairy farms of all sizes have the support they need to keep America’s Dairyland strong. For more information, visit www.dairyforward.com.