When Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers addressed attendees at the Dairy Business Association’s “Dairy Strong” virtual conference, he started by recognizing the diligence of dairy farmers.
“Thank you for the work that everyone in the dairy and agriculture workforce has been doing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“The pandemic has highlighted and even heightened the difficulties that our rural communities and agriculture industries were already facing,” Evers continued. “Nevertheless, you worked hard and tirelessly to ensure Wisconsinites and Americans across our country have food on the table. That is why you have been and will continue to be essential to our state.”
The Badger State governor recognized that this year has not been easy for farmers, and he said that is why they directed federal funding to be put to good use within agriculture. This included $50 million as direct aid to 15,000 farmers across the state and $25 million to strengthen ties between food insecurity nonprofits and food producers.
“Our dairy farmers and dairy industry were already in a tight spot even before we knew what 2020 had in store,” Evers noted. “And now, in 2021, it’s time to not only work on our immediate recovery from the pandemic but to look beyond the pandemic and how we can move the state forward to ensure prosperity for farmers, rural communities, and our industries.”
In his State of the State address a few days earlier, he had announced that 2021 will be considered the year of broadband access. This includes nearly quadruple the investment in broadband internet across the state.
“High-speed internet is a necessity these days. We have to make sure it is reliable, affordable, and accessible for everyone,” Evers explained. He shared a conversation he had with a dairy farmer who was selling his own products online but at times faced internet connection challenges. “In 2021, frankly that is unacceptable,” Evers emphasized.
He also touched on future efforts to address pollution and climate change in the state, and he commented on the importance of working with agriculture industries to make progress.
“I said all along that farmers and producers are some of the most avid supporters we have as it relates to clean land, clean air, and clean water because you know the value of our state’s natural resources firsthand.”
Evers acknowledged that there is a lot of work to be done in the year ahead, and dairy is on his radar. “I look forward to growing and expanding Wisconsin’s dairy industry because a strong dairy industry means a strong Wisconsin economy, strong communities, and a strong future for our people and our state.”