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The Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin’s leading dairy advocacy group, was pleased to see lawmakers prioritize the state’s agriculture and dairy community today. The Joint Committee on Finance today unanimously passed funding to update the state’s farmland preservation program.
The farmland preservation program is designed to incentivize keeping farmland in production agriculture, a win for both agriculture and conservation. The voluntary program creates conservation standards for farmers to utilize in their production practices; in turn, they receive a per-acre tax credit. However, participation over the last ten years has been in decline. Updating the farmland preservation program was a priority issue for DBA entering this year.
“Wisconsin must continue to prioritize keeping farmland in production agriculture,” said DBA President Lee Kinnard. “This legislation provides a much-needed update to the program, one that will generate more participation from farmers. We greatly appreciate the finance committee recognizing these necessary changes to create a stronger Wisconsin agriculture and dairy community.”
Among the changes to the existing program include reducing the number of years in the contract from 15 years to 10 and increasing the per-acre tax credit. The bill was authored by Rep. Loren Oldenburg, R-Viroqua, and Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point. The bill must still pass through the state Assembly and state Senate before Gov. Tony Evers would have a chance to sign it into law.
“We appreciate the continued bipartisan support of our state’s farmers,” Kinnard said. “Dairy has long served as Wisconsin’s signature commodity; we hope lawmakers recognize this legislation’s role in keeping Wisconsin dairy moving forward.”