OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) Assembly Republicans unveiled a package of bills today designed to help Wisconsin farmers. Kris Schuller reports the ideas are in response to Gov. Evers’ farm assistance proposals rolled out last month.
On an Outagamie County farm legislation is unveiled, to help the state’s hurting agriculture industry.
“It’s critical that we do what we can as a state, to make sure this industry continues to thrive,” said Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna).
Bills which Republican Majority Leader Steineke says improves on ideas put forward by Gov. Evers last month.
“There are a few good ideas in there, a lot of them just add to the bureaucracy in Madison, instead of giving direct help to farmers here in the state,” Steineke said.
The package includes multiple proposals, two from the governor that Steineke says have been improved. Like additional grants for dairy processing and $5 million instead of $1 million, to create an agriculture exports program at Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
“That program will focus on increasing exports in three categories; dairy to 20 percent of the U.S milk supply by 2026, meat and crops,” Steineke said.
The bills also include up to a $7,500 building tax credit for small farms, a study by UW-Madison on how they can best help the agriculture industry and allowing farmers to deduct the cost of health insurance from their taxes. Steineke says these bills are sorely needed to help the 64,000 farms in the state not just survive, but thrive.
A member of the Outagamie County Farm Bureau likes the focus on exports.
“Export thing would be a big thing, if we can get a free trade type of deal. That hurts us right now. So many countries charge tariffs on our products to go over to their country and that’s why we can’t compete over there,” said Bob Fox.
“If we’re going to invest money, state taxpayer dollars here in the state for farming, then we do it directly and not through a bunch of added programs at the state level,” said Steineke.
The bills are expected to be discussed by the Assembly in the coming weeks.