Wisconsin budget proposal: Innovation & farmer-led conservation

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(WFRV) – For the next few weeks, Midwest Farm Weekly is digging into the proposed state budget and the impact on Wisconsin agriculture.

Governor Tony Evers announced his 2021-23 biennial budget proposal will include a more than $43 million investment in Wisconsin’s agriculture economy and farm families aimed at expanding market opportunities, supporting new and innovative farming practices, strengthening the agricultural workforce, connecting local producers to foodbanks and pantries, and supporting farmer mental health and wellbeing.

This week Randy Romanski, DATCP Secretary-designee talks about promoting agricultural innovation & farmer-led conservation.

Some the goals include:

Creating and funding a Value-Added Agricultural Grant Program, which would provide education and technical assistance related to producing value-added agricultural products, such as organic farming and best practices related to grazing;

Providing additional funding to counties in order to support three conservation staff per county;
Increasing funding for the Producer-Led Watershed Grant Program, which supports farmer groups working collaboratively to address local water issues;

Creating and funding Water Stewardship Grants which provides support for third parties assisting farmers with water stewardship;

Creating and funding a Conservation Grant Program which supports farmers seeking to transition to more environmentally sustainable agricultural practices; and

Providing funding in order to support additional UW-Extension specialists and county agents, who provide both on-the-ground technical assistance and research to support producers throughout Wisconsin.

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