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GREEN BAY — Wisconsin’s largest dairy lobbying organization today announced its key legislative priorities for 2019-2020 along with recommended budget provisions to support them.
Among the group’s areas of focus are addressing the state’s water quality issues, spurring innovation and supporting workforce development and public safety through a driver’s card for non-citizens.
“Our priorities reflect a multi-faceted approach to supporting the dairy farmers and related businesses that drive billions of dollars of economic impact and thousands of jobs in Wisconsin each year,” said Tom Crave, president of DBA who is a farmer and cheese maker in south-central Wisconsin.
“This is a critical time for America’s Dairyland, and none of us can afford to be complacent. As the governor and legislators move their agendas forward and shape the next budget, we urge them to help put the dairy community in the best possible position to thrive. We stand ready to work collaboratively.”
Summary of legislative priorities
Addressing water quality challenges: As the research shows, Wisconsin’s groundwater problems are highly complex and will require efforts to address multiple sources, including agriculture. Dairy farmers want to be part of the solution.
Creating a driver’s card for non-citizens: This would help address the state’s critical labor shortage, including in agriculture, and ensure that drivers are properly trained, insured and accountable.
Providing opportunities for nutrient-trading to grow: Like carbon trading, this could be used to reduce the amount of phosphorus and other nutrients that reach surface and groundwater.
Funding next-generation dairy research: Wisconsin needs to remain a global leader in this field. The answer is a University of Wisconsin-led Dairy Innovation Hub, which would be a multi-disciplinary initiative to hire top-level researchers in the areas of land/water stewardship, human health/nutrition, animal welfare and rural business/community development.
Addressing long-term transportation funding: Many of our rural roads are deteriorating. Farmers depend on them to ship milk to processors, and processors need them to get products to customers. Farmers also depend on these roads to move equipment.