Wisconsin briefs

Wisconsin State Farmer


Wisconsin briefs

Workshops: Grant programs and financial options for farmers & food entrepreneurs
Farmers and other business owners who are looking for ways to develop their innovative agricultural enterprises are invited to sign-up for a workshop designed to help determine if grants or other financial options might be right for them.

Specific grant programs to be covered include: USDA's Value Added Producer Grant program; Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant program; and Specialty Crop Block Grant program.
In addition, the sessions will briefly cover USDA cost-share and loan programs for farmers.

The workshops will be held at the following locations:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 5 - UW-Richland Center, 1200 US-14, Richland Center. Contact Adam Hady or call 608-647-6148 to register.  
  • Thursday, Oct. 6 - Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, W2493 County Road ES, East Troy. Contact Leigh Presley or call 262-857-1948 to register.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11 - Crystal Falls Banquet Hall, 1500 Handschke Drive, New London.  Contact Greg Blonde or call 715-258-6231 to register. 

The workshops are sponsored by UW-Extension, USDA, DATCP, and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.


Public invited to share Extension service stories

As the University of Wisconsin Extension Service faces a major re-organization due to a series of cutbacks in state funding, people who have been served by the organization during its 105 years are being invited to share one or more stories about their experiences.

Titled “Help Us Tell Our Story by Sharing Yours,” the effort is being directed to university officials who are overseeing the revamping of the organization which dates to 1912 and to the state's elected officials who decided on the $250 million budget cut for the university system and its Extension Service component in the 2015-2016 biennium.

Persons willing to share their Extension Service stories – suggested length of 100 to 200 words – can pick up a postage-paid card at Extension Service offices throughout the state, submit directly on the website, or send a card or letter titled “Tap Into It” to UW Colleges and UW Extension, 432 North Lake St., Madison, WI 53791-8897.

Submitters can indicate whether or not they would allow their story to be shared publicly. Dozens of stories have already been posted on the website.

The uncertainties linked to the re-organization are beginning to take a toll. Due in part to those uncertainties, three full-time agents (4-H, agriculture, and community resource development) in the Calumet County Extension Service office submitted resignations during September.


USDA awards grants to preserve affordable rural housing in Wisconsin

USDA Rural Development under Secretary Lisa Mensah announced grants to preserve and repair affordable housing for very-low- and low-income families living in rural areas.

“Housing Preservation Grants are an excellent source of funding to help folks keep up a safe and energy-efficient home that is in good repair,” Mensah said. “This funding will go a long way toward helping maintain the value of rural residents’ homes and preserve the supply of safe, affordable housing in rural America.”
USDA is awarding $3.9 million in Housing Preservation Grants to 107 organizations in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and in every state except Montana and Washington.

In Wisconsin, Community Development Alternatives, Inc., in Prairie du Chien, will receive funds to help five very-low income homeowners make repairs to their homes. Additionally, in Vernon County, Couleecap, Inc. will use funds to help six very-low income homeowners make repairs. These grants will help rural homeowners make health, safety and accessibility improvements. The repairs will allow very-low-income and elderly homeowners to remain in their homes. 

Nationally, these grants will renovate 966 rural housing units. Grant funds can be used to remove health and safety hazards, make homes more energy efficient, and modernize the units. Eligible recipients include local governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian Tribes, nonprofit organizations and faith-based and community groups. They distribute the grants to homeowners and owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents.

The organizations receiving the grants determine which local projects to support.