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Since Gov. Tony Evers announced on May 20 that the state would funnel $50 million in federal coronavirus aid to Wisconsin farmers struggling with the economic fallout of the pandemic, details on how to apply were absent.

Since then the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has fielded many questions from producers on when the aid would become available. During a weekly media call-in, Secretary designee Randy Romanski says the governor's office has been working as quickly as it can with input from the agricultural industry on how to structure the aid.

"We've had some really productive discussions with the farm groups which have offered a variety of scenarios and we want to make sure we're taking a look at those," Romanski said. 

Evers also announced a $15 million program to fill gaps in the food supply chain and help food pantries adapt.

Evers said the direct payments would help revitalize local economies and jump-start Wisconsin’s food supply chain, which has been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible farmers will be asked to apply for the aid through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, which is working in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Farm support payments could begin arriving as early as June. However, both Evers and Romanski referred to the application period for assistance as a  "small window of opportunity" and that distribution would not be on a "first-come, first-serve basis".

Those interested signing up for updates on the assistance program should visit https://bit.ly/3cv7rIY.

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