Romanski appointed as DATCP Secretary

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Randy Romanski

It's official, Randy Romanski can drop the term 'interim' from his official title.

Governor Tony Evers announced on Monday that Romanski was appointed as Secretary-Designee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Romanski has served as Interim Secretary of the agency since November 2019.

“Wisconsin’s agricultural community has dealt with challenges for years, from low prices to trade wars to a global pandemic,” Gov. Evers said in a news release. “Randy has done an outstanding job leading DATCP through these challenging times, and I believe he’ll continue to do great work as secretary.”

Legislators must still confirm Romanski's appointment. The Senate is not scheduled to convene again until January, although it may be forced into session later this year to deal with a state budget shortfall due to the economic hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, in a statement reacting to Romanski's appointment, encouraged him to meet with senators "to begin to repair the relationship that Pfaff ruined.”

Romanski can serve as secretary unless the Senate votes to deny his confirmation.

The deputy Secretary was tapped to step into the position vacated by Brad Pfaff who had served as Secretary-designee since January 2019 when he was removed from the position following a party-line vote in the Senate in early November 2019. 

Romanski has a long career in public service in Wisconsin. Over the past 30 years, he has held leadership roles across various state agencies including both deputy secretary and secretary at DATCP under former Gov. Jim Doyle.

“I appreciate Governor Evers’ confidence and trust in me,” added Romanski. “I have been honored to work with the team at DATCP to serve the citizens of the state. I look forward to continuing that work as we serve as a resource to Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture and consumer communities.”

Many farm organizations chimed in with their approval of Romanski's appointment.

"With his history of public service and depth of experience, Randy is well-suited to the role of agriculture secretary," said Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden. "He has been a steady leader in the recent turbulent times, helping to pull the agricultural community together as we grapple with the impacts of COVID-19. We look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Romanski on programs that improve life for family farmers throughout Wisconsin." 

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Joe Bragger also supported the appointment of Romanski.

“Wisconsin Farm Bureau looks forward to continuing to work with Mr. Romanski, just as we did while he was serving as Interim DATCP Secretary, to support Wisconsin agriculture. Many in our agricultural community have faced unthinkable challenges during the last few months. We plan to continue working with Secretary-Designee Romanski, DATCP and other stakeholders to support our farmers to the best of our ability.”

The Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin’s leading dairy lobbying group, said it has appreciated the work of Romanski with farmers especially during the challenges caused by the pandemic.

“The Dairy Business Association looks forward to continuing to work with (Romanski) and his team at DATCP through this crisis and beyond," said DBA President Tom Crave, who is a farmer and cheesemaker in Waterloo, Wis.. "Maintaining a cooperative and productive relationship between our dairy community and the state’s agriculture department is essential to moving Wisconsin’s signature industry forward.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.