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WI Farm Support Program signup slated for June 15

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced that farmers will be able to apply for direct cash assistance from the WI Farm Support Program on June 15.

Farms who made $35,000 to $5 million in gross income based on 2019 tax returns will be eligible to apply for $1,000 to $3,500 in one-time payments from the WI Farm Support Program.

Farms who made $35,000 to $5 million in gross income based on 2019 tax returns will be eligible to apply for $1,000 to $3,500 in one-time payments. The program works on a sliding scale, so those on the lower end of the income spectrum will not get as much as farms on the higher end.

There will be a two-week window for farmers to apply for the assistance. The Department of Revenue will open the online application link on Monday, June 15, and the window will close Monday, June 29.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary-designee Randy Romanski said the governor’s office has requested that these payments get out to farmers as soon as possible, which is why the application window is short.

“We’ve continued to work with partners, organizations representing farmers in the state of Wisconsin, along with the governor’s office and the Department of Revenue,” Romanski said during a media call on June 4. “And it’s been … how to distribute that funding, what the timeline would be, what the best way to get the dollars out to farmers would be.”

Eligible farmers should apply online through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR): https://revenue.wi.gov. The application link will be live on June 15. Farmers who cannot apply online may request assistance by calling 608-266-2772. Spanish- and Hmong-speaking farmers should call DOR at 608-266-2772 for assistance.

Anyone who is interested in the Wisconsin Farm Support Program or the Food Insecurity Initiative should sign up for email updates on DATCP's website at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/COVID19Relief.aspx

Farmers can apply for assistance starting June 15th.

The funds for the WI Farm Support Program come from the federal CARES Act that is responding to the economic depression caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Tony Evers has made $50 million available for direct payments to Wisconsin’s thousands of farms.

Romanski also encouraged eligible farmers to apply as soon as possible to ensure any issues with their application can be addressed before the window closes. He also said there will be Spanish- and Hmong-speaking representatives with the Department of Revenue for anyone who needs translation services.

Romanski said the program will include virtually every commodity represented among Wisconsin farms, including dairy, corn, soybeans, ginseng and vegetables.

“We wanted to make sure this was able to include as many farms as possible,” Romanski said. “We’re trying to get the dollars out as quickly as possible.”

Alice, fairs and more

Romanski also added that the selection ceremony for the 73rd Alice in Dairyland, successor to current Alice Abigail Martin, will be June 19-20. He said there will be a Q&A session June 19 and the selection on June 20 will be livestreamed for public viewing at https://bit.ly/3eUJCfb.

Twenty county fairs have also canceled their annual events following the cancellation of the Wisconsin State Fair, Romanski said. It is up to individual county leadership whether or not to have a fair, he said.

The department is also working with the USDA to make its Agriculture Marketing Service food box program available to Wisconsin farmers with product surpluses they’re unable to sell to regular vendors due to the pandemic. However, Romanski said there’s still a lot of questions to be answered about the program, and the department will know more early next week.