WI Farm Support Program receives 4,672 applications, grant recipients announced

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
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The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says the WI Farm Support Program received 4,672 applications as of Monday.

DATCP Secretary-designee Randy Romanski said 3,249 of those applications were already approved by the time the application window closed, since the Department of Revenue reviewed them on a rolling basis throughout the application period. Romanski said he expects that number to rise as DOR continues to work through applications.

Romanski also said 45% of all applications came from farmers in the $10,000-30,000 income range, who were not eligible to apply in the first round. He added that the funds are still expected to be handed out on a sliding scale based on income, and those payments will be disbursed in mid-September.

Food Security Initiative

DATCP also announced the recipients of the COVID-19 Food Security Network Support Grants, a total $5 million being awarded to 17 food banks and eligible non-profits that help food-insecure people in Wisconsin during the time of COVID-19. Here are those organizations receiving grant awards:

  • Caldwell United Methodist Church – $1,623
  • Caritas, Inc. – $5,000
  • City of Stoughton Food Pantry – $1,839
  • Community Action Coalition – $311,319
  • Deerfield Community Center, Inc. – $4,457
  • Extended Hands Pantry – $20,000
  • Feeding Wisconsin, Inc. – $2,200,000
  • FINAO, Inc. – $146,361
  • First Presbyterian Church – $8,220
  • Friends of Women in Recovery (Beacon House) – $4,000
  • Hunger Prevention Council of Pierce County – $20,000
  • Hunger Task Force, Inc. – $2,200,000
  • South Milwaukee Human Concerns, Inc. – $10,000
  • Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program, Inc. – $12,650
  • Transformation House – $13,800
  • United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS), Inc. – $5,200
  • United Way St. Croix Valley – $34,920

Hunger Task Force and Feeding Wisconsin received $5 million each as part of an additional $10 million award, the COVID-19 Food Security and Wisconsin Products Grant, for the state's leading non-profit food security organizations. All of these awards are part of the total $15 million set aside for the Food Security Initiative created by Governor Tony Evers as part of the federal CARES Act funding. 

Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity

Romanski also said the BRCRP, a rural issues task force created by Evers and spearheaded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, is holding public forums for Wisconsinites to share their visions for a prosperous rural community. The commission is designed to identify unique issues facing rural Wisconsinites and develop recommendations for the governor and the state legislature on how to improve the lives of rural communities.

Those forums are being held Monday, Aug. 31 from 12-2 pm; Tuesday, Sept. 8 from 7-9 pm; and Wednesday, Sept. 16 from 3-5 pm. You can sign up for a session on the WEDC website, or if you can't make those dates, the WEDC is also accepting written submissions there. Interpreters fluent in Spanish and Hmong will also be available.

Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council

Applications for the Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council closed Aug. 21 and are currently being reviewed, Romanski said. He said that DATCP received 29 applications from high school seniors across Wisconsin, 15 of which will be accepted to the council. The council will begin this year's session next month, where the council members will bridge gaps between youth, state government agencies and the ag industry.