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$8.4 million in state aid distributed in second round of WI Farm Support Program

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
Randy Romanski

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced that $8.4 million was paid out to 3,300 farmers during the second round of the WI Farm Support Program.

An earlier press release from DATCP said the second round of funding received over 4,600 applications. The program was expanded to farmers with gross income between $10,000 and $30,000 a year based on 2019 tax returns, since the first round excluded farmers with less than $30,000 gross income. DATCP Secretary-designee Randy Romanski said 60% of applicants for aid fell into that income category, although the cap for eligibility still remained at $5 million in gross income.

The average payment was just over $2,500, with each farmer's award being granted based on a sliding scale between $1,000 and $3,000.

"Clearly, there was a need for additional support among Wisconsin’s smaller farm operations," Romanski said. "We are glad that this second round was able to provide that support. While this funding won’t make anyone whole, we hope it will provide some relief."

The program, created by Governor Tony Evers, utilized $50 million in state funding from the federal CARES Act to help Wisconsin farmers recover losses as the state faced an economic crisis due to COVID-19. $41.6 million was distributed to almost 12,000 farmers in all but one county during the first round, which ended in June. 

Dairy farms led the state in received aid based on data from the first round of funding, with 40% of the money going to 4,757 dairy farms. Corn farming and beef cattle ranching were also big winners. Grant County received the most funding of any county in Wisconsin with $2.6 million in aid.

"These folks have never stopped doing their part to ensure that consumers around the world have access to high-quality, nutritious food during this public health crisis," Romanski said. "I want to thank our farmers for their critically important work, and we’re proud to support them in any way we can."