DATCP announces 2021 Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grant winners
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has announced 14 winners of this year's Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grants totaling $300,000.
The department received 37 requests for funding totaling more than $1.3 million. The program aims to help Wisconsin producers better market their locally grown and processed products to consumers, especially those specially produced in Wisconsin, like hops, hazelnuts and other things. The program has provided nearly $2 million in funding since 2008.
The winners include:
- 45 Mercantile – Antigo
- B&E’s Trees – Viroqua
- Cylon Rolling Acres – Deer Park
- Driftless Pure – La Crosse
- Emerald Acres – Sturgeon Bay
- Farmers Best Home Delivery – Appleton
- Forest County Potawatomi Community – Crandon
- Fresh Project – Shawano
- Goodland Extracts – Milwaukee
- REAP Food Group – Madison
- Riemer Family Farm – Brodhead
- Vesperman Farms – Lancaster
- Voss Organics – Madison
- Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Association – Strum
Secretary-designee Randy Romanski, whose official confirmation was recently recommended by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Tourism, said these grants are put to good use as they further innovation in sectors all across the ag industry. He added that it also became very clear during the pandemic that people want to know where their food comes from.
"What we've found from consumers during the pandemic is that they want to be close to their food supply. They want to know where their food comes from," Romanski said. "We have examples of a variety of projects here again this year that are trying to either create branding or signage or displays ... marketing to try and connect consumers who want to have that local connection to local foods."
Romanski added that Gov. Evers has included additional funding for the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program in his proposed budget for the 2021-23 biennium, and they said they both hope it will be approved by the state legislature. If approved, the funds would be available for the program starting next year.
Several items on Evers' budget have already been struck out, including proposals for continuing the food security initiative. His total package included $43 million for Wisconsin agriculture. He added that more grant programs are in the works to mimic what the CARES Act funding did for farmers last year.
"Challenges our ag industry faced came long before the pandemic, and over the past few years, our farmers have really shown remarkable resilience. I believe in the future of this industry," Evers said on a press conference call June 7. "It's premature, but we're going to get it out as soon as possible. ... As soon as we have all the I's dotted and T's crossed, we will get it out the door."