Gov. Evers signs Wisconsin ag exports bill

Wisconsin State Farmer
Act 92 will increase the value of Wisconsin’s ag exports 25 percent by mid-2026.

A bill signed by Gov. Tony Evers on Dec. 3, would help to increase the value of Wisconsin exports substantially within the next 25 years.

Under Wisconsin Act 92, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection’s Center for International Agribusiness Marketing will work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on a plan to increase the value of Wisconsin’s milk and dairy, meat, crop, and other product exports by 25 percent by June 30, 2026.

According to the Office of Governor, the bill is modeled after legislation originally proposed by Evers during his 2020 State of the State address, during which the governor announced a package of legislation and a special session of the Legislature as part of a three-pronged plan to support and invest in Wisconsin’s farmers and rural communities.

“Wisconsin’s robust agricultural and agribusiness exports are not only a cornerstone of our state’s economy but our Wisconsin way of life,” said Gov. Evers in a news release. “We started this work to promote and increase Wisconsin’s product exports even before the pandemic to help support our farmers and our rural communities."

Governor Tony Evers addresses farmers at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Ag Day at the Capitol at Monona Terrace in Madison on Feb. 4, 2020.

Evers says that as the people of Wisconsin work to recover from the pandemic, 'it’s never been more important to support and promote our state’s agricultural products and exports so we can ensure the success of our agricultural industry, and our farmers, producers, and their families who’ve been the backbone of our state for generations.'

Assembly Bill 314, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 92:

  • Requires the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to work collaboratively with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to increase the export of agricultural and agribusiness products over the next five years.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau applauded the Governor for his support of the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports.

Kevin Krentz

“These investments help create long-term relationships with export markets that are sure to pay dividends for Wisconsin agriculture and our local communities in the years ahead,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Krentz. “This legislation will help support the diverse commodities grown in Wisconsin through much needed market access and support.”

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Executive Director John Umhoefer says the the investment is a smart, necessary boost that will benefit not only the state's dairy industry, but the state’s entire economy.

“We’re grateful for the leadership of Governor Evers, Wisconsin State Senator Joan Ballweg, and Wisconsin State Representative Tony Kurtz working in united purpose to make this legislation a reality,” Umhoefer said.

John Umhoefer

The bill specifies that $2.5 million, or half the total funds appropriated, will be used to increase the export sales of milk, cheese, yogurt, whey, and other dairy products.

“Thanks to this funding, cheesemakers will have access to more tools and assistance to help them navigate the challenging logistics of exporting. As they find success in new markets, we’ll see both short- and long-term benefits for dairy processors and farmers alike,” added Paul Scharfman, CEO of Specialty Cheese Company.

The Dairy Business Association (DBA) congratulated state lawmakers and the governor for creating a program aimed at increasing exports of dairy, meat and other agricultural products.

Amy Penterman

“The strength of Wisconsin’s dairy economy rests in large part on the opportunities we have to sell more of our high-quality products around the globe,” DBA President Amy Penterman, a dairy farmer in Thorp, said. “This investment will help us not only remain competitive in the global marketplace but be a leader.”