COLUMNISTS

DATCP ready to move forward following release of funds for ag initiatives

Randy Romanski

Agriculture is one of our state’s greatest assets and, given the right tools, farmers can feed their communities and the world. Gov. Tony Evers is committed to making sure farmers have the tools available so they can innovate and prosper. I appreciate Gov. Tony Evers’ support for the commercial nitrogen optimization pilot program, cover crop insurance premium rebate program, and Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports (WIAE), which are each critical steps in the right direction for Wisconsin agriculture.

Today, the Joint Committee on Finance released funds for these three initiatives, paving the way for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to put those funds to good use.

One of the most valuable parts of Wisconsin’s agriculture industry is the soil and water that are sustainably cared for by our state’s dedicated farmers. Through various conservation practices, Wisconsin farmers are already leading the way in preserving our soil and water. However, it is critical that we continue providing them with the tools to continue and amplify these practices.

The commercial nitrogen optimization pilot program will provide grants to producer projects that optimize the application of commercial nitrogen, while the cover crop insurance rebate program provides eligible farmers with rebates of $5 per acre of a cover crop planted for crop insurance premiums paid on those acres. Together, these initiatives will work together to preserve soil and water resources for generations to come.

The future of our industry also relies on the sale of the products grown and processed by Wisconsinites both domestically and internationally. DATCP and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) continue to work collaboratively on the WIAE, which promotes the export and sale of Wisconsin agricultural products abroad.

Since March 2022, the WIAE allowed 20 Wisconsin companies to participate in trade promotion activities. This resulted in at least $460,000 in initial export sales and $1.59 million in anticipated sales one year following the events.

Additionally, the initiative provided 16 Wisconsin companies and organizations with more than $377,000 in grants to help expand state agricultural exports. With this now-approved second year of funding, we will be able to build on this momentum by promoting more Wisconsin agricultural products in the international marketplace.

At DATCP, our mission is to partner with the citizens of Wisconsin to grow the economy by promoting quality food, healthy plants and animals, sound use of land and water resources, and a fair marketplace.

Randy Romanski

To accomplish this mission, it is vital that our state invest in programs and initiatives that provide tools to Wisconsin’s agriculture industry. The Governor’s support for these investments do just that, and I am excited to see our agency continue helping Wisconsin’s farmers and agribusinesses plant seeds to grow a brighter future for our state.

For more information on the commercial nitrogen optimization program, cover crop premium insurance rebate program, and WIAE, visit DATCP’s website and sign-up for email updates.

Romanski is secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection