Wisconsin farms on road to success with bipartisan infrastructure deal

Nancy Kavazanjian

It’s the classic story: City girl meets country boy, they fall in love, and spend the rest of their lives running a farm with a focus on environmentalism and sustainability. Well, for me and my husband, a fourth-generation farmer, that’s our reality. 

Over the last 40 years, we’ve operated a crop farm out of Beaver Dam, Wis. As we have adapted our business model to meet the growing demands of the 21st century, one thing has become abundantly clear: without access to roads, rails, and rivers, our family farm would die. 

As with most U.S. crop farms, much of our crop is exported around the world, and after years of neglect, Wisconsin’s infrastructure is crumbling and our livelihood is on the line. 

Across the state, there are roads and highways that are in poor condition. Each day these roads remain unfixed is a day that our business is at risk. Just one barge along the Mississippi River can carry as much material as 70 semi-trucks. If these supply chains are broken because of deficient infrastructure, we lose access to fertilizer, fuel, and other supplies that we need to yield a healthy crop. When our roads, railways, and rivers are congested or inoperative, we lose our direct lines of business.

But now we’re on the road to improving Wisconsin’s infrastructure with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make an investment in our businesses and our future.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal proposes $5.2 billion in federal aid dedicated to repairing Wisconsin’s highways and $225 million to fix or replace our bridges. For all farmers, this is a huge relief. 

The proposed infrastructure deal recently passed by the Senate also allocates $65 billion to provide universal broadband across the country. Improving our internet, especially in rural Wisconsin where connectivity is spotty, is an incredible benefit. We use precision farming, a form of crop management that uses new technology to increase crop yield and profitability. Increased internet access means that we can access new technologies like these that make our business more competitive.

It’s pretty simple: When the country’s economy is doing better, we all do better. Over the course of the next decade, the deal will create an estimated two million jobs per year, helping to support Wisconsin’s small businesses and local economies. This deal ensures that workers and business owners are treated fairly and have the opportunities to thrive over large corporations. 

Small business owners like us need this kind of investment to thrive, which is why it is so popular on Main Street. In a recent national survey from Small Business for America’s Future, 80% of small business owners support President Biden’s proposed infrastructure investments  Jobs Plan and 72% say they will help small businesses in particular.

This deal is a huge win for Wisconsin business owners and farmers and will make our country stronger, cleaner, more efficient, and more equitable. It’s time for the House of Representatives to pass President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Nancy Kavazanjian farms with her husband Charlie Hammer at Beaver Dam.

Nancy Kavazanjian owns Hammer & Kavazanjian Farms with her husband in Beaver Dam, Wis.