A couple of farm groups are joining the budget dispute in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Farmers Union and Family Farm Defenders have organized a tractorcade and rally at the Capitol on Saturday to protest Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to eliminate almost all collective bargaining for public employees. Family Farm Defenders vice president Joel Greeno says “Farmers need to stand behind workers and their freedom to collectively bargain.” The dairy farmer says today it’s public employee unions, tomorrow it could be cooperatives, “If you lower the bar for anyone, you ultimately lower it for everyone else.”
The groups are also protesting Walker’s budget proposal which cuts more than $800 million in school funding and threatens the state’s Badger Care health care program. Wisconsin Farmers Union president Darin Von Ruden says more than 11,000 state farm family members depend on Badger Care for health insurance. The Westby dairy farmer says “Governor Walker keeps saying he’s giving schools and municipalities the tools to cut costs and somehow be able to operate better than they operate now. But the only tool we see the governor providing is a hammer to smash things.”
Farmers who take their tractors to the event will gather at the Alliant Energy Center and drive their tractors to the capitol.
Bob Meyer, Brownfield