Three new farm bills aimed at helping struggling Wisconsin farmers were announced at the Capitol on Tuesday.
One of the bills would create a permanent position at the UW-Extension to help farmers with estate planning. Baraboo assemblyman Dave Considine says that’s critical in keeping family farms running.
“Just a few years ago, my family had what we called our ‘farm talk’, or our succession planning meeting. I also hear about succession planning in almost every farm I tour.”
Another bill will offer funds to get entirely new farmers out into Wisconsin’s fields. Beloit Assemblyman Mark Spreitzer says the average age of a Wisconsin farmer is past 50, and is only getting older.
“To continue Wisconsin’s strong tradition of farmers that feed our state and beyond, we must recruit and retain the next generation of beginning farmers.”
The last of the three bills would offer matching grants to small farms looking to diversify their crops. Milton Assemblyman Don Vruwink says the wide variety of farm operations in his district shows that Wisconsin ag isn’t just beans, corn and cows.
“People who grow mushrooms, I have a cherry orchard, a blueberry farm, a raspberry farm, a lot of different diversity. And that’s what this bill is designed to do, is to help these people continue to expand or continue these operations.”
All three bills already have support from both Republicans and Democrats.