Citing the “crushing economic destruction” that the COVID-pandemic has inflicted on the industry, a coalition of Wisconsin agriculture groups have asked the administration of Governor Tony Evers to direct $50 million federal dollars to direct farmer payments.

Those industry groups are Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin Soybean Association, Wisconsin Pork Association, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association and Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Joe Bragger said they’ve provided numbers from each agriculture sector, to show the need.

“What we’ve pledged to do is to work with the governor, work with our Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection, and really provide some numbers to spell out how bad it is for the farmers out here, and the economic losses that we’ve experienced,” Bragger told Brownfield Ag News on Wednesday.

The Journal Sentinel reported that the governor’s office could not immediately be reached for comment on the request.

The federal coronavirus relief package known as the CARES Act designated $1.9 billion to help Wisconsin’s economy.

Bragger said it’s critical “to show the losses that agriculture is experiencing. And we don’t want agriculture left, and our farmers left out of this.”

He added that those direct payments are needed now. This is the most expensive time of year for farmers, as they get into planting, so we’ve got to make sure that they’re able to do that.”

That urgency echoes comments made by U.S. Representative Ron Kind, who has introduced legislation to address the impact of the pandemic on small and medium sized farms in Wisconsin.  “Once these family farmers go, we’re not getting then back,” the La Crosse Democrat said.

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