MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) applauded the unanimous action taken this week by three Wisconsin legislative committees, including the powerful Joint Finance Committee, to fully fund the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports (WIAE). Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the WIAE is designed to boost the export of dairy, meat, and other agricultural products by 25 percent. Half the total funds appropriated will be used specifically to increase the export sales of milk, cheese, yogurt, whey, and other dairy products.
“Demand for Wisconsin’s high-quality dairy products continues to increase around the world. Our state’s dairy processors are ready to meet that demand, and with this week’s action, they’re one step closer to reaching new consumers and further growing Wisconsin’s world-class dairy industry,” said WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer. “We thank lawmakers for their decisive, strong support of this program.”
The Joint Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), today released initial funding for the WIAE. Separately, Assembly Bill 882 (AB 882), authored by Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and passed this week by the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, applies unused federal loan funds at DATCP to provide maximum funding for the first two years of the WIAE. Senate Bill 827 (SB 827), the companion bill to AB 882 authored by Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan), also received unanimous approval by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Tourism this week. Governor Tony Evers first proposed investments in agricultural exports in the 2019-21 biennial budget and has since championed the cause.
AB 882 and SB 827 now move to the full Assembly and Senate for consideration.