WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today announced two major successes for Wisconsin farmers and agriculture workers in the government funding agreement for Fiscal Year 2020.
Baldwin worked to secure $20 million for her Dairy Business Innovation Initiative, as well as $10 million to provide our nation’s farmers and agricultural workers with more mental health resources. Both of these investments for Wisconsin farmers are included in the government funding agreement that will be voted on in Congress this week.
Senator Baldwin’s FARMERS FIRST Act, introduced with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), was included in the 2018 Farm Bill, which passed the Senate last year. This year, Senator Baldwin worked to make sure her reform is fully funded at $10 million for Fiscal Year 2020, an increase of $8 million from Fiscal Year 2019. Baldwin’s reform provides competitive grant funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to state departments of agriculture, state extension services, non-profits and tribes to establish helplines and websites, provide suicide prevention training for farm advocates, create support groups and reestablish the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN).
“I worked across party lines to include the FARMERS FIRST Act in the Farm Bill and now I’ve worked across the aisle to fully fund it because we need to help our farmers when they are dealing with stressful times. Our Wisconsin farmers are facing many difficult challenges and we all need to work together to provide them the support they need, including more funding for local mental health resources,” said Senator Baldwin.
Senator Baldwin also successfully secured full funding of $20 million for her Dairy Business Innovation Initiative, which helps dairy businesses looking to get their start, grow their business, modernize their dairy plants and reach new markets. Baldwin’s Dairy Business Innovation Act was included in the 2018 Farm Bill that passed Congress and was signed into law by President Trump.
“Wisconsin’s dairy businesses are a key driver of our state’s economy, but recently our dairy farmers have faced very challenging times with an oversupply of milk, low milk prices and tough impacts from tariffs,” said Senator Baldwin. “It’s critical that farmers, cheesemakers and dairy processors have tools to innovate and develop new Made in Wisconsin dairy products to build a brighter future for our dairy farms and drive our rural economy forward.”