MADISON, Wis. — The Dairy Business Association (DBA), Wisconsin’s leading dairy advocacy group, congratulated state lawmakers and the governor today for creating a program aimed at increasing exports of dairy, meat and other agricultural products by 25 percent within five years.
Gov. Tony Evers signed legislation today that commits $5 million for a new agricultural exports program at the Center for International Agribusiness Marketing, housed in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Half the expenditure will be committed to dairy. DATCP will work on the initiative with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
The bill, which was authored by Sen. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, and Rep. Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc, received broad bipartisan support. Evers, a Democrat, proposed a similar export program last session and in his 2021-23 budget.“The strength of Wisconsin’s dairy economy rests in large part on the opportunities we have to sell more of our high-quality products around the globe,” DBA President Amy Penterman, a dairy farmer in Thorp, said. “This investment will help us not only remain competitive in the global marketplace but be a leader.”
“We congratulate the Legislature, governor and agency leaders for this accomplishment. It’s so encouraging to see the widespread energy and commitment. There were a lot of moving parts that needed to be aligned,” Penterman said.
“DBA and our members pushed hard for the program, and we are confident this will be a win for farmers, processors and our rural communities.”
DATCP and WEDC will submit a specific plan for the program by Dec. 31. At least 15 percent of the funds must be used for grants.
Wisconsin exported $3.37 billion worth of agricultural and food products to 145 countries in 2020, according to DATCP. A third of the total went to Canada.
BY THE NUMBERS
$3.37 billion: Value of Wisconsin’s exported agricultural and food products in 2020
145: Countries that imported those products
$263 million: Value of those exports in the category of dairy, eggs and honey
$45.6 billion: Value of dairy’s economic activity in Wisconsin annually, nearly half of all ag revenue
7%: Dairy’s share of Wisconsin’s overall economy
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The Dairy Business Association is Wisconsin’s leading dairy advocacy group, championing smart and sensible regulations affecting the dairy community. The nonprofit organization is comprised of farmers, milk processors, vendors and other business partners who work collaboratively to ensure that dairy farms of all sizes have the support they need to keep America’s Dairyland strong. More information: www.dairyforward.com