[Antigo, Wis.] – Today, Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), along with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Dairy Business Association (DBA) and Cooperative Network, praised the Assembly passage of AB 727, which further fuels farmer-led conservation efforts across the state.
Republican leadership and the bill authors, Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay), were diligent in guiding the legislation through the Assembly, which passed unanimously on a 96-0 vote. Numerous Wisconsin farm groups including WPVGA, Farm Bureau, DBA and Cooperative Network played an active role in working to pass the bill in the Assembly and look forward to working with the Senate on final passage in the coming days.
“Wisconsin farmers want to be leaders in the development of improved water quality practices on farms,” said Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director of Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. “The new programs created in this bill support those incredibly powerful and successful farmer-led conservation efforts that we have seen develop across Wisconsin.”
“The best way to promote sustainability is to support on-farm research, producer-led watershed groups, and cost sharing programs such as promoted by this bill,” said Jennifer Wickman, Government Affairs Director for Cooperative Network. “Farmers are truly the experts on the topic of sustainability, they are the best stewards, and the most capable of implementing the practices that affect our land and water resources.”
“Wisconsin farmers want additional opportunities to address clean water solutions. This bill provides tools to allow farmers to do just that,” said Kevin Krentz, President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “We appreciate the leadership in the Assembly for making this a priority initiative. We look forward to this bill moving through the Senate next.”
“Our farmers are leaders in finding solutions to Wisconsin’s water quality challenges. They are building incredible momentum in expanding nontraditional farm level conservation practices. Tools like those provided in this legislation will only further empower their efforts,” said Dairy Business Association President Amy Penterman.
Assembly Bill 727 builds on other farmer-led conservation efforts and enables farmers to continue finding ways to reduce nitrogen on farms. Highlights of the bill include:
- The commercial nitrogen optimization pilot program that will incentivize farmers to engage in new practices to reduce nitrogen on farms and share what they learn as part of those projects with other farmers across Wisconsin.
- The cover crop insurance premium rebates that will provide additional support for a practice that has proven to improve agricultural water quality.
- The creation of an additional, limited term hydrogeologist position at Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey to continue to develop reliable soil depth to bedrock maps in Wisconsin, so that cropping practices can be adjusted to meet the geology of particular regions.
Visit FarmersForCleanWater.com to learn more about WPVGA’s efforts to advance farmer-led initiatives that continue to enhance and encourage best practices.