PLYMOUTH, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers celebrated National Agriculture Day on March 22 in his hometown of Plymouth, Wis. — renowned for being the Cheese Capital of the World — by signing Senate Bill 827, now Wisconsin Act 207, to help bolster Wisconsin’s dairy exports.
In December, Gov. Evers signed Assembly Bill 314, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 92, which required the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to work collaboratively with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to increase the value of Wisconsin’s milk and dairy, meat, crop, and other product exports by 25 percent by June 30, 2026. The bill was modeled after legislation originally proposed by Gov. Evers during his 2020 State of the State address, during which the governor announced a package of legislation and a special session of the Legislature as part of a three-pronged plan to support and invest in Wisconsin’s farmers and rural communities. Funds for the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports were released by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee last month.
Wisconsin Act 207, which the governor also signed Marched 22, allows the DATCP to supplement these efforts by investing $883,160 from an existing, unused appropriation to be used for the newly created agricultural exports program for the purpose of promoting dairy exports.
“We’re darn proud to be America’s Dairyland, and I’m glad to be celebrating National Agriculture Day right here in Plymouth — the Cheese Capital of the World — to sign bipartisan legislation to help continue supporting Wisconsin dairy,” said Gov. Evers. “Our dairy industry is not only core to our economy, but it’s core to who we are as a state. This bipartisan legislation builds on our work to expand and increase our dairy exports so folks around the globe can experience the high-quality dairy products we know and love produced right here in Wisconsin.”
Gov. Evers has long advocated for strategic investments in Wisconsin’s agricultural exports, starting in his 2019-21 biennial budget when he proposed a $200,000 investment to develop the Wisconsin Initiative for Dairy Exports. Unfortunately, that provision was rejected by the Legislature during the budget process. Following this and following the governor’s 2020 State of the State address and special session call, the Legislature failed to pass the governor’s special session proposal. Gov. Evers again proposed investing in Wisconsin’s agriculture exports in his 2021-23 biennial budget. Gov. Evers signed the 2021-23 budget last summer, marking the first time that state funding has been allocated to DATCP’s International Agribusiness Center to help promote Wisconsin agriculture exports.
Senate Bill 827, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 207:
- Allows DATCP to use funds intended for rural development loans for the purpose of expanding dairy exports.
The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) applauded Gov. Evers for signing Senate Bill 827 into law as Act 207.
“Our state’s dairy processors and farmers are excited to answer the global call for more of their high-quality, safe, and nutritious dairy products, and this program will offer the resources and support they need to reach consumers around the world,” added WCMA Executive Director John Umhoefer. “We’re deeply grateful to Governor Evers, Senator Ballweg, Representative Kurtz, and state leaders for their collaborative leadership in making these purposeful, worthwhile investments in Wisconsin’s agricultural industry.”
— Office of the Governor, State of Wisconsin
— Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association