U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) held her first hearing Thursday as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.
The hearing was titled “Diversifying On-Farm Income: Opportunities to Strengthen Rural America” and highlighted the challenges and opportunities faced by agriculture producers, and how diversifying their operations can lead to more on-farm income. It also focused on how producers can access newer and more fair markets. This includes assisting beginning farmers, ranchers and agriculture workers, as well as looking at solutions for how producers can be more profitable while also addressing climate change.
“In Wisconsin and across the country, a strong agricultural economy is vital to a strong rural economy. Our hard-working farmers and ranchers tie our rural communities together, and move our economy forward by creating jobs for others and spending money in their communities to support the many local businesses that serve farms and our farming families,” said Chair Baldwin during the hearing. “Our farmers, our ranches are a vital part of the fabric of rural life and our rural economy. Their value cannot be measured in profit margins alone. I know there is no single solution, but I look forward to this conversation today and hearing more about how this Subcommittee can work together to help farmers diversify and increase their on-farm income, better manage their risk, and strengthen our rural economy.”
Witnesses at the hearing included:
- Mr. Davon Goodwin, Manager, Sandhills AGInnovation Center
- Dr. John A. Lucey, Director, Center for Dairy Research at UW-Madison
- Ms. Rebekah Sweeney, Communications, Education and Policy Director, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
- Mr. Jason Weller, President, Truterra by Land O’Lakes, Inc.
- Mr. Brian Carroll, Director, Grand Farm Research and Education Initiative
Senator Baldwin’s opening remarks are available to view here. The full video of the hearing is available to view here.