The Dairy Business Association is congratulating state lawmakers and the governor for creating a program aimed at increasing exports of dairy, meat and other ag products by 25 percent within five years.
Gov. Tony Evers signed legislation that commits $5 million for a new agricultural exports program at the Center for International Agribusiness Marketing, housed in DATCP. Half the expenditure will be committed to dairy. DATCP will work on the initiative with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
“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,” says DBA President and Thorp dairy farmer Amy Penterman. “This investment will help us not only remain competitive in the global marketplace but be a leader.”
The bill, 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.
“We congratulate the Legislature, governor and agency leaders for this accomplishment. It’s so encouraging to see the widespread energy and commitment,” Penterman says. “There were a lot of moving parts that needed to be aligned. 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