Export Program Clears Final Hurdle

The Dairy Business Association (DBA), Wisconsin’s leading dairy advocacy group, praised the state Senate’s passage of a bill aimed at increasing the state’s exports of dairy, meat and other agricultural products by 25 percent within five years. The Assembly passed the bill in October.

Assembly Bill 314, which passed unanimously today, creates a program at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and invests $5 million toward the goal, with half the expenditure committed to dairy. DATCP would work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

“This new collaborative approach to agricultural exports is forward-thinking and creates opportunities,” DBA President Amy Penterman said. “It is an investment not only in our dairy farmers and processors but our rural communities as well.”

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.

“It’s great to see the widespread support for this ambitious program,” Penterman said. “We are encouraged legislators recognize its importance.”

The bill is authored by Sen. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, and Rep. Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc.

With action today in the Senate, the bill now heads to Governor Evers’ desk for his signature. Governor Evers proposed a similar exports program in the budget and, in previous legislative sessions. He is expected to sign the bill.

“With unanimous support in the Senate today, we look forward to Governor Evers signing the bill right away so DATCP can get this program up and running,” Penterman said.


$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

Sources: DATCPUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison