Farm & Rural Lobby Day This Week

Wisconsin Farmers Union’s annual Farm & Rural Lobby Day is Wednesday. WFU members will advocate for policy priorities set by the grassroots membership at the farm organization’s annual convention.

WFU Policy Coordinator Michelle Ramirez-White tells Mid-West Farm Report about the specific priorities WFU is bringing to Madison:

Policy Priorities

These are a sample of the items that Wisconsin Farmers Union will share with lawmakers during Farm & Rural Lobby Day on Wednesday:

Clean Water

● AB 655/ SB 619: Transition to Grass Pilot Program
Creates a “Transition to Grass Pilot Program” in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. This will give support and grants to farmers who are implementing livestock grass-based managed grazing systems. It will also benefit farmers and agribusinesses in the grass-fed livestock business.

Rural Development

● SB 710/AB 750: Payment Processing for Farmers
Provides a $735,000 investment in EBT/credit/debit processing equipment, services, and support for farmers and farmers markets statewide. In turn, this helps increase access to healthy, Wisconsin-grown food, increase sales for our farmers, and broaden the options available for those utilizing EBT benefits.


● SB 886: Milk Labeling
Under this bill, no person may label a food product as, or sell or offer for sale a food product that is labeled as, any type of milk unless the food product is cow’s milk or hooved or camelid mammal’s milk or a type of milk that meets certain specifications under federal law.

● SB 431/AB 440: Permit for the Overweight Transportation of Certain Fluid Milk Products
Issues permits to allow the transportation of fluid milk products, including raw milk and milk byproducts, that exceed generally applicable highway weight limitations on Class “A” highways. The bill prohibits DOT from imposing different conditions for different fluid milk products when issuing permits under the bill.

● SB 781: Unpasteurized Dairy
Provides farmers with the ability to sell unpasteurized dairy products through additional channels, accompanied by more robust guidelines and testing requirements compared to any previous proposal authorizing the sale of unpasteurized dairy products in Wisconsin.


● Support SB 717/ AB 746: BadgerCare Public Option
Creates a Basic Health Plan available in the state’s insurance marketplace as established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), covering individuals earning between 133-200% of the FPL. Establishes a state insurance exchange to give the state the ability to offer special enrollment periods, among other options while still accessing federal premium subsidies.

Nutrition & Education

● SB720/AB754: School Aid
Providing state aid to reimburse public and private schools that provide free meals to all pupils for the costs of those meals and making an appropriation.

● SB712/AB755- Farm to Fork Grants
Allocates $200,000 each year for farm-to-school grants to support the creation and expansion of farm-to-school programs, including:

  • promoting production, processing, marketing, and distribution of food produced in Wisconsin for sale to Wisconsin schools
  • construction or improvement of facilities for the use of food produced in Wisconsin at Wisconsin schools
  • training for food service personnel, farmers, and distributors
  • nutritional and agricultural education in the classroom

Nonpartisan Redistricting

WFU encourages the legislature to put partisan politics aside for the court-ordered 2024 redistricting and work together for truly fair, nonpartisan, and constitutional maps. In the future, WFU insists upon the creation of an objective, nonpartisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional redistricting plans.

Lobby Day Details

Farm & Rural Lobby Day will begin at 10 a.m. at Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Ave., near Capitol Square. Speakers will provide background information on pending legislation that is of interest to farmers and rural residents to help participants prepare for their meetings with legislators.

Following lunch, the group will head to the Capitol to meet with their senators and representatives, with the day’s activities wrapping up around 4 p.m.

There is no cost to participate, and all are welcome to attend. Those interested in attending should pre-register as soon as possible so legislative visits can be planned accordingly: