Farmer-Led Conservation Bill Passes

Fifteen agricultural organizations came together to praise Senate leadership and the authors of legislation that prioritizes farmer-led conservation efforts to reduce nitrogen on farms.

The groups: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin Pork Association, Wisconsin Soybean Association, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Wisconsin Association of Professional Agricultural Consultants, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Agri-Business Association, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Cooperative Network, Dairy Business Association, Midwest Food Products Association, Midwest-SouthEastern Equipment Dealers Association and Wisconsin Farm Credit Services (e.g. Compeer Financial, GreenStone Farm Credit Services and AgCountry Farm Credit Services).

A letter from the agricultural groups listed above was sent to the Senate expressing strong support for this legislation and asking for its passage. Highlights of the bill include:

• The commercial nitrogen optimization pilot program that will incentivize farmers to engage in new practices to reduce nitrogen on farms and share what they learn as part of those projects with other farmers across Wisconsin.

• The cover crop insurance premium rebates that will provide additional support for a practice that has proven to improve agricultural water quality.

• The creation of an additional, limited-term hydrogeologist position at Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey to continue to develop reliable soil depth-to-bedrock maps in Wisconsin so that cropping practices can be adjusted to meet the geology of particular regions.

The groups have issued the following joint statement applauding the Senate’s passage of AB 727:

“We are pleased to see the Senate’s passage of AB 727, which supports the important farmer-led conservation efforts across the state and enables farmers to continue finding ways to reduce nitrogen on farms… Wisconsin farmers support additional opportunities to address clean water solutions. Tools like those provided in this legislation will only further empower their efforts. The new programs and position created in this bill support our incredibly important farmer-led conservation efforts, as well as provide a tool to address farmers’ needs for soil depth-to-bedrock mapping.”

Also in the letter, the groups encourage Gov. Tony Evers to sign the legislation into law “as soon as possible.”