The Time is Now to Act on ARIP Funding

The following has been written by Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Brad Olson.

For many years we have seen tension between local governments and farmers caused by the need to haul heavy loads over roads and bridges that weren’t up to the task. These crumbling pieces of infrastructure are often due to limited funding, not because local officials didn’t want to do so.

As the president of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and also a member of my local board of supervisors, I am encouraging farmers and local officials to apply for a new state program aimed to fix and enhance rural Wisconsin roads that farmers rely on to get their goods to market.

The Agricultural Road Improvement Program (ARIP) is a milestone in our collective efforts to modernize Wisconsin’s agricultural infrastructure. By participating in ARIP, local governments can receive funding to fix and upgrade deteriorated roadways that challenge our agricultural economy. This $150 million competitive grant program will cover up to 90% of the costs for local road projects.

With $50 million available in the first round of grant applications due April 5, the time to act is now.

Collaboration between local officials and farmers is essential to ensure the success of ARIP. Program priority will be given to projects providing the greatest benefit to farmers. Local officials also need information directly from farmers to submit a successful application.

To assist in providing local officials with this information we’ve created a resource. It is available on our website and through other agricultural organizations.

By providing economic impact information and sharing how the project would affect your business, you can help local governments improve rural roads. This benefits not only your fellow farmers but everyone who utilizes that road. This program provides a unique opportunity, but it requires cooperation and time is of the essence.

As a farmer and local official, I strongly encourage rural residents to look at their road inventory and consider applying.