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Legislative Priorities
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Legislative Priorities

Water quality improvements
We know Wisconsin has water quality challenges. Agriculture plays a role in this multi-faceted issue and farmers want to be part of the solution. We work with and help to fund farmer-led conservation initiatives. We have also been actively engaged in discussions about clean water and have been a major supporter of several bills that would try to help fund more research and innovation in this area. We’re also a proponent of updating the farmland preservation program to get more farmers to participate in a program that pays farmers to help implement conservation practices.

Increasing dairy processing
DBA is partnering with processors to do whatever we can to increase dairy sales and processing capacity. This will ultimately help farmers get higher prices for their milk. We helped pass a bill to give rural cheesemakers better access to credit. We’ve also worked to get specific projects off the ground. We are supportive of plans to increase the amount of money available through the state’s dairy processor grants. These grants will help processing plants to grow, innovate and improve. We also support increasing funds to help promote Wisconsin dairy exports.

Smart and fair farm regulations
We have worked for years to make sensible updates to our livestock siting law. We will continue to be a voice of reason for worthwhile improvements to that law. We also want to see changes to the non-point program to ensure that farms of all sizes need to follow the same fundamental rules to protect our shared water resources. Finally, we want to see a better functioning CAFO program. The current program seems to disappoint all the stakeholders involved. We should have a program that is designed for success and is funded accordingly.

Mislabeling of our products

Our farmers pay into checkoff programs that promote the consumption of milk, cheese and other dairy products. It is not fair that plant-based products can use the same terms to ride on our marketing coattails. Also, customers are being misled by this false labeling. The use of dairy terms suggests their products have the same nutritional content, but they do not. Both arguments also apply to meat. We’ve seen a rise in plant-based products imitate meat, and lab-cultured meat products are coming soon. We need to act now to prevent the same problems dairy already faces.

Better roads for Wisconsin

We need a long-term fix to our state’s transportation funding needs. We cannot continue to borrow to pay for our roads at existing rates. We understand that a true solution will include some new revenue for roads. We also know that we need good roads in urban areas to help get our products to market. Ultimately, we want a funding solution that will take care of funding needs for years to come and recognizes the importance of rural roads to our state’s economy.

Driver’s card for non-citizens
DBA has long supported allowing immigrant workers to be allowed to drive legally provided they are properly trained and insured. From our perspective, this a public safety and economic development issue. Most of the state lacks any useful type of mass transit, so the only option for people trying to get to work is to drive. Wisconsin faces an acute shortage of workers. We cannot afford to erect any additional barriers to work for people in our state, regardless of their immigration status.

Contact Director of Government Affairs John Holevoet at jholevoet@dairyforward.com or (608) 358-3941.

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