Bipartisan Proposals- Newer & Retiring Wisconsin Farmers Will Benefit From These Fresh Proposals
Three proposals drafted by the Democrats with bipartisan support will help new and younger farmers in the devastated farming industry. Due to drastic weather events and the ever changing dietary needs of the population, the farming industry is struggling to stay afloat.
Experts say the bill has a good chance of clearing the Senate and get approved. The reason being all sides of the aisle worked on the proposals. It has equal support among both parties. The number of Wisconsin farms lost between 2012 to 2017, was 7% higher than the national average. That amount of farm acreage in Wisconsin also diminished about 3% during that same time period.
Wisconsin, ‘known for decades as the ‘Diary Capital of the country’ lost 700 dairy farms in 2018. The figures for this year’s closings have not yet been calculated. The new bills that are going to the senate now for signatures are targeted towards new farmers. Farmers that are just starting out, and may need a little cushion to stay a float.
Statistics Indicate That New & Retiring Farmers Are The Ones Struggling The Most
One of the proposals was authored by Democratic Congressman Mark Spreitzer, and centers around forgiveness of student loans. The proposals point out that the amount of forgiveness is $30.000. There are some caveats on the bill though. One of those caveats are that a student must make a commitment to be in the Wisconsin farming industry for five years.
The grants offered through these bills, with be a financial needs based system. Farms that have been determined to have a high chance of success will be placed on the top of the list. The amount the bills would have to disperse during year one is $120,000 the second year the amount will increase to $600,000. The average age of Wisconsin farmers is 56, so the money is also earmarked for younger farmers.
Danny Werachowski, graduated from college in 2014. Werachowski said he wasn’t necessary planning a career as a farmer. He just fell into it, and said ”One day I just felt a calling to it”. He supports the bills, and said right now, ‘young insightful farmers are what’s needed in the industry right now’.
The Ideas Behind The Bipartisan Bills Has A Broad Range Of Support
The ideas behind the bills has wide support among Democrats and Republicans, both parties know how important helping farmers right now is. Several farm groups and unions are also supporting the bills.
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau and the Farmer Union, are also supporting the bill and called it ‘courageous’. The bill also has strong support from, Dairy Business Associations, the Cooperative Network and the Young Farmers Coalition. A second bill authored by Democratic Rep Don Vruwink targets smaller farms, no larger than 50 acres. The money can be used for startup money for a new farm, or to improve existing products. Up to $500,00 will be available in the next two years.