Watershed groups now eligible for additional grant funding

MADISON, Wis. — The Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin’s leading dairy advocacy group, applauded the signing of the producer-led watershed grant expansion legislation by Gov. Tony Evers today. This legislation makes these groups eligible to apply for lake and river protection grants at the Department of Natural Resources.

Authored by Sen. Rob Cowles, R – Green Bay, and Rep. Joel Kitchens, R – Sturgeon Bay, the legislation also expands eligibility for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection program. New flexibility allows farmers in adjacent watersheds to join neighboring producer-led watershed groups; currently, only farmers located within a watershed are eligible to join those groups.

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“Farmers are leading conservation practices across the state through these local farmer-led watershed groups,” said Lee Kinnard, DBA’s president and dairy farmer in Casco. “This flexibility from the state will not only continue this great work but expand the number of farmers eligible to participate.”

The expansion legislation was a priority budget issue for the Association and passed the Senate and Assembly with bipartisan support during the floor session held by the Assembly on April 18 and the Senate on April 19.

Other policy priorities taken up by the legislature in mid-April include a farm service license endorsement for a seasonal period, authored by Sen. Cory Tomcyzk, R – Mosinee, and Rep. Jon Plummer, R – Lodi, passed by the Senate. DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski’s re-appointment was also confirmed. The Assembly passed legislation authored by Rep. Ellen Schutt, R – Clinton, and Sen. Joan Ballweg, R – Markesan, that requires county land conservation committees to have at least one member with ties to production agriculture.

“Our farmers appreciate the state’s leaders placing their trust in us to lead in conservation and sustainability,” Kinnard said. “We look forward to building off this positive momentum to keep DBA’s policy and budget priorities front of mind and moving through the legislative process.”

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