Farming and nonpartisan redistricting initiatives took center stage at Democrat Governor Tony Ever’s second annual State of the State address on Wednesday night, a speech that also touched on climate change, criminal justice reform, education, and the launch of a task force tackling student debt.
After about 800 dairy farms closed their doors in Wisconsin in 2019, and one-third of the state’s farms closed between 2011 and 2018, Evers announced a three-pronged approach to address the state’s most notable industry and help struggling small and mid-sized family farms.
Calling a special session of the legislature next week to take up farming legislation, Evers noted, “We’ve heard people who’ve said there’s no place for small farms anymore—they ought to go big or bust.”
“Well, they’re wrong. They don’t know Wisconsin,” Evers said, to cheers from lawmakers.
The plan includes legislation to create the Wisconsin Initiative for Dairy Exports to increase the total exports of dairy products to the United States to 20% of the milk supply by 2024. Evers also announced expansion of the Farm Center, added staffing to UW-Extension, and creating the Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity that would include industry experts from around the state to plan long-term solutions for the state’s Dairyland.