Assembly Bill 314, which passed unanimously, creates a program at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and invests $5m toward the goal, with half the expenditure committed to dairy. DATCP would work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
The Dairy Business Association (DBA), a Wisconsin dairy advocacy group, welcomed the move.
“This new collaborative approach to agricultural exports is forward-thinking and creates opportunities,” DBA president Amy Penterman said.
“It is an investment not only in our dairy farmers and processors but our rural communities as well.”
Wisconsin exported $3.37bn worth of agricultural and food products to 145 countries in 2020, according to DATCP. A third of the total went to Canada.
“It’s great to see the widespread support for this ambitious program. We are encouraged legislators recognize its importance,” Penterman said.
The bill is authored by Sen. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, and Rep. Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc.
The bill now heads to Governor Evers’ desk for his signature. Governor Evers proposed a similar exports program in the budget and, in previous legislative sessions. He is expected to sign the bill.
“With unanimous support in the Senate today, we look forward to Governor Evers signing the bill right away so DATCP can get this program up and running,” Penterman said.