Rep. Tranel Promotes Wisconsin Agriculture

One of the best parts of being your State Representative is getting the opportunity to talk with young people at our wonderful educational institutions throughout the 49th Assembly District.  Last week, I visited with a group of UW-Platteville students taking an Agriculture Policy Seminar class.  We had a great discussion about farming and its impact on our state.  
It is inspiring to see so many young men and women working to become the next generation of agricultural leaders.   I shared with these future farmers some of the positive steps the State Legislature and Governor Walker took during this legislative session to promote a strong, growing, and prosperous agricultural economy in our state.
Wisconsin is the proud home to about 78,000 farms, over 99% of which are family-owned.  We have a strong tradition of diverse agriculture, ranging from conventional to organic, and encompassing both large and small operations.  Wisconsin farmers produce high quality products demanded domestically and by people around the world.  In fact, 2011 agricultural exports grew 18% to a record high of $2.85 billion.  Wisconsin’s agricultural sector generates an estimated $59 billion in economic activity and is an important economic engine in Southwest Wisconsin.
As Vice Chairman of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, I worked with the governor and legislative colleagues on positive bi-partisan bills to strengthen, protect, and create jobs in agriculture.  Recognizing that the Ag industry is a major job creator we worked to pass legislation like the Dairy and Livestock Investment Tax Credit extension (Act 15), Tax Credits for Dairy Cooperative Members (Act  237) and the Agriculture Production Loan Guarantee Program (Act 80) in an effort to strengthen and grow Wisconsin’s agricultural economy . 
Moving forward we must continue to be supportive of our family farmers, who play such an important role in growing our state’s economic prosperity.  Governor Walker recently introduced the Dairy 30x20 initiative that will improve the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy industry. The goal is to grow Wisconsin’s annual milk production to 30 billion pounds by 2020 to meet the increasing demand of the marketplace.  The State Budget (Act 32) provides an annual appropriation of $200,000 to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to help implement this program.  
This proposal has my support along with leading agricultural industry groups like the Dairy Business Association, Cooperative Network, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, UW-Extension and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.  Currently, Wisconsin dairy farmer’s only produce about 90% of the milk volume the state’s dairy processors need.  In order to meet the growing demand we must work to improve dairy production. 
I will continue to be a strong advocate for agriculture and have been spending time traveling Southwest Wisconsin meeting with constituents working in the industry.   My fellow farmers spend time thinking about new ways to expand their farming businesses.  Your thoughts, opinions and ideas for the future are important to me, so please feel free to contact me at 608-266-1170 or to discuss your ideas.    We need to continue to work together if we are going to make sure that our state’s agricultural future is bright and prosperous.