Sen. Smith’s Statement on The Wisconsin Farm Support Program and CARES Act Initiatives

MADISON – Today, Governor Tony Evers announced the Wisconsin Farm Support Program, a $50 million investment to provide direct financial support to Wisconsin farmers impacted by this global pandemic.  

The Wisconsin Farm Support Program will be administered through the Wisconsin Department or Revenue (DOR) in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Farmers are asked to apply through the DOR; the farm support payments are expected to be delivered as early as June.

The Wisconsin Farm Support Program is another COVID-19 relief effort made possible by the $1.17 billion from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Beginning Monday, May 18th, Governor Evers has announced the following distribution of funding from the federal relief package:

  • $75 million, through the “We’re All In” initiative to help Wisconsin’s small businesses and support best practices to keep consumers, employees and communities safe.
  • $1 billion to improve testing, contact tracing, acquisition of supplies, emergency operations and resources for local communities in order to isolate cases and slow transmission of COVID-19.
  • $25 million, through the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program (W.R.A.P.), to provide financial assistance to individual households to help pay for costs associated with rent payments.
  • $15 million allocated to the Food Security Initiative to combat food insecurity by supporting food banks, food pantries and other non-profit organizations.

Senator Jeff Smith (D – Brunswick) released the following statement in response to Governor Evers’ announcement of the Wisconsin Farm Support Program:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disastrous disruptions in all of our lives, including the markets our farmers rely on to make an honest living. The Wisconsin Farm Support Program is a positive step forward to support our farmers during this unprecedented time. Looking ahead, Governor Evers' plan for $50 million for farmers and an additional $15 million to combat food insecurity is a down payment for the recovery of Wisconsin’s agricultural industry. While cutting checks directly to farmers is great news, we must continue working to solve the deeper issues like market accessibility and mental health challenges that plague our hardworking farmers.

“Throughout our state’s history, Wisconsin farmers have exhibited their resiliency in times of uncertainty. This public health crisis is no different. I appreciate Governor Evers’ support for our agricultural community and look forward to continued collaboration to find additional smart approaches to support our farmers.”