Whey Finance

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association: Applauds Major Advances in Wisconsin Agricultural Export Initiative

MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) today applauded the unanimous action taken this week by three Wisconsin legislative committees, including the powerful Joint Finance Committee, to fully fund the Wisconsin Export Initiative agriculture (WIAE). Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the WIAE is designed to boost exports of dairy, meat and other agricultural products by 25%. Half of the total funds allocated will be used specifically to increase export sales of milk, cheese, yogurt, whey and other dairy products.

“The demand for Wisconsin’s high quality dairy products continues to grow worldwide. Our state’s dairy processors are ready to meet that demand, and with this week’s action, they are poised to reach new consumers and further grow Wisconsin’s world-class dairy industry,” said WCMA executive director John Umhoefer. “We thank lawmakers for their decisive and strong support for this program.”

The Joint Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), released initial funding for the WIAE today. Separately, Assembly Bill 882 (AB 882), drafted by Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and passed this week by the Assembly Agriculture Committee, applies federal loan funds unused to DATCP to provide maximum funding for the first two years of the WIAE. Senate Bill 827 (SB 827), the companion bill to AB 882 authored by Senator Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan), also received unanimous approval from the Senate Agriculture and tourism this week. Governor Tony Evers first proposed agricultural export investments in the 2019-21 biennial budget and has since championed the cause.

AB 882 and SB 827 now go to the entire Assembly and Senate for consideration.