Gov. Doyle: Governor Signs Animal Premises ID Bill to Track, Contain Animal Disease Outbreaks

Jessica Erickson, Governor’s Office, 608-261-2156

Doyle Also Signs Five Other Bills, Including a Measure to
Preserve Farmland and Relieve the Tax Burden on Farmers

VERONA – At a bill signing ceremony at AgSource Cooperative
Services in Verona today, Governor Jim Doyle signed into law six bills,
including legislation that creates the nation’s first livestock premises
identification system. Known as the “Animal Premises Registration Bill,”
Assembly Bill 812 establishes an identification system essential for animal
health officials to track and contain animal disease outbreaks.

“Wisconsin is already a national leader in developing a
premises registration system,” Governor Doyle said. “Long before mad cow
disease was first discovered in Washington State, we began taking steps to
strengthen our food and agriculture supplies. Today, I am pleased to sign
legislation that will help us build on our efforts to ensure that Wisconsin
has the safest food supply in the world.”

Specifically, AB 812 requires all locations where livestock
are housed or co-mingled in the state to register their premises with the
Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (DATCP). The
Department will then issue a unique premises number to each location, and
maintain that number and required information in a database.

“Premises registration does not promise the elimination of
livestock diseases. But should there be a disease outbreak, it lays the
foundation for rapid response,” Governor Doyle said. “Through early
surveillance, identification, and confinement of problem areas, we are able
to better manage risk – both financial risk to all producers and, even more
important, health risk to the food supply.”

About five years ago – long before terms like “terrorism”
and “BSE” had become household words – a small group of livestock industry
leaders began the development of a voluntary animal identification program.
Thanks to assistance from a state agricultural development grant – and
federal money received through the leadership of Senator Kohl and
Congressman Obey, a premises registration program was made operative last
October. Today, the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium boasts 50
organizations and individuals as members.

“The value of the work being done in Wisconsin is very
apparent,” Governor Doyle said. “Our Consortium has become the model for
the nation, and so far this year, 30 states have contacted us to learn about
the structure of our program.”

Governor Doyle thanked the bill’s lead authors –
Representatives Barbara Gronemus and Al Ott and Senators Dale Schultz and
Julie Lassa. He also thanked Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen and his
staff for their work on the bill, and the Wisconsin Livestock Identification
Consortium for its foresight in working on the idea and positioning
Wisconsin as a national leader.

The Governor also signed legislation today that will
preserve Wisconsin farmland and help reduce property taxes for farmers.
Assembly Bill 650 targets important tax relief to farmers by allowing
additional woodland on farms to be assessed at 50 percent of its value.

“This is an important step to keep this land in its most
appropriate use,” Governor Doyle said. “It also strengthens our overall
farmland use value law and the effort to make Wisconsin farms competitive
with neighboring states.”

The Governor thanked the bill’s lead authors –
Representatives Steve Kestell and Barbara Gronemus and Senator Sheila

AB 812 and AB 650 are just one of many initiatives within
the Governor’s “Grow Wisconsin” plan to strengthen Wisconsin agriculture.
Other successful measures include: providing dairy farmers with a tax credit
to help them modernize; laying the foundation to lower healthcare costs for
farm families; strengthening the agricultural producer security program; and
launching an online marketplace to promote Wisconsin products worldwide.

Governor Doyle also signed the following bills:

* Assembly Bill 437, authored by Representatives Gabe Loeffelholz and
Barbara Gronemus and Senators Neal Kedzie and Roger Breske, gives towns a
new economic development tool by providing them with the authority to use
tax incremental financing for certain agricultural, forestry, manufacturing,
and tourism projects.
* Assembly 485, authored by Representatives Dan Meyer and Bob Turner
and Senator Bob Welch, pays a claim of $17,568.12 to Mullins Cheese, Inc.
for whey cream that was inadvertently destroyed by the Department of
Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection.
* Assembly Bill 608, authored by Representatives Sheryl Albers and
Terese Berceau and Senator Cathy Stepp, encourages greater compliance with
Wisconsin’s Smart Growth law by clarifying and simplifying the law.
* Assembly Bill 695, authored by Representatives DuWayne Johnsrud and
Barbara Gronemus and Senator Dale Schultz, reduces the administrative
requirements for the transport of livestock, promoting agribusiness in