Contact: Anne Lupardus, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162
Wisconsin Sees Increases in Exports, Milk Production, and High-End Products
Governor Jim Doyle today commemorated National Agriculture Day by highlighting Wisconsin’s great progress in agriculture and commending the state’s farmers and agri-businesses for their contribution to the state’s economy and quality of life. Wisconsin’s agriculture industry generates $51.5 billion for the state’s economy each year.
“Wisconsin has much to celebrate today thanks to the hard work, innovation and investments of our state’s farmers and agri-businesses,” Governor Doyle said. “Agriculture is an important part of our past and also a critical part of our future prosperity.”
Since taking office, Governor Doyle has made a historic commitment to growing Wisconsin agriculture. Over the last three years, Wisconsin has made the following strides:
Modernizing our Farms
According to the Department of Revenue, there was at least $120 million in new private investment made by Wisconsin dairy producers in 2004 with 6,464 dairies claiming the dairy investment tax credit in 2004 for $12 million in tax credit.
Increasing Milk Production
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Wisconsin dairies produced 3.5 percent more milk in 2005 than the year before, with 5 percent growth in each of the last three quarters. That trend has continued in the first two months of 2006.
Expanding Dairy Plants
The Dairy Business Innovation Center reports 68 new or expanded dairy plants opened or planned through 2007, with 17 new plant openings since 2004.
Developing High-End Dairy Products
The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association reports that specialty cheese is now 14 percent of the cheese produced in Wisconsin and the fastest growing segment.
Setting Standards and Processes for Economic Growth
After a 30 month public process seeking to balance the interests of farmers, rural communities, and conservationists, the livestock facility siting rule is complete. It established the first-ever statewide standards for siting new or expanding livestock facility. This ground-breaking reform is hailed as the most important ‘right to farm’ protection in a decade.
Growing our Agricultural Exports
Wisconsin agricultural exports increased by 16 percent in 2005 compared to the year before, moving up in national ranking to 11th place from 18th.
In addition to investing more than $10 million in state and federal funds to create jobs and modernize Wisconsin’s agricultural industry, Governor Doyle has also been a strong supporter of the Ethanol Bill, which would require all regular unleaded gas to contain 10 percent ethanol.
Strongly supported by Wisconsin’s rural community, the bill would expand the state’s commitment to renewable fuels, boost Wisconsin’s farm economy, and reduce the state’s dependence on foreign oil. Two weeks ago, the State Legislature used a procedural measure to delay action on this critical issue.
“For every dollar we spend at the gas pump, seventy cents leaves the Wisconsin economy,” Governor Doyle said. “But for every dollar we spend on ethanol, seventy cents stays right here in Wisconsin, which is great news for our economy, and the hardworking farmers all across this state. Wisconsin is in a unique position to become the nation’s leader in ethanol production, and lead the way on energy independence. We have the materials, the facilities, and the minds to make it happen. But we must act now.”
Governor Doyle will continue to fight to pass the legislation because of the strong economic and environmental benefits it would provide.