Wisconsin Farm Bureau: Delegates set policy for 2013

Contact: Paul Zimmerman, Executive Director of Governmental Relations, 608.828.5708

Karen Gefvert, Director of Governmental Relations, 608.828.5713

WISCONSIN DELLS – Delegates at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells established new policy directives for the organization on Monday, December 3.

Farm Bureau delegates adopted the policies that will guide the legislative agenda for the state’s largest general farm organization over the next year. Resolutions were submitted by farmers from across the state through Farm Bureau’s grassroots policy development process.

Delegates gave directives on several state laws and programs. They support creating an opt-out provision for municipalities within the Smart Growth planning law, and continued state funding for the livestock premise registration program.

Regarding environmental issues, farmers want simplification to the state’s nutrient management planning process. They support grandfathering in existing high capacity water wells under the laws in which they were installed or upgraded. Delegates also support maintaining base funding for County Land Conservation Departments in order for them to implement programs of local importance.

On transportation, delegates want to limit the state’s debt service for the transportation fund to 15 percent of expenditures, with any additional revenues designated for local infrastructure repairs. A resolution calling for the simplification of the definition of implements of husbandry was passed, as did increasing road weight limits to 98,000 pounds for implements of husbandry with six axels.

Other items delegates support include:

* Support establishing a general hunting season and nuisance permits for turkey.

* Support starting Wisconsin’s bear hunting season earlier (to August 15) and do not want the Department of Natural Resource to trap and relocate bear.

* Support allowing audio and/or visual recordings on private property (including farms and livestock handling facilities) only if approved by the facility owners.

* Support maintaining state funding to school districts with declining enrollment with special consideration for rural schools.

Wisconsin delegates also approved resolutions pertaining to federal policy. These resolutions will be forwarded to the American Farm Bureau Federation, which hosts its Annual Meeting and resolutions session next month in Nashville:

* Support making permanent the emergency rule allowing winter cover crops to be harvested in the spring without jeopardizing crop insurance eligibility for the primary crop planted after the winter cover crop is harvested.

* Support requiring cross compliance to tolerable soil loss of no more than two-T for crop insurance eligibility like other cross compliance provisions in the U.S. farm bill.

* Support funding to repair and upgrade the nation’s lock and dam system to maintain current commodity trade channels.

* Support amending the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 so that the calorie criteria and proportions of each food group are adequate

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization. It represents 24,000 farms of all sizes, commodities and management styles.