This is an excerpt from a column posted at BizOpinion.
Wisconsin’s agricultural industry continues to grow from our farmers markets to the international ports. When Governor Scott Walker signed the 2013-2015 budget he ensured that the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection would be able to maintain its core missions and work for the prosperity of Wisconsin’s consumers, farmers and agribusinesses.
This budget will allow our food safety inspectors and partners to inspect more than 20,000 food-related businesses to ensure safe and wholesome food. Our staff will be able to continue to protect animal and plant health through routine inspections and respond to emergency situations. We will be able to meet our environmental obligations to safeguard our environment and protect consumers from fraudulent business practices.
Early last year, the Governor announced the Dairy 30×20 Initiative. This initiative was formed after numerous discussions with industry stakeholders on how best to support dairy farmers to be profitable and maintain our place as America’s Dairyland. In this budget, the Governor maintained funding for farmer grants and added funding for processor grants. Now, we will collaborate with industry stakeholders again to best decide how these valuable dollars will make the biggest impact on processor investment. By producing and processing 30 billion pounds of milk by 2020, Wisconsin will be able to create additional jobs and grow our state’s economy.