Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Delegates set policy for 2016

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

Rob Richard, Senior Director of Governmental Relations, 608.828.5703

Karen Gefvert, Director of Governmental Relations, 608.828.5713

WISCONSIN DELLS – Delegates at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells established new policy directives for the organization on Monday, December 7.

Farm Bureau delegates adopted the policies that will guide the legislative agenda for the state’s largest general farm organization in 2016. Resolutions were submitted by delegates as part of a grassroots policy development process.

Recognizing the need to increase funds to provide adequate roads and bridges in rural Wisconsin, delegates voted to consider a combination of gasoline taxes, vehicle registration fees, farm truck registration fees and environmental fees, as well as the establishment of local sales taxes, tolling and new vehicle taxes. Delegates support the continuation of the state fuel tax exemption for agricultural purposes.

Delegates supported certified third-party audits of farms for animal care practices and land conservation practices to ensure market access and instill consumer confidence. Delegates emphasized that third-party audit information collected becomes the sole proprietary property of the farmer and audit information should be released only as aggregated data.

In regards to labeling, delegates advised that the term ‘milk’ should not be used to label and describe food products that are derived from vegetative plants and trees.

Recognizing the importance of natural resources and the environment, delegates support farmer-led soil and water quality initiatives.

Delegates from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s 61 county Farm Bureaus also voted to:

– Support classifying skid steers as agricultural equipment, as well as construction. We also support training and safety programs/certification for youth similar to All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Utility-Terrain Vehicle (UTV) Certification and Wisconsin Safe Operation of Tractor and Machinery Certification programs.

– Support maintaining the necropsy services and employing a state licensed veterinarian in the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Barron.

– Support using technology (i.e., UAVs and electronic trap monitors) in order to monitor wildlife abatement traps and to assess crop damage.

– Support the state’s adverse possession law as it has historically existed.

– Oppose towns and counties imposing stricter requirements for nutrient management regulations than state standards without relevant scientific research.

– Propose that when engineering a road the state and local level of governments should install culverts to assist in transporting manure to reduce traffic on roads.

– Support the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s procedures for testing and license renewal of the pesticide certification and training program.

On the federal level, delegates oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to shorten the permit certification timeline for pesticide applicator licensing and increase testing standards to make it more difficult for a farmer to obtain a pesticide applicator license. This resolution will be forwarded to the American Farm Bureau Federation for consideration at its annual meeting next month.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization. Made up of 61 county Farm Bureaus, it represents farms of all sizes, commodities and management styles.