Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots organization that works on behalf of farm families and other individuals who support agriculture.
Farm Bureau got its start with local farmers meeting to discuss issues of concern in order to devise ways, or policies, to resolve these issues. Each year since, county Farm Bureau members have met to discuss pertinent issues as part of the policy development process. Local involvement culminates with discussion and votes on proposed policy at county Farm Bureau annual meetings.
In order to help with these discussions, the WFBF state Policy Development (PD) Committee and the American Farm Bureau Federation surface issues for county Farm Bureau to consider during their policy development process.
The state issues surfaced by the PD Committee this year include:
The Wisconsin State Budget
The next biennial state budget is due to be submitted and debated next year. Given recent state budget deficits, the PD Committee is encouraging discussion about state taxes and fees, prioritizing state expenditures and its impact on Wisconsin farm families. Click here for more information about the state budget.
The Role of County Land Conservation Departments
Historically county land conservation departments have been the primary regulatory entity dealing with farmers locally. Programs they administer include nonpoint source pollution abatement, manure storage ordinances, farmland preservation and wildlife damage program. In recent years, some county governments have been combing land conservation departments with planning and zoning departments, primarily due to fiscal constraints. The PD committee is encouraging discussion about the role, responsibilities and the future of county land conservation departments to insure the needs of farmers are met. Click here for more information about the county land conservation departments.
Nutrient Management Implementation
Wisconsin’s nonpoint program requiresWisconsinfarmers to have nutrient management plans. Many regulatory and incentive programs require nutrient management plans. These include the farmland preservation program, manure storage ordinances, state standards for the siting of livestock operations and permits for livestock farms over 1,000 animal units. However, agriculture is consistently being accused of being the primary source of nonpoint pollution. The PD Committee is encouraging discussion about ways to encourage more farmers to adopt nutrient management planning or ways for farmers to be given more credit for the nutrient management activities they currently have implemented. Click here for more information about the nutrient management implementation.
Rural Transportation Issues
There have been increasing enforcement issues regarding farm machinery and road weigh limits. In addition, there are projections that the State will need a couple hundred million dollars more each year just to maintain the road system we currently have. Without increased funding, the State’s road infrastructure will decline. But given the current fiscal climate and situation, the PD Committee is encouraging discussion about funding highway funding and expenditures. Click here for more information about the rural transportation issues.
Livestock Premise Registration Program
In recent years, the PD Committee has developed suggested resolutions for county Farm Bureaus to consider. This year’s draft resolution pertains to fees associated with Wisconsin’s livestock premise registration program. WFBF policy of supporting the program is expected to continue. However, members are being asked if the policy should change from opposing on farmers to pay for the program, to supporting such fee on farmers and processors to fund the program. Click here for more information about the livestock premise registration program.