The Wisconsin Assembly passed three bills supported by Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation to address the state’s wolf population, allow more efficient transportation of milk products and clarify limitations on the Farmland Preservation Tax Credit program.
“We greatly appreciate the leadership of the bill authors and cosponsors as well as the support of legislators on issues that directly affect farmers and agribusiness in Wisconsin,” said WFBF Executive Director of Government Affairs Jason Mugnaini.
Senate Bill 139, authored by Rep. Chanz Green (R-Ashland) and Sen. Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond), would require the Department of Natural Resources to establish a statewide wolf population goal as part of the state’s wolf management plan.
“Farmers and voters in rural Wisconsin want a socially sustainable wolf population goal that strikes a reasonable balance,” said Mugnaini. “The plan we have now prioritizes wolf habitat expansion over the concerns of rural families and livestock farmers. We appreciate the Assembly moving this bill to address those concerns, especially since our members weren’t given the opportunity to have an in-person hearing regarding the DNR state wolf plan.”
Senate Bill 431, authored by Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan), would expand the current permitting allowance for semi-trucks equipped with a sixth axle to carry 98,000-pound loads of milk and other milk products. WFBF appreciates the partnership of Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association to move this bill forward.
“This legislation will help address the ongoing shortage of CDL drivers in Wisconsin and throughout the country and improve the overall efficiency of getting dairy products to market,” said Mugnaini. “WFBF would like to thank the bill authors, our industry partners and the Department of Transportation for working with us on this issue.”
Assembly Bill 480, authored by Rep. Ellen Schutt (R-Clinton) and Sen. Corey Tomczyk (R-Mosinee), addresses a loophole in current law that allows someone to claim farmland preservation tax credits for land that has been redeveloped as a solar generation facility. The bill clarifies that while a portion of a farm may have solar panels installed to provide energy to the farm itself, land developed as a solar generation facility is not eligible for the credit.
“Current law allows up to fifty percent of an agricultural landowners acreage to be developed as a solar generation facility while remaining eligible for the program,” Mugnaini said. “No one should be claiming farmland preservation tax credits for land that is not being farmed. This bill will ensure these credits continue to be used as intended; to preserve Wisconsin farmland.”
Senate Bills 139 and 431 now go to Gov. Tony Evers for his signature or veto, while Assembly Bill 480 moves to the State Senate for consideration.
Made up of 61 county Farm Bureaus, Wisconsin Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization, representing farms of every size, commodity and management style.