ABOVE PHOTO: Farmers Union members from throughout the state took part in Farm & Rural Lobby Day in Madison on January 17th.
Over fifty family farmers and rural advocates gathered in Madison Jan. 17th for Wisconsin Farmers Union’s Farm & Rural Lobby Day, where they advocated for policy priorities set by the grassroots membership at the organization’s recent state convention. Priority topics discussed with representatives were; support for clean water and conservation, rural development, access to affordable healthcare, nutrition and ag education, and dairy policy.
“Farm & Rural Lobby Day allows Farmers Union members from across the state to come together and voice their concerns and solutions directly with our representatives,” said Darin Von Ruden, WFU President and dairy farmer from Westby. “Our collective effort reinforces the vital role of agriculture and advocacy in shaping policies that sustain our rural communities.”
Governor Tony Evers provided a special welcome at the event, highlighting efforts made by the state over the past year, including road improvement projects, support for meat processing and producer-led
watershed programs, and investments in the Dairy Innovation Hub and the new Center for Dairy Research
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“We’re working to connect the dots on all these important issues and in the year ahead, we’ll continue to
prioritize investments to ensure that farmers, families, and rural communities can continue building
reliable health and wealth,” stated Evers. “Together we will continue to ensure that farmers and rural communities across the state have the tools and resources to thrive and we’ll continue to remain a national leader in the agriculture industry for generations to come.”
WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Assistant Deputy Secretary Mike Strigel also addressed the family farm organization, commending them on their efforts on the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change, producer-led watershed groups, and the WI Local Food Purchase Assistance (WI-LFPA) program, which connects farmers with food distribution partners and local food networks to endure distribution of fresh and nutritious foods in underserved communities.
Senator Jeff Smith spoke to attendees about bills circulating to address food waste and the need for more county conservation staffing, and Dr. Robert Craig of Citizen Action concentrated on healthcare issues in WI.
WFU members will have the opportunity to lobby again this fall when hundreds of farmers from
throughout the country will gather in Washington, D.C. for the National Farmers Union Fly-In in