As agriculture continues to be a topic top of mind of elected officials in Wisconsin, farmers will fill Madison on Tuesday for the annual Ag Day at the Capitol with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.
Joe Bragger, Wisconsin Farm Bureau President, said Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and the legislature are showing promise for addressing current concerns in the industry. In January, Bragger heard Evers share his sentiment during the State of the State Address.
“We have something pretty special here in Wisconsin,” Bragger said. “I think the governor and the legislature recognize that and the diversity of agriculture in Wisconsin. While we are in tough times right now, knowing that the governor spent that amount of time talking about agriculture and the impact it has to Wisconsin, I think that’s tremendous.”
Although milk prices are showing some improvement from 2019, Bragger said it is important to put forth a strong effort to look at the dairy industry situation.
“It’s been five years that we’ve had tough times,” Bragger said. “The farmers are feeling it not only financially but emotionally as well.”
He added crop farmers have not been immune to challenges, especially with the recent trade wars.
“It looks like we’re prevailing in those and agreements are getting signed but you know, we’ve got to way to come to make people whole,” Bragger said.
The 2020 Ag Day at the Capitol will give farmers like Bragger the chance to attend legislative briefings and visit with politicians in Madison. He said water quality will be a key issue that is top of mind for both Gov. Evers and Wisconsin Farm Bureau.
“The governor announced of last year it was the year of water,” Bragger said. “Interesting enough, Wisconsin Farm Bureau is also looking at our goals for this year, and the Board of Directors is compiling everything that we need to address. We have put dairy and water quality at the top of our list for focus, and so this is really lining up well.”
Bragger said whether it is Ag Day at the Capitol or any day, it is important to build relationships with local legislators.
“Be the kind of person that when your legislator is looking for answers, you build credibility,” Bragger said. “They can consider you an ally and somebody that they can go to. That’s pretty powerful when they reach out to you and ask you for your opinion.”
Ag Day at the Capitol will be at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison. Registration is $60 at the door and begins at 11:00 a.m. The open program is scheduled to start at 11:30.