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Lobbyist Discusses Upcoming Issues for Legislative Session
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/30/2015

Attorney Jordan Lamb of DeWitt Ross & Stevens, who also serves as a lobbyist for several Wisconsin farm organizations, says state lawmakers will be keying in on several important issues that affect agriculture in the new legislative session.

"A year ago the hot topic was Implements of Husbandry," she reminded producers at the Wisconsin Corn/Soy Expo on Thursday. "For the most part, that policy is now in place but we expect some provisions of that law to be revisited."

For example, Lamb says the question has come up whether an item can be considered an IoH if it is being pulled by a pick-up truck rather than a tractor. She also noted the Category B classification may need to be rewritten so it includes more than just self-propelled implements.

High capacity wells will be another issue that is sure to get attention. Lamb said farmers would like to see a policy that protects existing wells from going through the approval process all over again if they need to be repaired, replaced or sold to a new owner.

She reminded producers that this is the second of a four-year phase-in period for the Ag Manufacturers Tax Credit, which now allows qualified recipients to get a 50-percent credit for properties that generate farm income.

Looking ahead to the state budget, Lamb cited a press release from Governor Scott Walker this week stating his plans to propose an agricultural producer led water-quality initiative using $250,000 annually in existing soil and water management grants for the implementation of nonpoint source pollution abatement practices.

"Non-point source pollution is not an issue that is going to go away," she said. "It will be important for producers to speak up and communicate with their representatives--especially in light of a recent court ruling that concluded a farmer's insurance company was not obligated to pay a settlement when manure contaminated a neighbor's well water."

And lastly Lamb said farm groups are going to push for increased funding in the transportation budget this year to fix aging infrastructure in rural areas.

The 2015-17 session of the legislature began on January 5.

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