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Task Force Approves 49 Recommendations to Spur Dairy Industry
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/20/2019

The group charged with making recommendations needed to maintain a viable and profitable dairy industry in Wisconsin has found common ground on at least 49 proposals. Members of the Dairy Task Force 2.0 met in Sheboygan on Friday to narrow down their most important ideas.

Specifically, the team considered how farmers could ensure their competitiveness in the marketplace by recommending all milk producers and buyers have a contract with the organization marketing their milk. The group also recommended requiring official animal identification to help prevent or respond to animal disease threats.

"Every member of this task force understands the importance of our state's dairy community and the challenges our farmers are facing," said State Agriculture Secretary Brad Pfaff. "This group rolled up its sleeves, thought long and hard, and provided a number of important recommendations on what can be done to maintain and grow our state's world-class dairy industry."

The Dairy Task Force 2.0 further recommended additional agricultural impact studies, support for agritourism, and need for additional educational programming for non-farm audiences. One idea also focused on the need for truth in food labeling for consumers in the marketplace.

Meanwhile, members stressed the need for increased connections across the industry. Recommendations detailed the need for better collaboration and sharing ideas across the UW System and private industry and the need for more public and private partnerships such as the Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant Program.

And the group approved recommendations for the need to address significant challenges facing the dairy industry, including workforce availability, farm transition, water quality, and milk pricing. The members recommended additional internship opportunities with the Wisconsin Technical College System and an increase access to capital. Farmers were encouraged to get involved on the local boards and commissions and to engage more with state and federal government officials.

A final report, including all recommendations, is expected to be completed this summer.

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