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Romanski: Wisconsin Farm Support Checks 'In the Mail'
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 07/16/2020

Wisconsin's agriculture secretary says the Department of Revenue has finished evaluating most of the online applications for the Wisconsin Farm Support Program and has already begun sending checks. In an interview with Farm Broadcaster Pam Jahnke, Randy Romanski said nearly 15,000 producers requested financial aid by the June 29 deadline. About $50 million was made available to qualifying farmers through the program as part of the state's share of the federal CARES Act.

"The goal of the program was to get the dollars out quickly," Romanski told the Wisconsin Farm Report. "There's a lot of need and a lot of interest in the program."

With nearly 15,000 applications submitted to the DOR's website, nearly every farmer who applied will get the maximum $3,500 that was made available as part of the WFSP perimeters.

Meanwhile, Romanski says another $9- to $10 million is still available. As a result, the DOR will hold a second enrollment period between August 10-24 for those who did not have an opportunity to apply. But the DATCP chief doesn't expect payouts to be as much in that second round of funding.

"In this case, we would expect that during this (second) application window that payments will go out in mid-September and will be based on a sliding scale based on how many farmers apply," he noted.

The Wisconsin Farm Support Program was established at the request of state farm organizations that urged Gov. Tony Evers to help farmers facing financing hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers of any farm commodity who had a gross income between $35,000 and $5,000,000 in 2019 were eligible to apply.

Also this week, the DATCP announced that food banks and other nonprofit organizations may now to apply for the Food Security and Wisconsin Products Grant program now. Request for Proposals are being accepted for an estimated $10 million in grants to help purchase Wisconsin food products for distribution to people experiencing food insecurity. That sign-up period goes through July 29.

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