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Kleefisch: State Government Will Support Dairy Industry
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/20/2017

Wisconsin's number two governmental leader says the state's dairy industry can count on the Walker Administration to support agriculture during the new legislative session. On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch told producers at the Dairy Strong Conference in Madison that if the state is going to be known for its reputation of quality dairy products, then growth and support of the industry must be a priority.

"Farmers are the first and truest environmentalists and you need water to grow your industry," Kleefisch said. "We will support them through high-quality infrastructure so trucks can easily travel to and from dairies and other destinations; making sure farmers have access to the water they need; and having enough workers to fill the open jobs at farms."

Regarding water, she said the Assembly will again take up a bill regarding high-capacity wells, which can pump up to 10,000 gallons of water a day. The bill from the last legislative session would have allowed owners of high-capacity wells to repair, replace or transfer an existing well without a new permit from the Department of Natural Resources.

On infrastructure, Kleefisch said Gov. Scott Walker's upcoming budget will include money for roads.

"You'll be seeing a renewed commitment to investing in infrastructure since we know heavy trucks on our roads are vital to the ag industry," she said. "Roads and highways need to be in good condition."

Kleefisch said there are several possible solutions to the shortage of agricultural workers in Wisconsin. With the new Trump administration in Washington, she predicted that more power will be returned to the states, and this could be a prime opportunity.

Also during the conference, the Dairy Business Association presented its Legislator of the Year Award to Rep. Lee Nerison, who chairs the Assembly Agriculture Committee. And Jeff Endres, a co-owner of Endres Berryridge Farms LLC, was presented with the group's Advocacy Award.

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