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Farmers' Health Cooperative of Wisconsin Honors Wisconsin FCS
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/21/2008

Leaders of the Farmers' Health Cooperative of Wisconsin honored the Wisconsin Farm Credit Services at the 2008 Wisconsin FCS Legislative Conference last week in Madison. Wisconsin FCS was commended for their strong leadership in helping to create the innovative and unique FHCW. The four Wisconsin associations--AgStar FCS, Badgerland FCS, GreenStone FCS and United Farm Credit--provided upfront support to the cooperative, including making financial grants for startup legal and actuarial costs; assisted in conducting member focus groups to determine what farmers would want in a healthcare plan; and provided marketing support to help get information about the new cooperative to farmers across the state of Wisconsin.

"The Farmers' Health Cooperative of Wisconsin is being recognized by Congress and others as one of the primary state healthcare innovations in 2007," said WFC President Bill Oemichen. "We could not have successfully launched the cooperative without the active support of the Wisconsin Farm Credit System."

Also at the meeting, retiring Wisconsin FCS Legislative Committee Chair Mike Hinz of Pickett presented State Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen with a Farm Credit Wisconsin plaque for his years of dedicated service to Wisconsin agriculture and rural communities. After accepting the award, Nilsestuen addressed Governor Doyle's 'Next Generation Agriculture Plan' and thanked the farm credit associations for their support on several initiatives of the recent past.

In conjunction with the conference, thirty FCS association board directors, FCS leadership, and FCS staff visited dozens of legislative offices lobbying for dairy cooperative facility investment tax credits, favorable tax treatment of Health Savings Accounts, establishment of an Agricultural Education Council in DATCP, and legislation that would prohibit state politicians from raising campaign funds during the time the state budget is being considered.

A panel of legislators were also on hand to discuss the remaining priorities of the current legislative session. The panel included Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald, Juneau; Senator Jon Erpenbach, Middleton; Rep. Al Ott, Forest Junction; and Rep. Mark Pocan, Madison.

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