In Marathon County alone, agriculture contributes $2.4 billion dollars to the economy and provides over 10,000 jobs. But now a candidate says a delay in Congress may cost Wisconsin farmers big.
Congressional candidate Pat Kreitlow is demanding action on a stalled agricultural bill. He and Senator Herb Kohl held a press conference at a Marathon County farm, talking about the importance of the farm bill and what will happen if the bill is not past. Both Kreitlow and Senator Kohl said it would spell disaster.
"If they fail to get a deal, then it would be cataclysmic to the budget deficit based on the spending that would have to take place without a farm bill," Kreitlow elaborated.
The current agricultural bill, that will expire come October 1st 2012, provides stability in the marketplace for both farmers and consumers alike. It protects farmers from drastic changes in production costs and prices.
Still, farmers say more needs to be done.
Ron Kusiak, a farmer from Mosinee, told NewsChannel 7 that there are all kinds of things in the current farm bill that need to be updated.
Based on his experience with the farming industry Kreitlow thinks he can help saying, "There are things that I know every farm family is looking for. They're looking for certainty. They're looking for security. And they're looking for respect."
Respect Kreitlow says they are currently not getting.
"Congress is on it's August recess. They're taking a taxpayer funded vacation. Wisconsin dairy farm families don't get that time off. They've got to work everyday. All they ask is that Congress works just as hard as they do. So when this Congress just wants to play games and not pass something as basic as a farm bill, it's a way of disrespecting every hard working farm family in the state of Wisconsin," Kreitlow said.
If a new farm bill is not approved by October 1st 2012, laws will go back to the way they were in the 1930's and 1940's.
Pat Kreitlow is challenging 7th Congressional District Representative Sean Duffy in the November general election.