Gov. Tony Evers has announced a $50-million investment to provide direct payments to Wisconsin farmers.
The Wisconsin Farm Support Program will aid the agricultural sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a provide $15-million Food Security Initiative to combat hunger.
Eligible farmers will be asked to apply for the aid through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, which is working in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
“Farmers have asked for help, and this direct aid is meant to aid the farmers who are the foundation of our food system. Farmers also serve as the backbone of many of Wisconsin’s local rural economies, and these direct payments will help revitalize local economies and jump-start Wisconsin’s food supply chain, which has been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Evers stated. “DATCP and I have engaged in productive meetings with agriculture stakeholders to ensure a fair, accessible distribution system for these aid payments, and I look forward to getting this relief into the hands of farmers around the state.”
Farm support payments could begin arriving as early as June.
To complement the Wisconsin Farm Support Program and combat food insecurity, the governor has also committed $15 million to the Food Security Initiative. A portion of the funding will go toward helping food banks, pantries, and other nonprofit organizations fighting food insecurity adapt to challenges posed by the COVID-19 public health crisis. This may include adjustments to public health and social distancing guidelines, such as curb-side pick up or delivery services, purchasing prepared meals from local restaurants for distribution, as well as other expenses that are being incurred by these organizations as they continue to provide services to families in need. The initiative will emphasize the importance of prioritizing the use of Wisconsin products wherever possible in feeding citizens who find themselves in need of support. Applicants are strongly encouraged to partner with local food experts to aid in connecting with farmers in their area.
Additionally, the Food Security Initiative will help food banks, pantries, and other nonprofit organizations purchase, process, and/or store Wisconsin agricultural products for distribution to local consumers in need.
“During this difficult time, people across our state don’t have enough to eat in a state that helps feed the entire country,” stated Gov. Evers. “Connecting the dots between struggling food producers with organizations that are working to address food insecurity requires a coordinated effort—one that draws upon the ingenuity of our residents and their devotion to their neighbors and communities. Our farmers and agribusinesses have never wavered in their commitment to providing nutritious, high-quality food for folks here in Wisconsin and around the world. Now, we’re going all in together to support both Wisconsin’s agriculture industry and people in need throughout the state.”