Short term – Our Most Recent Advocacy Achievements
In the most recent legislative session, the WCA worked together with our friends across agriculture and with agriculture-friendly legislators and government leaders, can achieve things that a single farmer could never hope to achieve alone. That is part of the mission of the WCA – “promote the Wisconsin beef business through advocacy, leadership, and education.”
Implements of Husbandry (IOH) 2.0
ENACTED 2015 Wisconsin Act 15. In April 2015, the Governor signed 2015 Act 15, which clarified IOH issues related to towed and attached IOH; specified that IOH with rubber tracks can legally operate on a highway; and provided other technical changes that improve the application of the law to “agricultural commercial motor vehicles” (Ag CMVs).
Extension of Fall Harvest Weight Exemption
ENACTED 2015 Wisconsin Act 235. Assembly Bill 733 and Senate Bill 509, authored by Representative Spiros (R-Marshfield) and Senator Petrowski (R-Marathon), provides that the 15% seasonal weight limit increase for certain vehicles transporting agricultural crops from harvest to initial storage or harvest to initial processing, begins on August 1st rather than on September 1st of each calendar year. This weight limit increase ends on December 31 of each calendar year.
Elimination of Adverse Possession Claims Against Public Property
ENACTED 2015 Wisconsin Act 219. Senate Bill 314 / Assembly Bill 459, authored by Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Representative Robert Brooks (R-Saukville) “grandfathers” all adverse claims against public property (i.e., property owned by a town, county, municipality or the State of Wisconsin) that have “matured,” in most cases extended 20 years. The bill, however, eliminates any future adverse possession claims against public property.
Adverse Possession Claims Against Private Property
ENACTED 2015 Wisconsin Act 200. Senate Bill 344 and Assembly Bill 465, authored by Senator Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Representative David Craig (R-Big Bend) retains the law of adverse possession but clarifies how the title record holder (rightful landowner) can interrupt someone’s ability to adversely possess the rightful landowner’s property. The rightful landowner can now submit an “affidavit of interruption” along with a survey of the parcel to the register of deeds and notify the abutting neighbor via certified mail of the rightful landowner’s actions. Farmers own 14.5 million acres of land throughout the state. This bill helps retain an important and useful law, but better clarifies how someone can stop an adverse possession claim against them. Senate Bill 344 was signed into law as WI Act 200 on March 1.
Authority of UW Board of Regents to Sell or Lease Agricultural Land
ENACTED 2015 Wisconsin Act 230. Assembly Bill 717 and Senate Bill 571, authored by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi), expands the authority of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System regarding transfers of agricultural land. Prior Wisconsin law allowed the Board of Regents to sell or lease specified tracts of agricultural land and improvements thereon subject to the approval of the Building Commission. This legislation allows the Board of Regents to sell or lease agricultural land without the approval of the Building Commission, allowing the University to be more nimble and responsive in terms of agricultural land transfers.
Producer-Led Water Quality Initiative
ENACTED in Budget Bill. As a part of the 2015-17 biennial budget bill, the State Legislature created a new grant program at DATCP called the “Producer Led Watershed Protection Grant Program.” WCA worked with other Ag groups to secure the creation and funding of this program. The goal is to make water quality initiatives original from the farmers rather than the regulators. This program provides an additional $500,000 in funding over the biennium for water quality abatement activities. The new grant program is specifically for farmers within a watershed to design and lead their own water quality activities.