State Issues

Taxation

Sales and Use Tax: The application of this tax is exempt for manufacturing inputs of industry and should also be exempt for all items used in production agriculture such as machinery, equipment, supplies and all materials used directly in farming. It is also important to not consider any expansion of the state sales and use tax because of the competitive disadvantage this would impose on our producers.

Property Tax: We support use value assessment of agricultural land. We further recommend that land dedicated to conservation practices (i.e. wind breaks, buffer strips, etc) or programs be assessed as farmland under use value. We urge that use value assessment be expanded to include nonproductive farmland and agricultural woodlands. We support a revision of the managed forest crop law.

Transportation

Highways: A sound highway system is vital to the well being of agriculture and the entire economy. We urge that highway user taxes collected on over-the-road vehicles be used only for highway purposes.

We support allowing wider driveways for easier access to farmers’ yards from state highways.

We urge that greater emphasis be placed on improvement and maintenance of present highways rather than on new highway construction, using existing right-of-ways wherever possible.

We oppose the registration of implements of husbandry or the licensing of their operators. We urge fellow farmers to use caution and courtesy when traveling with farm equipment on public roads.

We urge the Department of Transportation to treat agricultural land equal to wetlands when obtaining land for the building of roads. The same degree of effort should be used in preserving agriculture land as is used in preserving wetlands.


The highway use laws in Wisconsin are a maze of access and non-access for large trucks. WCA supports the open access of all roads for livestock truck trailer combinations which do not exceed the seventy five foot length restriction without regard to axle placement.

WCA supports the exemption of USDOT numbers on truck/trailer combinations for hauling livestock in the State of Wisconsin. This does not exempt a person on the Federal Level once a truck/trailer combination leaves the State of Wisconsin. One must follow the Federal Rules at that point.

WCA supports the extension of weight limits to 90,000 lbs on tractor trailer combinations with 6 axles.

Marketing

Livestock Marketing Education: WCA urges the University of Wisconsin-Madison to allocate resources to the College of Agricultural Life Sciences to rebuild the capacity of the University to provide education and services needed to improve profitability and sustainability of Wisconsin animal agriculture.

WCA supports increased commitment of the University of Wisconsin-Extension to adequately serve the beef industry and the rest of the Meat Animal sector in Wisconsin.

Meat Grades: We would encourage that the use of the USDA grade designation names (Prime, Choice, Select) not be used in any way but in conjunction with USDA graded beef.

Livestock

Beef Quality Assurance: WCA advocates that every beef producer in Wisconsin become familiar with the WCA/NCBA quality assurance program and implement the principals learned into his/her operation.

The beef industry is dependent on the perceptions and confidence of the consumer and nothing less than the absolute best quality product is acceptable for the market.

WCA strongly supports proper site selection for all injections in accordance with BQA guidelines established by NCBA.

Antibiotics: WCA policy supports the use of Producer Guidelines for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials, which have been in place since 1987. The guidelines specifically outline the appropriate use of antibiotics:

  • Avoid using antibiotics that are important in human medicine.
  • Use a narrow spectrum of antimicrobials whenever possible.
  • Treat the fewest number of animals possible.
  • Antibiotic use should be limited to prevent or control disease and should not be used if the principle intent is to improve performance.
  • All label instructions should be strictly followed.

WCA policy also advocates the use of antimicrobials as outlined in the Quality Assurance Guidelines for both beef and dairy cattle, as appropriate.

Animal Care: WCA supports appropriate programs and accurate information aimed at schools and the general public showing how people benefit from today’s farming methods and animal research. Animal research has proven to be vital to the medical field in improving the quality of life and to livestock producers and consumers in developing more efficient ways to produce food.

WCA encourages all beef producers to have a good Vet Client Patient Relationship (VCPR).

Animal Welfare: WCA supports the proper care of all livestock animals in Wisconsin. WCA supports the animal care standards developed as a part of the Beef Quality Assurance program.

Animal ID System: We believe food safety, animal health and bio security are interstate issues that affect the entire country. We support collaborative efforts of industry and governmental animal health officials to develop a national identification system for livestock. We strongly encourage Wisconsin to support programs that are national in scope. An animal ID system should be confidential, not create an additional paperwork burden and recognize that the owner has no control over the animal prior to his ownership or once it leaves the farm.

WCA supports a premise registration system and a producer choice traceability system that adds value to the cattle industry. This system should be private and confidential and allow animal health officials the ability to react promptly in the case of an animal emergency.

Wisconsin Vet Diagnostic Laboratory: The cattle producers of Wisconsin need to have a dependable source of diagnosis for animal sickness and disease. The purebred/seedstock industry (beef and dairy) needs a fully accredited laboratory for national and international export. And the DNR needs a source of disease analysis for the wildlife. WCA requests that the Wisconsin Legislature and the Governor continue to support adequate funding of the animal health system.

Disease: We support the continuation of interstate testing for brucellosis of livestock from states that are not “class-free”. We recommend stronger action be taken against those who violate animal health laws and regulations.

Neospora Caninum: The disease Neospora Caninum is a major cause of abortion, premature birth and impaired calves in cattle; other ruminants are also affected including deer. Domestic dogs and some wild canines have been identified as definitive hosts for the disease. This is a concern for cattlemen as wild canines are rapidly increasing their population and range into areas of cattle production.

WCA supports further research to determine the prevalence of Neospora Caninum among potential canine host animals in Wisconsin and develop appropriate protocols to minimize the economic impact of the disease on the Wisconsin cattle industry.

Deer Feeding Ban: Wild deer and domestic cattle are infected with Bovine Tuberculosis in Michigan and Minnesota. Experts have testified that feeding wild deer increases the risk of transmitting diseases such as CWD, Brucellosis, and Bovine TB.

WCA supports a total permanent ban on the practice of feeding and baiting of wild deer throughout the State of Wisconsin in order to help protect the Wisconsin cattle industry from Bovine TB and other diseases.

Sustainability: WCA supports the efforts for agriculture to be sustainable in a three-prong approach: economic for all parties involved; socially sustainable for the rural communities; and environmental.

Education: WCA supports all efforts to maintain a strong UW-Extension research staff and their expertise in animal agriculture, as that is critical to WCA members and to the livestock economy in the State of Wisconsin. WCA supports the continued full funding of UW-Extension and its agriculture programs after this merger is completed. 

Wolf Predation

Wolf Management: WCA supports effective state and federal management of the gray wolf (canis lupus) to prevent the increasing incidence of the destruction of cattle and the spreading of infectious disease to livestock on Wisconsin farms.

WCA supports federal agricultural appropriations to sufficiently fund USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services to investigate wolf complaints and to control destructive wolves that are depredating on livestock. WCA also supports adequate WDNR funding for promised reimbursement to livestock producers for losses due to wolves.

WCA supports the development of a policy where it is the WDNR’s responsibility to dispose of livestock mutilated and killed on Wisconsin farms by wolves.

WCA supports direct input by cattlemen with the state of Wisconsin and federal agencies (a seat at the table) regarding present and future wolf management decisions and policy.

WCA supports the federal delisting of the gray wolf by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so there will be more options available to manage problem wolves.

WCA supports hunting and trapping in a controlled program to bring the wolf population to its original plan of 350 wolves in the state of Wisconsin.

WCA supports effective state and federal management of bear and cougar to prevent the increasing incidence of the destruction of cattle and the spreading of infectious disease ot livestock on Wisconsin farms.


Land Use and Environment

Private Property Rights: We have for many years observed government bodies and agencies passing laws and rules that take portions of property rights and noted that these actions have diminished the value of individuals’ property. WCA is proponent of legislation which would make those that diminish property value provide just compensation.

We support requiring a municipality that annexes land from a neighboring township to pay off the township debt allocated to that land as part of the annexation.

Eminent Domain: WCA opposes the ability of the government to utilize eminent domain powers in the manner and as allowed by the United State Supreme Court in the case of Kelo v. City of New London, 72 U.S.L.W. and supports legislation which would establish safeguards against such actions in Wisconsin.

Right to Farm: We support continued efforts which will protect agricultural operations from nuisance suits resulting from odor, dust, noise, etc. when the farming enterprise is operated in accordance with current agricultural practices. We also urge consideration of the role zoning, education, research and other activities may play in helping to prevent or alleviate these conflicts between differing land uses.

Trespass and Liability: There exists a trend toward freedom of property occupation and trespass by the general public. We support action to recognize and enforce ownership rights to prohibit unwanted activities on private property, including those of government agencies.

Non-Point Source Pollution: WCA is opposed to any new regulations which are not supported by appropriate scientific facts and/or formulae while demonstrating they are necessary to promote water quality or which do not carry adequate public funding to implement so that farmers will not be forced out of business.

Nutrient By Products/Soil Conservation: WCA encourages State and Federal agencies to expand the numbers and types of educational materials on soil erosion, nutrient management and water quality for farmers, and increase cost-sharing and other programs to promote voluntary participation in beneficial environmental programs.

Livestock Siting: WCA supports Wisconsin’s Livestock Siting Regulations which are contained in Wis. Admin. Code s. ATCP 51. WCA support statewide uniform standards for siting livestock operations. WCA believes that livestock siting regulations should not be more restrictive than the state's nonpoint source pollution standards. WCA further supports the use of scientifically proven best management practices to mitigate odor and address air emissions from livestock operations.

Environmental Standards or Requirements: WCA supports protection of Wisconsin’s natural resources. WCA is however opposed to the adoption of any environmental standard or requirement that is not based on sound science and sound public policy. WCA is also opposed to any attempt to misuse any environmental standard or requirement to regulate an activity it was never intended to regulate.

Energy

Ethenol Fuel: While WCA supports renewable energy including ethanol, we are not in support of government mandates in the ethanol industry. WCA is a proponent of a level playing field in the grains markets for our producers.

Farm Finance

Beginning Farmers: To maintain the family farm and to encourage the transfer of farms, there is a need to assist the beginning farmer. We urge that this be done through existing lending institutions, tax incentives, individual assistance and existing government agencies. We also urge that loan guarantees be extended to individuals providing land contracts just as are currently provided to lending institutions.

WHEDA: We support continuation of WHEDA loan programs to agriculture and agri-business.

National Issues

Livestock/Marketing

Disabled (Downer, non-ambulatory) Cattle: WCA supports policies to prohibit the slaughter of disabled (downer, non-ambulatory) cattle for the commercial food supply. Freshly injured animals should be able to be harvested for the owner’s personal use.

Market Access: WCA supports the investigation of the meat packing industry to determine the impact on producers and to take action against those companies which are adversely affecting market prices.

WCA favors removing the confidentiality portion of the Mandatory Price Reporting law.

WCA opposes any trade agreements with other countries that would not result in equal access in beef imports.

WCA favors federal government price supports of cattle in the event of an act of bio terrorism.


The Chicago Mercantile Exchange allows for the direct delivery of contract cattle to packing plants, however none are east of the Missouri River. WCA supports the establishment of a delivery point close to Eastern Iowa, Illinois & Wisconsin.

Meat Inspection: WCA endorses the concept of all Wisconsin State inspected meat processing plants be certified for interstate shipment of processed meat.

Many kinds of animals, birds and fish are designated as wild and therefore not subject to the mandatory inspection rules. This leaves open the possibility of undetected animal diseases among confined species.

The rules for all meat produced for human consumption should assure protection of health. WCA supports the extension of mandatory inspection of all species produced for the human food market and endorses the concept that all meat products should be subject to the same stringent requirements that the beef industry has operated under for years.

Beef Promotion: We support the Beef Promotion and Research Act Check-Off Program.

General Government

General Government

Taxes: WCA supports the elimination of inheritance and capital gains taxes which are a deterrent to keeping the working farm in the family. WCA supports the Dairy and Livestock Investment Tax Credit program.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): WCA supports the continuation and expansion of the EQIP program in that it enhances the environment while maintaining land under an agricultural use.

Animal Feeding Operation (AFO)/Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO): The various proposals which have been put forth by EPA serve only to duplicate and confound a very sound and workable system in Wisconsin. We are opposed to the Total Mass Daily Load’s and other proposals which may be needed in some parts of the nation but not in Wisconsin.

REVISED: March 2018