Jordan Lamb
WCA Legislative Council
DeWitt, LLP

WCA and Legislative Action

The Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association (WCA) is the voice of the Wisconsin Cattle Producer.

Through our legislative efforts in Madison, we continue to represent and protect the beef producer's best interests. We work closely with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to stay informed of national issues that will affect Wisconsin beef producers. Our membership and Board of Directors work daily to keep beef demand strong in Wisconsin and the country.

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Legislative Update

We are excited to share our legislative key wins that reinforce the impact the Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association has on the industry. Please use these materials during membership conversations, producer meetings, events, and more. For printed copies of these materials, reach out to the Wisconsin Cattlemen's office at [email protected]

Wisconsin Legislative Update 

The Wisconsin State Legislature remains out of session until January 2023. However, the Joint Committee on Finance still meets to address ongoing issues and work on administrative rules continues.   

WI Supreme Court Allows Walker-appointee to Stay on NR Board Until Successor Confirmed

A split state Supreme Court ruled on June 29, 2022, that Wausau dentist, Frederick Prehn, may continue to serve on the DNR Board until the GOP-controlled state Senate confirms his successor even though his term expired more than a year ago. This is the final step in the battle over the Walker-appointed Prehn and his refusal to step down from his Board position until the Senate confirms his successor. The Senate, controlled by Republicans, has refused to confirm Gov. Evers’ appointee. The battle went all the way to the WI Supreme Court. In the 4-3 ruling, the court found the expiration of Prehn’s term does not create a vacancy under state law. Prehn, appointed to the board by former Republican Governor, Scott Walker, may only be removed from the body by Governor Evers “for cause.” The court reached a similar conclusion in 1964, and Chief Justice Annette Ziegler wrote for the majority saying that the prior ruling “remains as sound today as it did when the case was first decided.” With Prehn staying on the Board, the Board is controlled 4-3 by Walker-appointees. If Prehn steps down, then the Board majority would switch to 4-3 with Evers’ appointees. Read the decision:   

Finance Committee Releases Funding for New Nitrogen Grant Program and Cover Crop Rebate Program 

On August 17, 2022, the Joint Finance Committee met and approved the release of $2.6 million to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for the new nitrogen optimization grant program ($1.6 million) and cover crop insurance premium rebates ($800,000). The commercial nitrogen optimization pilot program will provide grants to producer projects that optimize the application of commercial nitrogen, while the cover crop insurance rebate program provides eligible farmers with rebates of $5 per acre of a cover crop planted for crop insurance premiums paid on those acres. These programs were created under 2021 WI Act 223, authored by Rep. Kitchens and Sen. Cowles and were widely supported by Wisconsin agricultural and agribusiness groups. With this funding, DATCP can now proceed with the administrative rulemakings and implementations of both of these great programs for farmers in Wisconsin.   

New Ag Export Program Funds Released by Finance Committee

Also on August 17, the Joint Finance Committee approved the release of $558,000 to support the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports (WIAE). Since March 2022, the WIAE allowed 20 Wisconsin companies to participate in trade promotion activities. This resulted in at least $460,000 in initial export sales and $1.59 million in anticipated sales one year following the events. Additionally, the initiative provided 16 Wisconsin companies and organizations with more than $377,000 in grants to help expand state agricultural exports.   

DATCP Holds Hearing on Nitrogen Optimization Grant Program and Cover Crop Rebate Emergency Rules

On August 18, 2022, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection held agency public hearings on draft emergency rules to implement the commercial nitrogen optimization grant program and the cover crop insurance premium rebate program. All testimony at the public hearing was in support of the rules. Written comments were due on August 22, 2022. It is expected that the programs could be in place this fall with grants funded by the end of the calendar year.      

Positions on the Issues

Learn more about the issues and where WCA stands in order to protect the best interests of the beef industry on state and national levels.

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2021-23 Biennial Budget Summary

On July 8, 2021, Governor Evers signed the 2021-23 biennial budget bill. The bill provides for approximately $88 billion in spending for the State of Wisconsin over the next two fiscal years. 

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Have questions or comments about any of our Legislative Efforts?

Email Eric Johnson or call 608-516-4125. We would love to hear from you!