Wisconsin Farm Support Program to help farmers and food banks
For the City Times
MADISON – The recently introduced Wisconsin Farm Support Program, a $50-million investment to provide direct payments to Wisconsin farmers in support of the agricultural sector during the COVID-19 pandemic and $15-million Food Security Initiative to combat hunger in Wisconsin, with aid both farmers and food banks.
“Wisconsin is a national agriculture leader, but COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for our farmers, food processors, and all those in the food supply chain. Federal aid so far has attempted to support agriculture nationwide, but Wisconsin farmers have been left out,” a release from Evers office said.
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 (DATCP). Farm support payments could begin arriving as early as June.
“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,” Evers said. “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.”
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.
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. These grants will bolster Wisconsin’s food supply chain by strengthening bridges, from producers and processors to food banks and consumers. This section of the Food Security Initiative will help ensure that the funding provided in the federal CARES Act goes to help Wisconsin organizations distribute nutritious Wisconsin food products to Wisconsin consumers who need them most.