New Wisconsin laws affect agriculture, conservation

A couple of new state laws will have an impact on Wisconsin’s agriculture businesses and conservation efforts. 

Friday, Governor Tony Evers signed Senate Bill 66 as Wisconsin Act 28, adjusting the maximum number of days a seasonal farm service industry employee can hold a restricted commercial driver’s license to 210 days, which matches current federal rules. The previous Wisconsin law limited the license to 180 days.

Evers also signed Assembly Bill 131 as Act 32, removing the requirement to appoint a county Farm Service Agency committee member to a county land conservation committee and replacing it with a requirement to appoint a person who is engaged in an agricultural use.  The new law also clarifies the definition of “agricultural use” as crop or forage production, keeping livestock, beekeeping, nursery, sod, floriculture, aquaculture, fur farming, forest management, or Christmas tree production. 

Wisconsin Farm Bureau applauded the bill signings.  President Keven Krentz says with the changes for conservation committees in Assembly Bill 131,  “We are confident that agricultural interests will continue to be well-represented in county conservation committees throughout Wisconsin.”  Krentz says, “We greatly appreciate the support of the legislators involved in the passage of these bills and the agricultural industry stakeholders who collaborated to bring these measures to fruition,” said WFBF President Kevin Krentz. “On behalf of our state’s farmers, thank you, Governor Evers, for signing these important measures into law today.”

The bill’s author, Senator Joan Ballweg says, “I am proud to have this bill signed into law. This ensures farmers maintain their voice on county land conservation committees. These committees play an important role in agriculture and local government.”

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