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Wisconsin Farmers Union lobbying against water plans

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Wisconsin Farmers Union members are telling state lawmakers they don’t like proposed state groundwater management changes.

They are in Madison Tuesday (2/28/17) for their Farm and Rural Lobby Day.  Government Relations Associate Nick Levendofsky says they oppose moving high-capacity well authority from the DNR to the Department of Ag.  Levendofsky tells Brownfield members are also pushing for an amendment that no other ag organization supports.  “We’re looking for them to include periodic review of all well permits in any high-capacity well bill.  That is not what is currently in the bill.”

 

The high-capacity well bill introduced last week by Senator Scott Fitzgerald would eliminate the need for a new permit application when repairing and replacing old wells.

Levendofsky says they also support a beginning farmer student loan forgiveness measure authored by State Representative Mark Spreitzer of Beloit.  “He was working across the aisle to get some bipartisan sponsorship and it sounded like things were moving in a good direction.  He is actually going to speak to us on that at 11:00 a.m. so it will be good to hear an update from him.”

Spreitzer’s bill calls for reimbursing new farmers up to 30-thousand dollars for student debt over a five-year period based on financial need.  The recipients must commit to farming at least five years using sustainable farming practices.

Wisconsin Farmers Union also wants funding restored for a permanent farm-to-school coordinator.  The vacant position was eliminated in Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal.

 

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