Special Report

Governor Doyle visits WFTD

Governor Jim Doyle made a stop at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days on Tuesday. The Governor noted that this is not his first visit to the Crave Brothers Farm as he commended the family farmers for being leaders in the dairy industry in America’s Dairyland. He also pointed to the various initiatives his administration has launched over the past few years in an effort to turn the industry around in the state. Those efforts have been paying off as the Governor noted that when he took office, everyone felt it was just a matter of time before California passed Wisconsin as the nation’s top cheese producer. Today, Wisconsin cheese production is steadily increasing while California production is declining. “Tell me now who has the happiest cows.”

The current financial situation of dairy producers is certainly one of the big topics of discussion at the show this year. That was also the topic of discussion when Doyle met with U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack in La Crosse last week. Doyle says he is convinced the USDA is going to do something to help dairy producers quickly. “This is a Secretary who understands what is happening in the dairy industry,” says Doyle, “He really understands how important price supports are at this difficult time.” The Governor says he is confident the Secretary knows help must be delivered in a couple of weeks, not a couple of months.

To go with that, the Secretary is also in conversation with ag lenders to work with dairy producers to help them through this situation. “Most of these loans are good loans,” says Doyle noting that this was not a collapse of farm credit this was a collapse of the financial world. “And that filtered down to little banks who are concerned about taking a risk.”

The Governor was also asked about an effort from the State Senate to change the rules for use-value assessment of farmland in the state. The provision was stripped from the state budget and Doyle says he would never sign a bill that changes use-value assessment.

AUDIO: Governor Jim Doyle talks about the current dairy situation 2:00

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