State Representative Amy Sue Vruwink, D-Milladore, chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture issued the following statement after Governor Jim Doyle signed Assembly Bill 756, 757, 746, and Senate Bill 527 into law. Representative Vruwink authored all three Assembly bills, and is the Assembly lead author of Senate Bill 527.
"I was pleased to watch Gov. Jim Doyle sign into law these bills that have the ability to create good paying jobs and promote Wisconsin's agriculture for years to come. Wisconsin needs to find ways to create jobs and create opportunities for Wisconsin's farmers to flourish and maintain the $59 billion dollar industry that is the backbone of our state's economy, these bills becoming law will do just that," said Vruwink. Doyle said last week, however, that he isn't ready to sign the Raw Milk bill into law.
Assembly Bill 756 will extend the Dairy Farm Tax Credit , which since 2004 has resulted in more than $50 million dollars in tax credits to production agriculture and has generated more than $500 million dollars in private-on-farm investment. The original tax credits expired in January 2010. Assembly Bill 757 will provide a refundable food processing and distribution tax credit equal to 10% of modernization or expansion cost for Wisconsin food processors and distributors. Assembly Bill 746 will create the framework for a statewide Farm to School Program. It would also establish a statewide Farm to School Advisory Council within the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection and would create a statewide Farm to School coordinator and grant program. Senate Bill 527, known as the Producer Security legislation will provides some crucial improvements to Wisconsin's Agricultural Producer Security program within the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection.
"All four of these proposals passed the Assembly Committee on Agriculture unanimously and all of them have passed both houses of the State Legislature with overwhelmingly bi-partisan support, and now the Governor has signed them into law. This shows everyone in production Agriculture that the State legislature is committed to promoting and protecting the industry," stated Vruwink.