Monday, March 9, 2015

Farmers and Rural Walker supporters targeted for big cuts that could contaminate drinking water and damage land conservation, lakes and streams.

No really, say goodbye to clean lakes and streams. And don’t drink Wisconsin’s water either.

Farm Program never consulted by Walker: If Scott Walker is trying to appeal to Iowa voters, especially rural farmers, than his latest budgetary cut should make them run the other way. In fact, Walker and the Republicans have betrayed them. As I've pointed out so many other times, the Democrats have been backing rural Wisconsin businesses and farmers for years. I've got a list of stories here.

Walker’s budget guts everything. Both the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Discovery Farms were never consulted by Walker. It's all part of spinning the UW off.
WSJ: Researchers and supporters of a program that helps farmers run cleaner and more efficient operations say they were “stunned” and “blindsided” by Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to cut a third of the project’s funding. Discovery Farms, a UW-Extension program that dates to 2001, applies science … to control runoff, calibrate fertilizer use and employ techniques to conserve land and water.

It has a $750,000 budget, of which $248,000 would be cut in the governor’s proposed state budget … UW-Extension noted the loss affects longstanding projects and the ability of the small program to leverage crucial additional grants and funds.
Apparently, Walker wants to get rid of a surcharge on the sale of farm chemicals, resulting in shortfalls and thus, cuts to the program:  
An Omen we ignored...
The project’s programs include monitoring 20 state farms and educating thousands of farmers on conservation strategies. “This was a big surprise to our agency partners as well as our partners in farm groups and in UW-Extension,” she said. “We never had an inkling.”

The $248,000 comes from a surcharge on farm chemical sales that would be discontinued.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, a statewide farm support association, was puzzled by the proposed cuts to agricultural research and noted specifically “the innovative on-farm work” of Discovery Farms in its response to the budget. “We are obviously going to be working with the Legislature to reinstate the funding,” said Farm Bureau lobbyist Paul Zimmerman, citing a need for “farm research that backs up regulatory models.”

Deleting the related fertilizer surcharge also drew the attention of the Farm Bureau. That money finances the Fertilizer Research Council and related projects researching soil management, plant nutrition problems, and surface water and groundwater problems that are related to fertilizer use.
Walker doesn't want the UW to get funding, that much is even clearer.
In 2013-14, those fees brought $280,000 to the UW System for research and $166,300 to UW-Extension for outreach, sums separate from the funding for Discovery Farms.

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