Farmers react to Gov. Evers passing Wisconsin Act 5

Being environmentally friendly can get expensive, but Act 5 will allow producers to apply for grants from DATCP and the DNR
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 10:24 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Wis. (WSAW) - Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill this week that aims to help farmers protect the state’s waters from run-off pollution as they make an effort to protect their watersheds, not allowing rain and snow to drain into nearby bodies of water.

More sustainable farming doesn’t come without a price though.

Dana Christel with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, or DATCP, said this new bill will allow more farmers to get the money needed to join the movement.

“Before, they may only work in one small watershed but now they can reach more farmers, more farmland with their different conservation program offerings and different outreach strategies,” Christel said.

Farmer and General Manager of Miltrim Farms David Trimner said they’ve already been thinking about the program and working on the future of their land.

“For us, we try to implement more practices as possible to reduce water use and reuse water and in the fields means keeping the soil in the and keeping the nutrients in the field and long term that is going to help create really productive soils for generations to come,” said Trimner.

Being environmentally friendly can get pretty expensive, but Act 5 will allow producers to not only apply for grants from DATCP, but also the DNR.

“We have invested quite a bit in corn planter, sometimes barriers to doing some of these things so this bill a good way to get over that barrier for other farms,” Trimner added.

Matt Oehmichen of Colby, a member of a watershed group, believes this bill will strengthen Wisconsin’s farming industry, “This is going to give us a stronger farming economy. We can have farmers create better land use and protect our natural resources.”

A 2021 DATCP report stated efforts have already prevented more than 120,000 pounds of phosphorous and 182,000 tons of eroded soil from leaving farmlands.