In a meeting with the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section Board on August 26, 2019, DATCP Secretary-designee Brad Pfaff shared his gratitude to the bankers for their involvement in an industry that brought $104.8 billion of economic impact to Wisconsin’s economy in 2018. This statistic makes agriculture the industry with the second highest economic impact on the Badger state, second only to manufacturing.

While the economic pain on the farm is real and the media may focus on the number of farm losses in the state, he reminded the group that it’s also important to focus on the positives. Wisconsin boasts a very diversified ag portfolio with a unique supply chain and value add system. Pfaff shared that in 2018, Wisconsin agriculture products were exported to 147 countries, with the top buyers being Canada, China, Mexico, South Korea and Japan.

During the meeting, Pfaff also highlighted a few of the 51 recommendations that came from the Dairy Task Force 2.0 and the opportunities that lie ahead for Wisconsin agriculture.

Joining Pfaff at the meeting was Krista Knigge, Division Administrator for DATCP’s Division of Agricultural Development.

Another topic of conversation that will continue to be on the forefront for WBA and the Agricultural Bankers Section is the proposed changes to the Livestock Siting rules. DATCP is in the middle of several public hearings being held across the state, and our WBA ag bankers were willing to share their feedback on the proposed rule draft as well. WBA plans to submit a comment letter on the rule draft.

The invitation to stay connected with the Secretary is an opportunity that the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section Board plans to take advantage of. As Pfaff stated to kick off the meeting, “Wisconsin agriculture needs you.” Agricultural bankers play a huge role in the success of the Wisconsin family farm and while there are challenges ahead, there’s also opportunities to grow the industry together.1

Kalscheuer is WBA director – education.