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February 22, 2020

2/4/2020 2:22:00 PM
Governor Tony Evers signs executive orders to support rural farmers
With rural economic challenges affecting Wisconsin's farmers being a major concern, Governor Tony Evers has been busy coming up with a three pronged plan that aims to support them.
On Thursday, Evers made a stop at Dodgeville's Cobblestone Coffee House and signed Executive Order #64 which called Wisconsin Legislature to in a special session on Tuesday January 28. This order is looks at a package of eight bills that hone in on calling attention to rural economic challenges facing Wisconsin.
The bills call attention on creating the Wisconsin Initiative for Dairy Exports, creating a regional mental health program which strives in coordinating and providing mental health support in rural communities, bolsters Wisconsin's farm-to-school program and establishes a farm-to-fork program-all of which will help connect farmers and the food they produce to universities, technical colleges, hospitals, and local businesses.
Evers also signed Executive Order #65 which creates a Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity.
He then introduced Missy Hughes, Secretary and CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
"For 16 years I worked with farmers and lived and raised my family in a rural community in southwestern Wisconsin," Hughes said. "I'm so proud to say I'm back working for farmers and rural communities with the governor and the lieutenant governor. I'm so excited to come forward and be able to really dig in and helping real communities, help farmers really regain the strength that's been key to the overall strength of Wisconsin."
The goal of the Office of Rural Prosperity is to offer rural communities the same opportunities offered to businesses.
"Businesses come to WEDC and access our programs to envision bigger projects, more job creation and we help them create that vision that's bigger and stronger than what they would have done on their own," Hughes said. ""This is not Madison telling rural communities what they need, this is rural communities having the opportunity to say 'this is what we need, these are where we can find strengths, these are the challenges that we have, and we're going to work on those conversations together, out in rural Wisconsin."
When asked why he called a special session versus a regular session Evers said that special session, "really focuses efforts on a topic and this topic is obviously our agriculture project."
"We have to do something more specific," Evers said. "So, it helps us focus and also helps us connect with some of these discussions."
Evers also visited on Thursday the Viroqua Food Co-Op, Feltz's Dairy Store in Stevens Point, St. Brigid's Meadow Farm in Coon Valley, the Farm Discovery Center in Manitowoc, and the Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center in LaCrosse.

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