Agriculture

Agriculture

Agriculture has a strong heritage in Wisconsin as one of the driving forces behind our state’s economy. In order to keep the sector growing, Senator Johnson has supported initiatives that will expand new and current markets to share our great made-in-Wisconsin products.  The Wisconsin agriculture industry should have the ability to provide products to and compete in both domestic and international markets, and Senator Johnson has worked to ensure that Wisconsin products are not unfairly excluded in local programs or abroad.

Some of Senator Johnson’s efforts include making sure white potatoes are not singled out from the WIC supplement nutrition program and asking for the fair treatment of common cheese names in EU trade negotiations.  He also sent letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services to encourage fair treatment of meats and cranberries in writing the federal dietary guidelines.

As a way of ensuring that schools can more effectively use their program dollars, Senator Johnson introduced the Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act.  This bill will allow schools the options of serving fresh along with frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables in the federally funded school snack program. Broader access to healthy foods for children is not only good for families — it helps the Wisconsin agriculture sector as well. 

Even though it continues to flourish, Wisconsin agriculture also faces many threats. Through his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Senator Johnson called a hearing to examine the threat avian influenza poses to both our economy, because of its potential impact on the poultry industry, and in the long term to public health. 

In addition, it is important to eliminate both international and federal barriers that can hinder Wisconsin’s agricultural economy. Senator Johnson has sponsored several bills and even held a hearing to highlight how certain new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency are a threat to affordable and reliable energy and a threat to farmers’ ability to work their own land.

Senator Johnson will continue to promote common-sense policies that ease regulation and promote growth within Wisconsin’s agriculture sector.

Cranberries:

  • Signed a letter to Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services regarding the use of sugar for palatability and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. Letter dated May 7, 2015.
  • Signed a letter to The Food and Drug Administration concerning changing food labels to include added sugar. Letter dated July 31, 2014.
  • Signed a Wisconsin delegation letter to the USDA asking that cranberries be added to its Foods Available List, allowing school districts to serve them. Letter dated November 2013

Dairy and Cheese:

  • Signed a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative and the UDSA regarding the European Union’s use of geographical indicators to protect what the U.S. considers generic cheese names. Letter dated March 11, 2014.
  • Signed a Wisconsin delegation letter to the USDA with concerns relating to cranberries and dairy in proposed school lunch program guidelines. Letter dated April 2013
  • Signed letter to the USDA, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency regarding regulating greenhouse gas methane emissions in the agriculture sector. Letter dated April 2014

Meat:

  • Signed a letter to the USDA and HHS questioning the scientific integrity of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s recommendation to remove lean red meat from the statement of a healthy dietary pattern. Letter dated March 12, 2015
  • Signed a letter to the Trade Representative and the USDA regarding the EU’s protection of common meat names through their geographical indicator system. Letter dated April 4, 2014
  • Signed letter to the Trade Representative and the USDA addressing the importance of market access for U.S. pork exports in the Transpacific Partnership. Letter dated Dec. 13, 2013.

Potatoes:

  • Signed a letter to the USDA asking it to include “white potatoes” in the WIC program. Letter dated May 2, 2014

Waters of the Unites States Rule (WOTUS)

  • Cosponsored the Federal Water Quality Protection Act of 2015 (S.1140)
  • Sent letter through HSGAC asking about Wisconsin Farm Bureau concerns about the EPA’s consultation with states and its enforcement of the rule. Letter dated Feb. 3, 2015
  • Sent follow-up letter through HSGAC about unaddressed concerns. Letter dated April 27, 2015
  • Signed letter to the EPA asking for an extension of the comment period. Letter dated April 3, 2014.
  • Signed a letter to the EPA regarding proposed rules concerning the formaldehyde emissions standards for composite wood products. Letter dated July 2013.

Clean Air

  • Cosponsored the Clean Air Strong Economics (CASE) Act of 2015 (S.751)
    • This bill addresses proposed changes to the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This regulation is projected to be the most expensive rule ever proposed by the EPA.
  • Cosponsored the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA) of 2015 (S. 1324)
    • This bill fights back against the EPA’s regulations on existing power plants by putting in place requirements that will ease the burden on Americans.