New law increases CALS’ flexibility to manage ag research land holdings

On Tuesday, March 1, Governor Scott Walker signed into law legislation granting the Board of Regents authority to approve sales and purchase of CALS agricultural research lands. It was one of 58 bills the governor signed at the Wisconsin State Capitol on Tuesday.

By returning authority for approval of land sales and acquisition to the Board of Regents, rather than the State Building Commission and Department of Administration, the college will have increased flexibility in managing the land holdings in our Agricultural Research Station network.

Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) sponsored the legislation in the state Senate. Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) was the primary sponsor in the Assembly. Representatives Edward Brooks (R-Reedsburg), Mary Czaja (R-Irma), Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa), Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton), Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel) and Al Ott (R-Forest Junction) co-sponsored the Assembly Bill.

Earlier this year, the bill passed the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities and the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges. It passed the full Assembly and Senate on voice votes in February.

Senior Associate Dean Dick Straub said, “We are extremely pleased with the passage of this important legislation and for the support of the legislators who championed our cause. This increased flexibility will help us to respond more quickly when land we currently rent comes up for sale – a situation we expect at more than one location in the near future.”

Bill Signing 30116 177
Present for the bill signing event were (L to R): Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi and primary Assembly sponsor), CALS Senior Associate Dean Dick Straub, CALS Associate Dean Heidi Zoerb, unknown staff member, Governor Scott Walker, UW-Madison Director of State Relations Matt Kussow, Rep. Ripp staff member Elisabeth Portz, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Senior Director of Government Relations Rob Richard, Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon and primary Senate sponsor), CALS agronomy faculty member Chris Kucharik.