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Dairy Innovation Hub included in final state budget

During the state budget deliberations, the Joint Finance Committee added a total of $8.8 million over the biennium for the UW Dairy Innovation Hub — $1 million in the first year and $7.8 million in the second year. This new funding for dairy research is included in the Joint Finance Committee supplemental appropriation. Governor Tony Evers vetoed some items included in the Joint Finance Committee supplemental appropriation, but not the dairy innovation hub.

In his July 3 veto message, Gov. Evers said, “This investment will draw top dairy farming researchers to our state and ultimately help our dairy farmers grow their businesses.”

The concept was developed by industry partners and UW campuses and recommended by the state’s Dairy Task Force 2.0. The proposal provides additional funding to UW campuses with schools of agriculture: UW–Madison, UW-River Falls and UW-Platteville. The funding will be used to hire faculty, post-docs and graduate students and support a dairy management academy and research infrastructure, all with the goal of advancing dairy and agriculture in Wisconsin. The university researchers will focus on stewarding land and water resources, enriching human health and nutrition, ensuring animal health and welfare and growing farm business and communities — priorities identified by the Dairy Task Force 2.0.

In order for funds to be released, UW System must submit a proposal to the Joint Finance Committee for their consideration and approval. Faculty and deans from the three UW campuses are working together to draft a proposal based on Senate Bill 186, the Dairy Task Force 2.0 recommendations and the original concept document to be considered by UW leaders and members of the Joint Finance Committee in the coming weeks.