Wisconsin eyes big growth in agricultural exports, has new 5-year plan to reach goal
Wisconsin wants to export more of its agricultural products to the world, and it has a $5 million plan to increase international sales by 25 percent over the next five years.
The Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports is the result of AB 314, a measure passed unanimously by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Tony Evers in late 2021. The new law directs two state agencies — the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. — to meet the 25 percent goal by collaborating on new export-focused strategies.
The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee released first-year funds for the initiative in February. AB 314 specifies amounts to be spent on each product area over the five years: $2.5 million on milk and dairy, $1.25 million on meat and meat products, and $1.25 million on crops and crop products.
These new state dollars will be used to promote products made in the state, cultivate and train Wisconsin agricultural exporters, and elevate the Wisconsin brand across the world. In 2021, Wisconsin hit a record high for the value of its agricultural exports — more than $3.96 billion. Dairy products are the state’s top export commodity.
The past year also was a record for all U.S. farm and food products: $177 billion sold around the world. The top four markets for these products are China, Mexico, Canada and Japan; together, they account for 55 percent of U.S. agricultural exports.
Saskatchewan also reported record-high agricultural exports in 2021, a total of $17.5 billion.