Democratic candidates tour farms to tout ag policy

BELLEVILLE, Wis. — Democratic candidates running to replace U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in the fall have been turning to farms to tout their credentials on agriculture policy.

That included Sarah Godlewski, the current state treasurer, who stopped by a farm outside of Belleville Monday.

“We’ve got to make sure Wisconsin has a voice at that table,” she said. “We’ve been number one in farm bankruptcies for three years in a row, and we’ve got to make sure we’re doing everything we can to support our family farmers.”

Sarah Godlewski At A Belleville Farm

Sarah Godlewski speaks with Bert Paris at his farm near Belleville, Wisconsin, June 6, 2022.

She said part of that will come as the U.S. Senate works on the next farm bill, which helps set policy in areas such as agriculture and even food stamps. It is due in 2023.

“What are opportunities where we, for example, can leverage the farm bill to reward practices like regenerative and sustainable farming?” she said. “I think that there are some real opportunities here.”

Godlewski is not the only candidate taking the campaign trail to farms. Mandela Barnes, the current lieutenant governor, recently finished a “Barnes for Barns” tour and rolled out an endorsement by a coalition of Wisconsin farmers.

“Our family farms are the backbone of this state and an integral part of our history, our economy, and our communities,” he said in an interview with News 3 Now. “There’s still so much more work that we need to do to make sure that the farm bill actually benefits our small family farms instead of the big corporate monopolies.”

As for the farmers themselves, Bert Paris, who owns the Belleville farm Godlewski toured Monday, said issues like price and supply control for dairy would make a difference for farmers like him. He has owned a grass-fed organic dairy operation for the past 30 years.

“The other is climate change,” Paris said. “The climate is affecting the way we farm a little bit. We have to change things, and it’s not always the easiest.”

Godlewski and Barnes face other Democrats in the Aug. 9 primary, and the winner will face Johnson in the Nov. 8 general election.