DATCP Docket No. 15-R-10
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
TRADE AND CONSUMER PROTECTION
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer protection hereby adopts the following emergency rule to create ch. ATCP 52 relating to producer led watershed protection grants and affecting small businesses.
Analysis Prepared by the Department
of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
This emergency rule implements the “producer led watershed protection grants” program created under s. 93.59 Stats., by 2015 Act 55. Under s. 93.59 Stats., the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (“Department”) is authorized to make grants for nonpoint source pollution abatement activities that are conducted with the assistance of producer led groups. 2015 Act 55 created an annual appropriation in the Department of $250,000 for each year of the biennium for grants to producer led watershed groups.
This emergency rule does all of the following:
• Defines "legal entity" for the purposes of the grant program
• Specifies the application process for a grant
• Specifies activities that may be conducted using a grant
Explanation of Statutory Authority
The Department has broad general authority, under s. 93.07(1), Stats., to adopt regulations to enforce laws under its jurisdiction. Under s. 93.59(4), Stats., DATCP is authorized to adopt rules to define legal entity for purposes of the grant program, specify the grant application process, and specify the activities that may be conducted using a grant.
Related Rules or Statutes
There are no directly related rules or statutes, other than those cited above.
Plain Language Analysis
The Producer Led Watershed Protection Grants Program (“Program”) is designed to encourage producers to develop and use innovative approaches and/or conservation practices that reduce nonpoint source pollution within their watershed(s). The Program will also work to increase producer communication and education regarding environmentally and economically effective conservation activities. 2015 Act 55 appropriated $250,000 in grant funding for each year of the FY 2015-17 fiscal biennium. The Program will support projects proposed by producer-led groups that involve voluntary nonpoint source pollution abatement activities within their watershed with the purpose of improving water quality in that watershed, as well as efforts to increase additional voluntary farm and agribusiness participation, expanding the overall breadth of the program. Under s. 93.59 (5), Stats., DATCP may award no more than $20,000 of grant funding to any producer led group in any state fiscal year.
Grant recipients must meet all of the following eligibility requirements to be considered for funding:
(a) The producer-led group includes at least 5 agricultural producers each of whom operates an eligible farm, as defined in s.91.86 (1), Stats., in one watershed. The group may include additional agricultural producers who are not required to be operators of eligible farms.
(b) The group is formed through a memorandum of understanding with one of the following collaborating entities:
1. The department.
2. The department of natural resources.
3. A county land conservation committee.
4. The University of Wisconsin-Extension or the Discovery Farms program of the University of Wisconsin-Extension.
5. A nonprofit conservation organization.
(c) The group assists agricultural producers in the watershed to voluntarily conduct nonpoint source water pollution abatement activities.
(d) The group contributes matching funds at least equal to the amount requested.