The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is working on keeping more of the state’s young people involved in agriculture.

To help meet that goal, DATCP Secretary-designee Randy Romanski announced during the July 23 DATCP Board meeting the creation of the new Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council.

The purpose of the Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council is to encourage young people to engage with state government and increase their awareness of DATCP’s role in Wisconsin’s agriculture industry, Romanski said.

“The background of the council is working to encourage young people to engage with state government and increase their awareness of DATCP’s agriculture industry,” he said. “We want to continue to encourage any young person who’s interested in remaining in agriculture in Wisconsin — even through COVID-19 — there are opportunities out there.

“Agriculture is part of our future, as well as our past and present.”

The Council will be comprised of 15 high school seniors from across the state who represent a variety of interest areas in Wisconsin’s agriculture industry.

“Whether it’s continuing on their family farm, working for an agribusiness, or working in a government agency, we’re trying to grow awareness of DATCP’s role because we believe there will be interaction with DATCP no matter where they are,” Romanski said.

In its first year, the Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council will meet each month beginning in September. These monthly virtual meetings will feature presentations by DATCP staff on a variety of topics, breakout sessions, and opportunities to rotate through leadership positions within the group. A final all-day session will be held in May.

Students will serve a one-year term on the Council. To apply, students need to submit a completed one-page application, resume, 300-word essay, one-minute video, and letter of recommendation.

The application and additional details are available at agyouthcouncil.wi.gov. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 21.

“There are a wide variety of careers available in the agriculture industry, from production to marketing to IT and much more,” Romanski said. “We’re excited to share the opportunities more widely with Wisconsin’s young people who want to help shape the future of agriculture in our state.”

For more information about the Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council, email DATCPAgYouthCouncil@wisconsin.gov.

Budget issues

On July 22, Gov. Tony Evers ordered $250 million in new cuts to state agencies for the 2020-21 fiscal year, and Romanski said DATCP will do its best to provide the services the public expects while faced with the budget reduction.

Romanski said the announcement of the cuts comes early enough in the fiscal year that it will give agencies the opportunity to spread the cuts out over the course of the year.

“DATCP will do it’s best in addressing the savings measures that are asked of us,” he said. “The agency certainly steps up when we are asked to do this. We will do our best to continue to provide the services that we provide.”