More than 2,000 farmers applied for COVID-19 relief payments in the opening days of the second round of the Wisconsin Farm Support Program.

As of early Aug. 13, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue had received 2,138 applications from farmers hoping for a cut of the approximately $8.4 million remaining from the $50 million Wisconsin Farm Support Program, which offers one-time direct payments to farmers struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The first round of Wisconsin Farm Support Program payments used about $41.6 million of the $50 million allocated for the program and were available for farmers who had a gross income between $35,000 and $5 million.

Eligibility for the second round includes farmers with $10,000 in gross income and above according to their 2019 tax filings. The upper income eligibility limit stays at $5 million.

“We did see in the first round of funding that there were some who were not eligible because of the income threshold,” Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary-designee Randy Romanski said during an Aug. 13 conference call with ag media. “We do expect some farmers who were below the previous threshold to have interest and apply this time.”

Gov. Tony Evers introduced the $50 million Wisconsin Farm Support Program in May. The funding is part of the money allocated to Wisconsin through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Applications will be accepted until Aug. 24. Farmers can apply online at www.revenue.wi.gov or by calling 608-266-2772.

Ag Youth Council

Applications are being accepted through Aug. 21 for the Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council.

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

“We look forward to this being an opportunity for us as an agency to be able to learn from them just as much as it is for them as hopefully future farmers or people who are engaged in the agriculture industry,” he said.

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.

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