Agency 101: Department of Ag, Trade & Consumer Protection

Oct 5, 2022 | Administration

Click here for a printable version of our report or read the full version below.

State Agency Fast Facts: 

The Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (DATCP) was created by Chapter 479, Laws of 1929. The department is overseen by a nine-member board, including two consumer representatives, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate for staggered six-year terms.

The department’s programs are administered through six divisions: Food and Recreational Safety, Trade and Consumer Protection, Animal Health, Agricultural Development, Agricultural Resource Management, and Management Services.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s budget is $221,221,800 for the 2021-2023 biennium, a 15% increase since 2017. DATCP employs 633 employees.

Taxpayer Alert DATCP

Did you know?

Wisconsin is #1 in cheese. Our state’s nearly 1,200 licensed cheesemakers produce over 600 types, styles and varieties of cheese – nearly double the number of any other state. Wisconsin cheesemakers make 25% ​of the nation’s cheese, producing 3.47 billion pounds in 2021.

Reform History:

In the 2017-2019 budget, Governor Walker proposed a feasibility study on moving some farming regulatory authority from DNR to DATCP. This study was pulled out of the budget by the legislature.

UW Madison established the nation’s first dairy school. Wisconsin continues to be a national leader today in agricultural research and practices. Ongoing innovation and education is supported through the UW System, UW Extension, and DATCP.

Keep an Eye on…

Beyond the economic challenges facing Wisconsin’s farmers, the state government has done little to alleviate unnecessary burdens. The regulatory environment in Wisconsin makes it harder for them to thrive and focus on farming.

Currently, farmers have to comply with regulations from two state agencies, DATCP and DNR. Like many areas of the Wisconsin economy, this industry would benefit from a more streamlined approach and a regulatory state that works alongside, rather than against the regulated community.

DATCP Leadership

Close Call:

In the 2021-23 budget, Governor Evers proposed $1.8 million in annual grant funding for county conservation staff to focus on climate change and climate change resiliency. Current grant funding is used for implementation of county land and water resource management plans, farmland preservation program administration, and livestock regulation. The legislature pulled this provision out of the budget.

IRG Wants to Know:

If you were in charge for a day, what reforms would you make to the department? Email Alex Ignatowski, IRG’s Director of State Budget and Government Reform, at AI@reforminggovernment.org.