Family Farmers: “Sheila Harsdorf Should Know Better, She Was a Farmer"

Harsdorf Beholden to Corporate Farms, Turned Back on Family Farmers Years Ago

RIVER FALLS, WI – Despite owning a farm for years, it’s become increasingly clear that Sheila Harsdorf has forgotten the struggles that family farmers across Wisconsin face each day to stay afloat. While Harsdorf’s support of Walker’s extreme budget promises to decimate key aspects of the agricultural industry, Sheila Harsdorf’s anti-family farm agenda spans the majority of her political career.

For one farmer, John Schaefer of Spring Valley, WI, it all started with Harsdorf’s opposition to the Family Farm Protection Act in 2002. According to Shafer, Harsdorf put corporate farms ahead of family farms – a grave indication of the senator’s perverse priorities. And while Walker and Harsdorf are bankrolling corporate farms with millions in grants, they are simultaneously slashing BadgerCare, a program that is critical for family farmers to maintain their independence.

“This is a culture that is worth preserving,” explained Shafer, whose farm has been in his family for nearly 100 years. And with scores of family farms across the 10th Senate District – who collectively feed thousands of families in the region – not preserving the culture doesn’t seem to be an option.

But Harsdorf’s unbridled assault on family farmers would suggest the senator sees it differently. When Sheila Harsdorf voted for Walker’s extreme budget, she voted to exempt polluters from basic environmental standards and she voted to burden communities with increased costs to implement Clean Water Fund programs – effectively putting the vitality of the environment at jeopardy in one foul swoop.

And if slashing healthcare and degrading the environment weren’t enough, Harsdorf seems intent on attacking education programs important to  farmers. Quietly tucked in Walker’s extreme budget is more than $35 million in cuts for technical colleges, resulting in a nearly 6% tuition increase – cuts that will stifle agricultural innovation by putting continuing education programs out of reach for family farmers.

Above all else, one thing is clear: Sheila Harsdorf was a farmer and she should know better.

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