COLUMBUS, Wis. — The past 18 months have been tough for a lot of people across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That includes Ed Bacon, a farm owner, from Columbus, Wisconsin.

“It was worse when COVID was first starting because we weren’t sure if we were going to have a market for milk or not with everything shutting down," said Bacon, the owner of Gurn-Z Meadow Farm. "Milk’s a perishable commodity. It has to have a home.” Bacon said things have improved over time, but farms like his are still struggling. 

“Most stuff is getting better, but we’re still having a lot of interruptions in our inputs that we get — parts, fertilizer, fuel — there’s a lot of delays yet," Bacon said. 

The struggles farmers are dealing with are why Governor Tony Evers is making more money available for them to apply to receive. 

“We know that the work that the farmers in Wisconsin do for Wisconsin, and investing in their long-term success is exceedingly important for our state," Evers said after touring Gurn-Z Meadow Farm on Wednesday. 

Evers announced $50 million is available for direct payment to Wisconsin farmers through the Wisconsin Farm Support Program

The money was part of what the state received from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

“And because these funds are unrestricted, basically farmers can use them however they see fit," Evers said. 

Evers said since farmers are busy preparing for the fall harvest, applications will open later this year. 

He added that will give more farmers enough time to learn about the program and apply. 

Bacon said he's glad to see the state stepping up to help farmers like him in these tough times.

“Over the last two years, over the length of COVID, they’ve done a lot," Bacon said. "It’s helped a lot."

To learn more about the program, click here