Agriculture & Food Systems Regional Partnership
The Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board (NWWIB) recognizes that the agricultural and food systems sector has an enormous potential to create jobs and add value to the regional economy. In particular, the Chequamegon Bay region has been experiencing a surge in interest and need for sustainable and local foods. With the expansion of the Chequamegon Food Co-Op and several local businesses signing the Lake Superior Good Food Charter and the Superior Compact, there has been an increased demand for local foods. According to the 2020 economic projections for northwest Wisconsin, this industry sector will see considerable growth (+46.3%). In northwest Wisconsin, the demand for jobs in this region will be 88% above the national average. This demand for local foods has the potential to create a catalyst for this industry sector to expand at a rapid rate. However, solutions need to be developed in order to address issues of labor supply, small business expansion, and processing and distribution of products.
NWWIB is currently exploring how to help this industry sector grow. Initiatives that the NWWIB is researching include developing current and future farmers’ entrepreneurial skills, farm internships, and engaging youth to pursue careers in agriculture.
If you are interested in being involved in future workforce and economic development initiatives, please contact Mary Lois Bolka, Sector & Strategies Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-682-9141, ext. 118.