Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

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The Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is an appointed position in the Wisconsin state government. The secretary directs the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), which defines its mission as "working for a healthy environment, a healthy food supply, and healthy business practices,"[1] and works closely with the DATCP Board and the Governor's office.[1]

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Ben Brancel. He was born and raised in Marquette County, Wisconsin. He managed a dairy operation for 22 years and now runs a 290-acre family farm with his wife, son, and daughter-in-law.[2] He holds a BA in Animal science from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.[2]


Wisconsin law provides that heads of independent agencies may create and appoint such councils and committees as the operation of the agency requires.

Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 93.02, Staff

The secretary shall appoint all staff necessary for the carrying out of the duties of the department, all of whom shall be under the classified service except the deputy secretary, the executive assistant and, subject to s. 230.08 (4) (a), the administrators of divisions. Each such deputy secretary, executive assistant or administrator shall be appointed by the secretary with the approval of the board.

Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 93.06, Department powers

The state superintendent may:

(1)Designate representative: Designate the deputy state superintendent or another employee of the department as the state superintendent's representative on any body on which the state superintendent is required to serve, except the board of regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
(2)Educational meetings: Attend such educational meetings and make such investigations as the state superintendent deems important and as will acquaint the state superintendent with the different systems of public schools in the United States.
(3)Auxiliary instructional employees: By order, establish classes of auxiliary instructional employees and authorize their employment in the instructional program of the elementary and high schools for specific purposes and their reimbursement from the instructional budget. Auxiliary instructional employees shall not be covered as teachers as defined in s. 40.02 (55) or under s. 118.21, 118.22 or 121.006 (2) but shall be eligible under the public employee trust fund as participating employees as defined in s. 40.02 (46), if it is made applicable, other than through s. 40.21 (3), to the school district employing them.
(4)High school graduation equivalency: (a) Grant declarations of equivalency of high school graduation to persons, if in the state superintendent's judgment they have presented satisfactory evidence of having completed a recognized high school course of study or its equivalent. The state superintendent may establish the standards by which high school graduation equivalency is determined. Such standards may consist of evidence of high school courses completed in high schools recognized by the proper authorities as accredited, results of examinations given by or at the request of the state superintendent, successful completion of correspondence study courses given by acceptable correspondence study schools, a general educational development certificate of high school equivalency issued by an agency of the U.S. government, course credits received in schools meeting the approval of the state superintendent or other standards established by the state superintendent. (b) Promulgate rules establishing fees for issuing a declaration of equivalency of high school graduation or a general educational development certificate under par. (a). The rules may provide exemptions from the fees based on financial need. Cross-reference: See also ch. PI 5, Wis. adm. code.
(5)Teacher supply, information and analysis: Assist school boards, cooperative educational service agencies and county children with disabilities education boards to locate qualified professional school personnel, assist qualified professional school personnel to locate vacant positions and provide information and analysis of the professional school personnel supply.
(6)English language proficiency assessment system: Assist in the establishment of, and participate in, a consortium of state education agencies organized to obtain public and private funds to be used to purchase an English language proficiency assessment system.
(7) Teen pregnancy prevention: Apply for federal funds allocated to evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs that have been proven through rigorous evaluation to delay sexual activity, increase contraceptive use, and reduce teen pregnancy in order to implement such a program.


The specific duties of the Secretary of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection are outlined in Chapter 93.07 of the Wisconsin state code.

Some of the main duties of the office include: [3]

  • Regulations: "To make and enforce such regulations, not inconsistent with law, as it may deem necessary for the exercise and discharge of all the powers and duties of the department, and to adopt such measures and make such regulations as are necessary and proper for the enforcement by the state of chs. 93 to 100, which regulations shall have the force of law."
  • Forms: "To prescribe forms for all applications, notices and reports required to be made to the department or which are necessary in its work."
  • Promotion of agriculture: "To promote the interests of agriculture, dairying, horticulture, manufacturing, commercial fishing and the domestic arts and to advertise Wisconsin and its dairy, food, and agricultural products by conducting campaigns of education throughout the United States and in foreign markets. Such campaigns shall include the distribution of educational and advertising material concerning Wisconsin and its plant, animal, food, and dairy products. The department shall coordinate efforts by the state to advertise and promote agricultural products of this state, with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation where appropriate. The department shall submit its request and plan for market development program expenditures for each biennium with its biennial budget request. The plan shall include the identification and priority of expenditures for each market development program activity.
  • State aid to Livestock Breeders Association: To receive and examine, prior to its transmission to the department of administration, the biennial request for state aid of the Wisconsin Livestock Breeders Association; to transmit and make recommendations upon this request to the department of administration and the governor; and to advise as to the manner of expending and accounting for state moneys appropriated to that organization."
  • Advice to university of Wisconsin system: "To give advice to the state superintendent of public instruction as to the courses in agricultural economics to be given in the University of Wisconsin System."
  • Exhibits: "Upon authorization by the governor, to make such public exhibits as will tend to inform the public of the work of the department, and to give such aid in farmers' institutes, dairy and food and farmers' conventions and the agricultural department of the state university as may be deemed advisable."
  • Information:
    • (a) "To collect from the several counties information concerning the extent, condition and prices of farm crops; the number, conditions of health and value of farm animals; prevailing conditions of weather, and such other information as the department may deem of value to the agricultural interests of the state, and to publish monthly statements of such reports, for free distribution among the farmers and other interested persons of the state."
    • (b) "To collect and publish, in the form best calculated to attract to the state desirable immigrants and capital, information relating to the advantages and opportunities offered by this state to the farmer, the merchant, the manufacturer, the home seeker, and the summer visitor. The publication shall be subject to s. 35.29 and shall be in form of circulars, folders and pamphlets, and may be translated and printed in foreign languages; to cause to be inserted in newspapers, magazines and farm papers appropriate notices, and to maintain permanent exhibits in populous centers, if the department shall determine that the best interests of the state will be advanced thereby."
    • (c) "To furnish free, in its discretion, copies of the publications printed under its direction to advancement associations, and societies organized to promote immigration and the development and enrichment of the state, when application is made therefor; to furnish other persons such copies as may be requested at the actual cost of printing; and the money received for such copies shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the appropriation from which said cost of printing was paid."
    • (d) "To obtain from the heads of the several departments of the state government, the faculty of the state university and the several state institutions, and they are hereby directed to furnish to the department upon request, such information as may be at their command relating to the resources of this state."


There are seven main divisions within the office of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection:[4][5]

  • Division of Agricultural Development (DAD)
  • Division of Animal Health (DAH)
  • Division of Agricultural Resource Management (DARM)
  • Division of Food Safety (DFS)
  • Division of Trade and Consumer Protection (DTCP)
  • Office of the Secretary (OS)
  • Management Services


In 2010, the Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection was paid an estimated $123,248 according to the Council of State Governments.[6]

Contact info

2811 Agriculture Drive
P.O. Box 8911
Madison, Wisconsin 53708-8911
Phone: (608) 224-5012
Fax: 608-224-5034

See also

External links

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