Newsmakers: Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection Secretary Ben Brancel
Ben Brancel, secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, had his doubts when he had a chance to go to Vietnam to promote Wisconsin agricultural exports. But in a Jan. 20 Newsmakers interview, Brancel said he returned from that country with an order for 1,000 Wisconsin heifers and hopes that Vietnam could be a lucrative new trade partner. Brancel also said many parts of Wisconsin’s farm economy — milk production, grain crops, and beef and pork producers — had a strong 2011. He also said he was generally happy with existing limits on the sale of raw milk, which is an emotional issue in the Legislature. A former state Assembly speaker, Brancel also lamented the trend of "one issue" Capitol politics that has launched drives to recall Gov. Scott Walker and state senators.