Southwestern Wisconsin Farmer Appointed To DNR Board
Gov. Evers appoints Paul Buhr to replace Walker-appointee William Bruins.
Buhr owned and operated the dairy farm Rabur Holsteins for 45 years in southwestern Wisconsin. He’s been honored with the Wisconsin Master Agriculturalist Award and received the Dairy Farm of the Year Award in 1998. The farm has since transitioned to raising cash crops.
Buhr currently serves on several boards, including the Wisconsin Technical College System Board. Evers said he will resign from that position before assuming a role on the Natural Resources Board next Friday, Jan. 20.
“I am honored to represent the farmers of Wisconsin on the DNR Board,” Buhr said in a statement. “Preserving our natural resources while producing our food is a challenge and a goal of everyone in agriculture.”
Buhr’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the GOP-controlled state Senate. Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week that lawmakers will vote on Evers’ nominations. Even so, he told the paper some appointments to the DNR board were too political for lawmakers, warranting a closer look.
The Senate has yet to confirm around 180 people appointed by Evers. That includes fellow DNR board nominees Sharon Adams of Milwaukee and Drummond school teacher Sandy Naas. The two have experience in conservation and natural resources policy.
While Adams has assumed a position on the board, former board chair Fred Prehn had blocked Naas from taking a seat until recently. Prehn, who was appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker, resigned last month after refusing to step down for more than a year after his six-year term ended in May 2021.
Text messages released last fall showed that Prehn sought to maintain conservative control of the board. His presence ensured a 4-3 conservative majority of Walker appointees.
As first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Prehn sought advice from conservative lobbyists, state senators, Walker and former Republican candidate for governor Rebecca Kleefisch about his tenure on the board. In a text, Prehn wrote, “I’ll see if I can hang on till Becky gets in.” The text appears to be a reference to Kleefisch, who was defeated in the August primary election by Republican Tim Michels.
The court’s conservative majority ruled in June that Prehn could remain on the board indefinitely.
Gov. Tony Evers appoints southwestern Wisconsin farmer to Natural Resources Board was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.