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State tax credit will help Janesville farm to add jobs

(Published Saturday, July 30, 2005)

By Jay Webster
Capitol News Service

MADISON-A new livestock investment tax credit program in the 2005-07 state budget will enable pheasant farmers, such as MacFarlane Pheasants in Janesville, to expand their operations and create new jobs, a company official says.

A new pheasant hatchery facility on the MacFarlane grounds can generate a minimum of four new full-time jobs, said Kris Beeler, company controller. And because many employees are cross-trained in multiple areas, their skills can be used in other departments, she said.

Although automation can improve efficiency, Beeler said automation at MacFarlane would have little negative impact on full-time employment.

"When you are working with live animals, automation can only take you so far," she said.

The only positions likely to be affected would be seasonal summer positions and limited-term employment, Beeler said.

MacFarlane currently contracts much of its labor out of the area and even out of state. But the new tax credit program gives MacFarlane Pheasants the opportunity to hire locally and ensure that more of the company's birds are raised locally, Beeler said. It is unclear at this point what new facilities might be built or existing facilities upgraded, she said.

But Beeler said the primary focus is on expanding facilities for the breeding and hatching of day-old pheasant chicks because that area has "the greatest potential for growth.

"There are two new breeder barns that we are building this fall, and we plan to have them operational by November," she said.

Although the construction of the breeder barns was planned before the tax credit program was initiated, the tax credit eases the company's overall financial burden, Beeler said.

Senate Minority Leader Judy Robson, D-Beloit, was responsible for proposing an amendment to the Joint Committee on Finance budget that restored the eligibility of pheasant farmers for the tax credit.

Robson's amendment was the only Democrat-sponsored amendment to pass the GOP-controlled Senate.

The Assembly concurred on the amendment in a 91-4 vote after the budget passed the Senate. Gov. Jim Doyle signed the budget on Monday, also signing into law the amended livestock tax credit that includes pheasant farmers.

MacFarlane Pheasants plans to use its tax credit funds as soon as they become available to expand its operations and create jobs in the area, Robson said.

Beeler confirmed that MacFarlane Pheasants has sold to customers in Great Britain, Ireland and Kuwait.

The more that can be done to help, the better, Robson said.

"Anything that can be done to help an international enterprise (like MacFarlane Pheasants) to expand, create new jobs and contribute to the economic growth of Rock County and the state of Wisconsin is a great thing," she said.

Visit Mac Farlane Pheasants Inc on the web at

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