Gov. Evers appoints southwest Wisconsin farmer to Natural Resources Board

By: - January 13, 2023 5:21 am

The farm of Paul Buhr, a Democrat who lost an Assembly election in 2018. (Henry Redman | Wisconsin Examiner)

Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday that he was appointing Viroqua dairy farmer Paul Buhr to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board in a step that will further the Democrats’ newfound control over the body responsible for guiding the state’s environmental policies. 

Buhr is being appointed to replace Republican appointee William Bruins, who resigned from the board at the end of 2022. 

“Paul has deep roots as a Wisconsin dairy farmer and dedicated himself to ensuring our farmers and resources are getting the protection they need,” Evers said in a statement. “He is a strong advocate and champion for land and water conservation, and he understands that protecting our environment and family farms is a priority for Wisconsin’s future. I look forward to working with him and have no doubt he will bring a vast amount of knowledge to the DNR board.”

For 45 years, Buhr owned and operated the dairy farm Rabur Holsteins where he won the Wisconsin Master Agriculturalist Award and received the Dairy Farm of the Year Award in 1998. The farm has now transitioned to growing cash crops.

Paul Buhr (Office of Governor Tony Evers)

Buhr has served on a number of other state boards, including a current role on the Wisconsin Technical College Board, a seat Evers said Buhr will give up to serve on the NRB. 

“I am honored to represent the farmers of Wisconsin on the DNR Board,” Buhr said. “Preserving our natural resources while producing our food is a challenge and a goal of everyone in agriculture.”

Buhr’s appointment to the board is part of a massive shift in its makeup after Republicans had clung to a majority for two years. Former member Frederick Prehn recently resigned his seat after refusing to leave long after his term had expired. 

Buhr’s appointment is subject to confirmation in the Republican-controlled state Senate. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) has previously stated that he might not confirm Evers’ nominees to the board because they’re too “political.” 

Even without confirmation, Buhr and Evers’ other recent nominees, will be able to serve on the board until receiving a vote. The terms of two other Republican appointees, Greg Kazmierski and Terry Hilgenberg, are set to expire in May.


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.