Global trade importance hit home when 75 Wisconsin dairymen were notified that their milk processor would no longer accept their milk as of May 1 due to a Canadian import rule change. Many of these producers are members of the Wisconsin Holstein Association.
We need solutions for the dairy farmers that have lost their milk processor due to trade barriers they can't control. As important, we need to address the underlying issue of our current milk supply and it's vulnerability from trade partner actions. This situation puts the livelihoods of dairymen and their family farms in jeopardy as well as the farm's suppliers and the food handlers involved in processing their milk.
In Wisconsin, the dairy industry is a vital economic driver for our state's economy and especially for our rural communities. This $43.4 billion industry affects every Wisconsin citizen when it is adversely affected. For Wisconsin to remain a leader in this industry, the infrastructure needs to have the capacity to process the milk that these innovative, progressive and passionate dairymen produce.
On behalf of the over 3,000 members of Wisconsin Holstein Association:
- We encourage State, National and Federal Trade representatives to work united in finding a solution to Canada's disregard of NAFTA trade obligations.
- We urge legislative leaders to understand the dairy industry's sensitivity to global trade agreements and urgently ask you to explore resources to assist the 75 producers without a home for their milk.
- As each Wisconsin dairy cow generates $34,000 a year in economic activity, we also urge legislative leaders to understand the trickle-down ramifications felt by the entire state economy when dairying struggles or dairy farms are lost.
- We urge the legislature to explore safety net programs similar to WI Chapter 126 Wisconsin Agricultural Producer Security Fund designed to protect agricultural producers from financial defaults by those purchasing the producer's products.
- We, as an association, are united in our support for all producers affected by these challenges and will remain steadfast in our commitment to the hard-working dairy families in our state.
Board of Directors
Wisconsin Holstein Association