Possible progress on Wisconsin dairy farm crisis
MADISON - As Gov. Scott Walker praises President Donald Trump for imposing tariffs on Canada following a policy change that left dozens of Wisconsin farms without a milk buyer, a state official said Tuesday that around 15 more farms have found buyers or have promising leads.
If those deals go through, that means 20 to 25 of the 58 farms dropped by Grassland Dairy will still need to find other buyers by Monday.
"We're continuing to find homes for farmers' milk," said Daniel Smith, a state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection administrator. "Our figures change almost by the hour."
Smith said he hadn't heard any updates from Walker or Trump. But Walker said in a news release Tuesday that he spoke with Trump Monday and Tuesday about the Wisconsin farmers seeking help after being dropped after a change in Canada's pricing policy for domestic milk evaporated the demand for U.S. milk. Walker said Trump talked about his decision to impose new tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber in response.
"It was great to talk to you this morning," Walker told Trump on Twitter after the conversation. "Thanks for supporting WI dairy farmers!!!"
Trump also referenced the crisis on Twitter a day after announcing the tariffs: "Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!"
When visiting Wisconsin last week, Trump vowed to help and called Canada's policy changes "very unfair."
The impacted farms in Wisconsin ranged in size from 12 cows to 3,200 cows. Many have said they'll have no choice but to sell their cows and shut down if they don't find new buyers for their milk.Farms in New York and Minnesota were also affected by the change.