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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wisconsin farmers are struggling and the Trump administration’s trade wars aren’t helping, in fact they are hurting the state’s agriculture economy, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says. On July 25, Baldwin called on the Trump Administration to take immediate action to support farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs and protect the agriculture community that is vital to Wisconsin’s economy.  

In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Senator Baldwin offered suggestions for the administration on how to bring immediate relief to Wisconsin farmers, including using tools provided in 2018 Omnibus to provide direct assistance to farmers struggling under tariffs and prioritizing commodity purchases of agriculture products, including for donation to food banks to help with oversupply.

The letter also called for a strategy to maintain the strength of agriculture exports.

“In Wisconsin, retaliatory tariffs have impacted a variety of crops and products, from dairy products, including specialty cheeses, to kidney beans, soybeans, corn, cranberries, beef, pork, ginseng and others.  The impacts are not only depressing commodity prices, they are also crushing the spending power of farmers to buy equipment and pay their bills.  It is causing processors to face a range of extremely difficult choices as they face warehouses of unshipped product, uncertainty in how to manage production in the near future, and upended plans to invest in new infrastructure and expand their businesses for the long term,” Senator Baldwin wrote.

Related: Ron Johnson on aid to tariff-hit farmers: 'Becoming more like a Soviet-type economy here'

“Though these related impacts may be less visible, they are having a real and costly impact on the rural economy and the ability of rural businesses to keep their doors open," Baldwin continued. "The retaliatory tariffs are also taking effect at a time when the agriculture economy is already facing severe challenges with low prices and oversupplies.  In the past year, Wisconsin has lost more than 500 dairy farms.  Without prompt action, we could lose farmers and the rural businesses they support and depend on at an even more rapid rate.”

The Senator added, “I am calling on the Trump Administration to develop a plan that would provide immediate support to farmers unfairly hurt by retaliatory tariffs and include a strategy to maintain the strength of agriculture exports.”

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