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DATCP needs to help put farmers in best possible position

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
With current low milk prices, farmers, regardless of how many cows they are milking, are having a hard time with cash flow.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Brad Pfaff sat down with WisconsinEye last month to talk about milk prices. 

Pfaff was tagged by Governor Tony Evers in December as the new ag secretary, succeeding Sheila Harsdorf.  

Related:Former FSA state director Brad Pfaff to serve as Secretary for DATCP

With current low milk prices, farmers, regardless of how many cows they are milking, are having a hard time with cash flow. 

"A farmgate level price between $18-$21 a hundredweight is something I think many farmers would feel very good about," Pfaff said. 

But how will that happen?

"We at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, we cannot make that happen. We cannot wave a magic wand and increase milk prices," Pfaff pointed out. "It’s a national issue, an international issue."

Pfaff said DATCP also recognizes the changing demands of consumer goods and what's happening in the marketplace. Pfaff sees the role of DATCP as helping "put farmers in the best possible position that we can."

"We need to be able to assist in finding new markets," said Pfaff. "We need to be able to assist them when it comes to linking what they do with what consumers need."

Pfaff said DATCP wants to make sure farmers recognize Wisconsin as the place to raise their families, be part of a larger community and enter into agriculture as a profession. 

"We want to be a welcoming part for them," Pfaff added.