Wisconsin Ag Secretary, Ben Brancel, met with 25 agriculture lenders monitoring the situation with dairy farms that are still searching for a milk partner after May 1st. In an interview with Pam Jahnke, Brancel said the group had a lot of questions regarding the current situation with impacted dairies, and what state agencies were doing in the way of assistance.
Brancel also noted that Governor Scott Walker today presented a letter to President Trump during his visit in Kenosha, asking for immediate intervention over the Canadian dairy trade practices. See the letter link below. The letter was also signed by New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo.
Brancel said that many of the ag lenders were already meeting with dairies looking for another dairy partner. He noted that the ag lenders also suggested there may be a need to develop a state rule or regulation focused on notification parameters of this type. Lenders also suggested this brings up the question of requesting contracts for milk production as part of expansion plans. Right now, it’s all up for discussion. Brancel said everyone in the meeting agreed, this is a situation that Wisconsin’s dairy industry has not had to face before – so there are many questions left to be answered.
Farms still searching for a milk partner are reminded to stay in touch with the Wisconsin Farm Center – 800-942-2474. If you’ve found a partner, they want to know – if you’re still looking – they want to know.
Will there be any more meetings in the near future on this subject? “From here on out, I think it’s going to be very one on one,” Brancel said. His staff has put together an internal “game plan” that they are executing – which is another reason staying in contact with the Farm Center hotline is so critical.
And then the question no one wants to consider. What happens after May 1st? Even if lenders remain calm, cows will still be milked. What is going to happen with all the milk that has no home. Brancel said that it is his responsibility to coordinate a “preparedness plan”. The Wisconsin Housing Authority; DNR; Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Transportation are just a few of the state agencies that have already been contacted about the situation, and what plans need to be in place by May 1st. “Our plan is to never have to engage, or be a part of further discussions (in this matter) but it would be a disservice if a farmer called the farm center and we weren’t prepared to have some answers available for them, from the state administrative side.”