Wisconsin farmers are struggling and the trade wars aren’t helping, in fact they are hurting the state’s agriculture economy. In an effort to call on the Trump administration to take action to support farmers hurt by the retaliatory tariffs U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin sent asking for more to help farmers.
The letter was sent to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. This letter was sent just before the announcement of the USDA implementing $12 billion in assistance programs to farmers affected by the retaliatory tariffs.
Even after the announcement 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 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,” said Senator Baldwin.
The USDA programs that were announced have devoted funds to help farmers in the industries of corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, cotton and dairy. There has been no inclination of how they plan to assist farmers in the specialty areas like ginseng and cranberries that are so vital to Wisconsin agriculture.
“There is no plan as of yet to my knowledge on how the administration plans to assist the specialty crops which is another area in which I urge the administration to take action and find markets for,” said Baldwin.
When it comes to the dairy industry it will see some aid from the new programs, but their problems started before the trade war. Senator Baldwin believes without continued action we will see more farms lost.
“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. Farmers need stability not volatility as well as fair trade, said Baldwin”