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Congressional Delegation Asks USDA for Dairy Farm Aid

Apr 05, 2020

Every member of Wisconsin's Congressional delegation joined together in signing a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking his agency to provide help for the state's struggling dairy industry. The memo was promoted by recent reports of dairy plants asking some of their patrons to dump milk because processors are running out of room to accept it.

"Wisconsin's dairy and agriculture economy is in crisis, and we write to ask for your immediate attention and aid," the letter said. "Supply chain disruptions are cascading through communities across the state, putting dairy farmers and dairy processors at immediate risk of layoffs and closure. Our dairy industry was already in a precarious situation after several challenging years and uncertainty in dairy markets. Coronavirus-related changes in consumer purchasing have caused rapid shifts in demand."

The lawmakers claim that if immediate action is not taken, the economic damage brought on by the Coronavirus could have a permanent effect in causing the closure of hundreds and possibly thousands of farms, rural businesses, and food processors.

Specifically, the group is asking USDA to purchase excess dairy products with money from the recent COVID-19 stimulus package and distribute those goods to food pantries through the Emergency Food Assistance Program. They would also like to see funding to states to help them resolve supply chain disruptions and keep agricultural products and food moving to consumers. And the letter calls for the reopening of the Dairy Margin Coverage program enrollment and make payments retroactive to the beginning of the year. 

The letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, along with Representatives Mike Gallagher, Glenn Grothman, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan and Bryan Steil.

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