The Republican legacy: the decimation of America’s Dairyland

Thanks to the policies of Republican president Donald Trump and those Republicans who’ve been too scared to stand up to him Wisconsin’s dairy farms are in crisis. A new report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes Wisconsin’s dairy farms are being absolutely decimated, having lost almost 700 dairy farms in 2018, a rate of nearly two a day.

Here’s more about one of the primary causes for the dairy farm crisis in America’s Dairyland (emphasis added).

At the same time, foreign markets for American dairy products have shrunk in response to tariffs that President Donald Trump placed on foreign steel and aluminum. Cheese shipments to China have fallen almost 65 percent, according to industry figures, and exports to Mexico are down more than 10 percent.

Mexico and Canada have targeted rural America as a way to punish Trump, and the economic harm could be felt for years to come, said Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition.

“This should have changed in November when Trump declared success with his newly rechristened U.S.-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement replacing NAFTA,” Fischer said.

“In retrospect, it was a disingenuous statement: The administration has not lifted steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexican and Canadian products, and in response, those countries are refusing to (ratify) the pact or lift retaliatory tariffs, impacting dairy products and other items.”

Wisconsin farmers are getting about $10 million in payments from Trump’s farm bailout program announced late last year. It was designed to help producers of milk, pork, soybeans, corn and other commodities who have seen prices tumble in trade battles.

A 55-cow dairy farm would receive a one-time payment of $725 from the bailout but stood to lose between $36,000 and $48,000 in income last year from low milk prices, according to the Wisconsin Farmers Union. A 290-cow dairy would get $4,905 but would lose several hundred thousand dollars.

If Donald Trump and his Republican enablers don’t take this problem seriously Wisconsin’s dairy industry may well collapse – and along with that collapse we could see serious damage to our state’s economy, given how important the dairy industry is to the state’s economy – not to mention the damage such a collapse would do to our collective psyche given how fond so many of us are for living in America’s Dairyland.


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