Local dairy farmers concerned about trade disputes

Trade disputes between Mexico, China and Canada are raising concerns for dairy farmers here in Wisconsin.

The disputes are in response to President Trump’s new steel and aluminum tariffs, and one local farmer is unsure of what’s to come.

“We’ve never had this type of government intervention in our business,” James Juedes of Pleasant View Dairy said.

Nearly 90 percent of the dairy products produced in Wisconsin are exported both across the country and around the world.

Last year, the state produced more than 30 billion pounds of milk.

“It’s going to hit Wisconsin exceptionally hard because of how much milk we actually export outside of the state,” Juedes said.

Wholesale prices of dairy products are already falling as a result of the looming tariffs, making it difficult for farmers to make a profit.

“With our government kind of stepping in and saying, ‘well this is unfair trade practices,’” Juedes said.

“They’re really kind of messing with what we worked so hard to grow.”

The Badger State lost five hundred dairy farms in 2017, and the state is now losing an average of 50 farms per month.

“To get back into the market and control it like we have been is extremely difficult,” Juedes said.

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