- Jun 28, 2018
Since this topic has come up before, figured it worth mentioning here.
Wisconsin lost 10% of its dairy farmers in 2019, marking its biggest decline ever as Trump's trade wars raged | Markets Insider
Wisconsin shed 10% of its dairy farmers last year, according to data from the state's Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection....
Also note that some of this is due to former Governor Scott Walker's dairy industry incentives, starting in 2012, which ended up boosting supply far in excess of demand.Wisconsin shed 10% of its dairy farmers last year, data from the state's Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection shows.
It marked the biggest one-year drop on record, and underscored the negative impact of Trump's trade war on a swing state critical to his re-election bid.
In 2019, Wisconsin lost 819 dairy farms, the department said, leaving 7,292 dairy farms in place. The state leads the nation in the number of farm bankruptcies, according to the American Farm Bureau.
After Trump launched his trade war against China and other friendly nations in 2018, China responded by slapping hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tariffs on American products.
Last year, China slashed its purchases of American dairy products by 50%. Combined with falling milk prices, the trade war has thrown many farmers out of business. The economic environment has worsened considerably for small dairy farms in particular.
And regarding the farm bailouts (the ones that wouldn't have happened absent Trump's trade war, at least):In 2012, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced an incentive program to produce, as a state, 30 billion pounds of milk a year by 2020 — a 15 percent increase. The state offered farmers grants for business planning, facility engineering and animal nutrition. The program, "Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20,” required them to put up their own money as well.
Despite record production every year since 2002, Walker urged farmers to step it up even more. “The reality," he said, "is the growth is not fast enough for the opportunities that are here before us."
Dairy farmers not only met the challenge, they reached 30 billion pounds in 2016 — four years ahead of schedule.
By then, however, the market had turned and many dairy farmers were having trouble breaking even on their new investments.
Some felt duped by the agribusiness system.
“The more surplus farmers produce, the lower the price of agricultural commodities for food processors," said Kara O'Connor, government relations director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
"All of the most powerful players in the industry, except the farmer, benefit from overproduction."
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.