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Wisconsin Ag Secretary Calls For Federal Action On Canadian Dairy Policies

Brancel Says Other Changes In Dairy Industry Are Needed To Keep Farms From Going Out Of Business

Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

The secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is calling for federal action after a Canadian pricing policy cost some Wisconsin dairy farmers their milk contracts.

Grassland Dairy Products dropped 75 farmers last week, citing the loss of a major customer in Canada.

Secretary Ben Brancel said he thinks the federal government hasn’t been aggressive enough in response to recent Canadian policies that he believes have put U.S. products at a disadvantage.

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“I think the administration thought that they could just kind of have this dialogue with Canada and they would ultimately come around and realizing that this was not in good favor with the United States,” Brancel said.

But national increases in milk production have also had an effect on Wisconsin processors.

Milk production has continued to increase in Wisconsin. But it’s also increasing in states like Michigan and South Dakota, where Brancel said they don’t have sufficient processing facilities.

In some cases, that milk is moving to other locations at a very, very reduced price which makes it very attractive for processors to buy that milk to use and forgo maybe higher cost milks,” Brancel said. “We’re going to have a conversation with the processing community in our state about their business plans, not individually but in general and the need for everybody to step up.”

Brancel said DATCP’s Farm Center is continuing to help the farmers dropped by Grassland try to find new processors.