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Wisconsin Farmers Weigh-In On The End Of TPP

Some Producers Supported The Opportunity For Increased Exports, Others Worried About The Impact Of Foreign Products In The US

Gallons of milk
Guy Montag (CC-BY)

Wisconsin farmers have some mixed opinions about in the end of U.S. involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Among a series of executive actions taken this week, President Donald Trump officially withdrew from the multinational trade agreement, fulfilling a long-time campaign promise.

The TPP has been controversial in the U.S. but many agricultural groups supported the Obama-era trade deal as an opportunity to increase exports.

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“There’s only so much corn we can sell domestically and 99 percent of the consuming public is outside of this country and outside of this state,” said Lizzy Schultz from the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association. “We are going to need to keep continuing to move forward with trade and its just going to be a little bit more difficult.”

Schultz said increasing ag exports would also mean more jobs in the U.S.

But some Wisconsin dairy farmers are celebrating the end of the TPP. Producers have been critical of the trade deal, warning about the potential negative impacts of opening up trade on that industry.

“We were looking at probably a lot more cheap dairy products coming into the U.S. than our dairy products leaving the country,” said Darin Von Ruden, president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Von Ruden said farmers may have sold more products under the TPP, but at the expense of a lower pay price.

If there’s a situation where the price that you receive for your product gets lower because of other nations having cheaper production costs, therefore driving farmers out of business, that’s not what we’re looking for,” Von Ruden said.

Both Schultz and Von Ruden said they hope the new administration will pursue new trade opportunities for farmers.