Monday, August 12, 2019

Sadly, Republicans not in any rush to save America's Dairyland!

Watching "America's Dairyland" Disappear: Besides the rapid rise of lake choking algae threatening Wisconsin's summer tourism industry, including...

...we're also watching a rapid disappearance of our dairy farms:

1. Over the past two years, nearly 1,200 of the state’s dairy farms have stopped milking cows and so far this year, another 212 have disappeared, with many shifting production to beef or vegetables. 

2. The total number of herds in Wisconsin is now below 8,000 — about half as many as 15 years ago. 

3. In 2018, 49 Wisconsin farms filed for bankruptcy — the highest of any state in the country, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Trump Tariff Debacle? Again, he isn't in any hurry: Trump's tariffs needlessly put farmers on the front line of a battle that only benefits businesses trying to protect intellectual rights, copyrights, and drug patents. It was never about agriculture, which has now lost markets that may or may not get them back entirely, and even if they did, it would put the US back where it was.
YahooNews: the problem for American farmers has becomes bigger than something a bailout can fix. “This trade thing is what’s brought on by the president and it’s really frustrating because he took away all of our markets. Our prices are probably as low as I’ve seen them in a long time,” he told Yahoo Finance. 

“We were losing just about $70 an acre just by putting our crop in [the ground] this spring,”Bob Kuylen, a farmer from North Dakota who grows spring wheat and sunflowers, told Yahoo Finance. “All these countries went to different countries to get their grain,” Kuylen said. “How are we going to get the relations back with them to buy our grain again and be our customers?”

“Farmers are profoundly wary of the trade war, embarrassed that ad hoc government subsidies are all that stands between many of us and financial ruin, and ready for the return of more normal times.”

Between 2016-2017, China was the fourth-largest wheat buyer in the world, importing more than 61 million U.S. bushels. In 2019, the top U.S. export destinations for wheat include Mexico, the Philippines, Japan, and Nigeria — China is not even among the top 10.
Blame Canada?: Rising corporate farms and over supply is the biggest culprit, but Trump and Republicans want to blame Canada's control of milk production, and a few high tariffs, as the problem. Instead, the U.S. should be looking at Canada's solution to saving dairy: 
PRI; The new NAFTA agreement, called the USMCA ... boiled down to Canadian milk ... the president has been railing against Canadian dairy farmers in rallies ... US dairy farmers would get more access to Canada, a worrying prospect for Canadian dairy farmer Phillip Armstrong. Armstrong says his cows are nearly twice as productive ... to keep things in check, Canada has a system (to) match supply with consumer demand. “Each farm has a quota and that's our share of the Canadian market.” 

Part of its supply management system ... Canada does let in some American dairy before (a 300 percent) tariff kicks in ... the updated trade deal would open up 3.6 percent more of its market to American dairy. Armstrong says. “That's (3.6 percent) growth in income that we're giving up that allows us to modernize, to expand. And Trump said we were hurting their dairy farmers. Well, the Americans had a $600 million surplus with us. But he got into his head that we were mistreating their farmers.”
It's true Canada had made a few other changes to protect against losing dairy farms...but one of those changes, price supports that shut out American products, has been repealed.

Dairy Farmers Hurt, a Nationwide Problem: While we're seeing thousands of dairy farms shutting down in Wisconsin and elsewhere...
It’s not all because of Canada, far from it. American farmers have been squeezed out by consolidation, corporate agriculture, global competition and low prices. People are also simply consuming less milk.

Brian Gould, a professor of agribusiness at the University of Wisconsin says the US shouldn’t be telling Canada how to manage its internal agriculture. "I really think we're on thin ice when we demand that they get rid of their quota system" ... think of the reverse: Canada telling the US to dismantle its system. The US government sets a minimum price for milk and also provides subsidies to American dairy farmers. And, the US has its own high tariffs on certain products — the US sour cream tariff, for example, is 187 percent.
Failed "Supply-Side" Scott Walker Meddling: When 70 percent of the U.S. economy is driven by consumer spending, it's hard to imagine why anyone would take the opposite economic approach, unless your only plan is to give more money and power to business. Oh wait.

The following isn't me saying it, but I have so many times here on my blog:
NYT: Farmer advocacy groups say policies enforced by former Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, exacerbated the problem. In 2012, Mr. Walker put into place a program to encourage dairy farmers to step up production with the goal of producing 30 billion pounds of milk a year by 2020. That was easily accomplished by 2016, but the oversupply crippled the industry.

“He wanted to put Wisconsin back into the lead in milk production over California,” said Joel Greeno, a dairy farmer and the president of the Wisconsin advocacy group Family Farm Defenders. “It was more an example of arrogance than practicality.”
And so...
Still, there’s an ironic twist here: Many American dairy farmers and organizations are actually now looking into a supply management system of their own ... similar to Canada’s. Armstrong says the new NAFTA agreement doesn’t address the fundamental problem: American farmers are producing too much milk ... opening a little bit more of Canada won’t make a dent in that. “I feel for the dairy farmer in the United States. I mean, it's got to hurt,” Armstrong says. The new trade agreement, he says, “is going to hurt us here, but it has no impact on their well-being at all.”
Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and now enlightened Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher are on the same page:
Senator Tammy Baldwin said of Mr. Trump in an interview. “Our farmers need good trade deals, not trade wars.”

Representative Mike Gallagher had said that the top concerns of dairy farmers were the tariffs, along with Mr. Trump’s immigration policies, which make finding farm labor more difficult.
The First Red Flag? Republican targeted Butter as Too Expensive: This really happened:
Republican state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, an accountant from Brookfield wants to undo law he calls silly, antiquated and anti-free market. A quirky Wisconsin law intended to protect the state's dairy industry by making it illegal for restaurants to serve margarine as a replacement for butter is being targeted for repeal. Kooyenga argues that changing the law would save the state money since margarine is typically a third of the cost of butter.

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