Agriculture Secretary to visit Bloomer to discuss new investments in rural infrastructure

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 8:11 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Santa’s not the only important guy coming to town—so is Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The Secretary will be in Wisconsin Thursday morning starting with a visit to Bloomer. That’s where he is scheduled to announce some new investments in rural infrastructure projects and meet with Bloomer officials to talk about the new infrastructure law and the Build Back Better agenda of the Biden Administration. In the afternoon he will visit a dairy cooperative in Madison to talk about dairy issues like the expanded dairy margin coverage program and promote sign up for dairy farmers for 2022. Sign up for the program began on Monday.

Just this week Farm Service Agency officials said they will begin issuing additional payments starting this week to dairy farmers enrolled in the dairy margin coverage program for 2020 and 2021. That’s because they have updated their feed cost calculations by using 100% premium alfalfa hay rather than the 50% premium hay they were using. That new calculation means an added $47,409,000 will be coming to Wisconsin dairy farmers enrolled in DMC. Those payments will be retroactive to January 1st, 2020.

As consumers we all feel the crunch of higher prices but the question is why are those prices so high? The Biden Administration has just published a report that blames increasing meat prices for the big price jumps and says the major meat packers are taking advantage of both cattle producers and the public. National Economic Council Director Brian Deese says his research shows companies like JBS, Tyson, National Beef and Seaboard Corporation are showing a 120% jump in their gross profits and a 500% increase in net income since the Coronavirus pandemic began. But the president and CEO of the National meat Institute, Julie Ann Potts, says the White House is “cherry picking” numbers and wants to divert attention away from other rising costs like gas and other energy products whose prices were up 60% in the past year—about 10 times higher than food price increases in this year. The bottom line is that most prices to consumers are up as the Consumer Price Index is showing its biggest annual gain since 1982 and most economists say it’ll stay that way until supply chain issues are resolved.

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