Ag Chat with Bob Bosold - May 15

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- Wisconsin milk cows continue to set new production records. For the third straight year total milk production in 2018 topped the 30 billion pound mark at 30.5 billion pounds-up about 1% from 2017. Also setting a new record was production per cow at just over 24,000 pounds. That’s up 277 pounds from a year ago. But down slightly was the total number of cows in the state last year. That total was 1.27 million—down about 5,000 head from 2017.

Photo: Guy Montag / CC BY 2.0

The back and forth in the tariffs wars between the U.S. and China continues. After President Trump imposed tariffs of 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, the Chinese said they would put tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products starting on June 1st and that includes lots of farm products. The Chinese list includes beef, live plants, dyed flowers and a long list of fruits and vegetables. Those tariffs will range from 5% to 25%. Following release of that list, President Trump told his staff to begin plans to more than $300 worth of other Chinese goods with tariffs. It seems the only good news with the tariff situation is that the Chinese have invited U.S. trade negotiators back to Bejing for more talks, but no dates have been set.

Help could be on the way soon for farmers who are facing huge losses because of the tariff wars we’re in with China. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, said yesterday he hopes the Trump Administration will announce an aid package within the next week. He said the package could total up to $15 billion in Market Facilitation payments as well as government purchases of crops for use in feeding programs. According to DTN, that money would come from the Commodity Credit Corporation. That agency has authority to spend up to $30 billion a year on aid to farmers.

Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer protection is getting $300,000 a year for the next 5 years from the Food and Drug Administration to fund a rapid response team for food related emergencies. FDA hopes the Wisconsin team, as well as those in other states, can develop procedures to minimize the time between when a human or animal food emergency happens and put procedures in place to prevent or reduce human exposure to a food borne illness.