Rep. Ron Kind unveils Dairy Action Plan to help local farmers
With more than 7,500 dairy farms in Wisconsin and an industry that contributes $43.4 billion to the state's economy, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
It's a big part of Wisconsin, and one that's also struggling.
"Huge challenges that the farming community is undergoing. That puts pressure on the rural economy, quite frankly it puts pressure throughout the entire state economy of Wisconsin, given how important production agriculture has been," said U.S. Representative Ron Kind.
Friday Rep. Kind unveiled what he calls his 'Dairy Action Plan' for the 116th Congress.
"Steps that we can work on in a bi-partisan basis in Congress to provide help and support, and some additional resources, to our family dairy farmers during this very tough period that they're going through," said Kind.
He has outlined six issues facing local dairy farmers that he wants Congress to address.
On top of his list, the ongoing trade wars.
"What they want is a good market price to sell in to, so they can make a decent living, provide for their families, keep their operations going. That's all they ever want to do. And that's why the trade war has been so detrimental to them, because we're taking away those markets right now," said Kind.
Other initiatives Kind wants to implement range from combating farm consolidation, immigration reform to help stabilize the workforce, make going organic easier, increase funding for conservation and innovation, and supporting young and beginning farmers.
"Average farmer here in Wisconsin, 59, 60 years old now. We need that next generation of farmers to be able to step in, smooth transitions, take over operations or even set up their own for the first time," said Kind.
He says he hopes these steps can help the nation's biggest dairy industry come back from what he calls extraordinary levels of uncertainty.