Lawmakers Tackle Dairy Farmers' Problems

A group of state lawmakers is asking University of Wisconsin System leaders to come up with creative and alternative uses for milk, as an oversupply is driving prices down.

Two dozen Assembly Republicans sent a letter to UW System President Ray Cross this week asking schools to start researching the issue. The letter points out how the development of ethanol helped Iowa corn farmers.

The news coincides with Grassland Dairy announcing this week it will stop buying milk from 75 farmers, mostly in Wisconsin, because it can no longer sell dairy products to Canada. Grassland blames new dairy regulations in Canada. Grassland is ending their deal May 1st, giving farmers less than 30 days to find a new buyer for their milk.

Gov. Scott Walker weighed in on Wednesday, describing the steps he’s taking to remedy the problem.

“This is a direct correlation to what has happened in Ontario and what’s happened in a larger context in Canada itself. Now, they overall are our largest trading partners, so we want to have… continue to have good trading relationships with them, but when it comes to the dairy industry we think they’re just plain wrong on this and we expect that the World Trade Organization will help,” the governor said.

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) is urging the White House to work with Canada on this trade issue.

“Our state’s dairy farmers are some of the best in the world, and they should not be the victims of a trade dispute they didn’t start. I urge the administration to work with the Canadian government and swiftly find a way to resolve this matter before hardworking Wisconsin farm families are hurt,” Johnson said.