U.S. Rep. Kind: Calls on Secretary Perdue to take action to support Wisconsin’s dairyland during COVID-19 crisis
Washington, April 3, 2020
Tags: Agriculture , Jobs and the Economy
By: Rep. Kind Press Release -- La Crosse, WI—Today, Rep. Ron Kind and members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, pressing him to take immediate action on behalf of Wisconsin dairy farmers and dairy processing businesses during this crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to threaten Wisconsin’s agricultural economy, with some dairy farmers being forced to dispose of thousands of gallons of fresh milk daily due to a drop in demand for dairy products typically consumed in schools, restaurants, and food services. This puts a strain on an already struggling industry. For the past two years, Wisconsin has led the nation in farm bankruptcies with an average of two dairy farms closing a day.
“Our dairy farmers were already struggling, and this pandemic puts them into even more of a crisis. They cannot afford to have the USDA stall on helping farmers in Wisconsin by reopening the Dairy Margin Coverage program,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “It is baffling to understand why Secretary Perdue is dragging his feet on helping dairy farmers when he has full authority to reopen enrollment for the Dairy Margin Coverage program right now. Congress did its job to give him the tools he needs to support dairy. Now he needs to do his.”
Specifically, Kind and the delegation are asking Secretary Perdue to use tools that were created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to connect Wisconsin dairy and cheese producers to consumers, including:
In addition to Rep. Kind, the letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson and Representatives Mike Gallagher, Glenn Grothman, Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan, and Bryan Steil.
The full letter to USDA is available here.