By Benjamin Yount for The Center Square
Dairymen in Wisconsin are out of patience with Congress over a trade deal with Mexico and Canada.
The American Dairy Coalition wrote an open letter last week to members of the U.S. House asking them to ratify the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement by the end of the month.
“The current lack of a trade deal with Mexico and Canada is costing us. Dairy farmers need Congress to push this through and push it through quickly,” Dairy Coalition President Walt Moore wrote.
This is not the first time the Dairy Coalition has told Congress it’s time to act.
The dairymen wrote back in March that it is time to get American dairy farmers paid.
And the Dairy Coalition was ringing the bell back in January about the need to move past tariffs that are keeping American milk and cheese out of Canada and Mexico.
The Dairy Coalition’s latest letter says it’s past time to act.
“During this time of extended economic uncertainty for the dairy industry, the expedient passage of this agreement is of dire need,” the letter states.”The USMCA would open the possibilities for U.S. products to be competitive across our borders. Passage would bring in an anticipated several hundred million dollars of trade opportunities in dairy as a result of this agreement. “
If Congress doesn’t vote soon, the coalition says it could be almost two more years before anyone does anything to help dairymen in Wisconsin.
“With the looming onset of the 2020 presidential and congressional elections, the necessary votes needed to pass USMCA may be lost if the process is carried into 2020,” the coalition wrote in its letter. “With $9.4 billion in total agricultural exports annually on the line, the importance of passage of this agreement cannot be understated.”
Moore said selling more milk and cheese are the only things that will reverse the trend of Wisconsin dairy farmers leaving the business.
“Trade will be essential to reviving commodity prices and turning the tide of the deep and prolonged recession of the dairy economy,” Moore said.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.