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Wisconsin Ag News Headlines
Democrats Claim USDA is Excluding Dairy Farmers from COVID Relief
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 10/28/2020

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin joined a group of fellow Democrats in criticizing the Trump Administration for what they claim 'unfairly excludes' dairy farmers from receiving COVID-19 relief to cover losses related to meat production.

In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the lawmakers say the USDA's new Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will disadvantage dairy and other livestock producers. They claim a policy change excludes the value of the meat produced from breeding animals when determining payment eligibility.

"This change will affect the livestock industry and will be particularly harmful to dairy farmers who often operate at extremely tight margins," the letter stated. "The decision is even more troubling considering that USDA clearly has sufficient resources to cover these losses. Additionally, it is less complicated for both USDA and farmers to cover all livestock and avoid confusion about what animals are covered or excluded."

The Democrats are asking Perdue to reverse the decision, saying that while milk is the primary income for dairy farms, they often generate revenue from the meat of the cows as they are retired from milking.

The letter was co-signed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Robert Casey (D-PA), Angus King (I-ME), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Gary Peters (D-MI).

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