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WFU Survey Finds Opposition to TPP by Dairy Farmers
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 11/03/2016

It appears that the presidential candidates aren't the only people against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. A survey of about 1,000 Wisconsin dairy farmers showed that nearly 80 percent of the state's producers oppose the deal and want Congress to reject the package because of concerns over imported Milk Protein Concentrates and other lowcost imports.

The Wisconsin Farmers Union sent a questionnaire to every licensed dairy producer in the state this summer to gauge their opinions on how milk and dairy products are priced and gather input on how to make the industry more profitable. The survey also included questions about the nation's involvement in trade agreements with known currency manipulators, and the loss of U.S. sovereignty due to the expansion of Investor-State Dispute Resolution in the trade deal.

Over half of the respondents said they were 'very concerned' about those types of deals, compared to just two percent who say they were not concerned at all. Many also showed frustration with trade deals that favor cheap foreign imports and hurt the average Wisconsin farmer.

WFU President Darin Von Ruden says some recently published articles have suggested that all Wisconsin dairy farmers support the TPP, but he claims that is not the case.

"In our view, if you want to know what dairy farmers think, you should ask them directly, so that's what we did," Von Ruden said. "We hope that members of Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents, and not rush through a vote on the TPP in the lame duck session."

He added that TPP will open the country's borders to a flood of low-cost MPCs from New Zealand, which will displace Wisconsin milk in cheese production.

"This loss will supposedly be offset by giving U.S. dairy producers access to the Japanese market, but that access could evaporate overnight if Japan manipulates its currency to make U.S. imports more expensive," he feels.

The WFU says results from the recently completed surveys will be shared with others in the dairy industry, along with policymakers in Madison and Wasthinton, D.C.

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