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Johnson, Baldwin Vote to Confirm Perdue as USDA Secretary
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/25/2017

It's not often that Wisconsin's two U.S. Senators vote in line with one another. But they both liked what they saw in Trump Agriculture Secretary pick Sonny Perdue enough to vote in favor of his confirmation. On Monday, Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin were among the Senators that confirmed the former Georgia governor's nomination; and both urged him to act immediately on the Canadian dairy trade dispute that's forcing many area farmers to be dropped from their milk processors.

"Farming is a critical part of Wisconsin's economy, and Sonny Perdue's career has prepared him well to serve as secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture," Johnson said. "Now that he's been confirmed, and on behalf of Wisconsin farm families, I urge the Secretary to take swift action to address Canada's recent harmful actions on dairy exports."

Senator Baldwin agreed, saying she encourages Perdue to visit Wisconsin to learn more about the issue; while calling upon the Trump Administration to act on Canadian trade barriers that she feels are hurting American dairy farmers and processors.

"I'm pleased to vote for Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue today and I look forward to working together to strengthen Wisconsin's agricultural economy and our rural communities," said Baldwin. "We need to make sure that Canada rescinds their unfair policy and plays by the rules. The Administration should also act immediately to assist impacted farmers directly."

Earlier this month, Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood and other smaller processors sent letters to some of their patrons stating they no longer have use for their milk since Canada enacted new pricing policies that make it difficult to send surplus product to that country in the form of ultra-filtered milk. The latest numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture indicate that 72 farms in Wisconsin and Minnesota were told they are being cut from their processor's supplier list. Several others were also notified that they would be dropped by May 1, but were able to continue their contracts for various reasons.

While making a stop in Wisconsin last week, President Donald Trump called the Canadian government out for its actions, saying the new trade polices are 'unfair' and 'one-sided.' Several Canadian trade groups and the Canadian ambassador to the United States have since pushed back, saying it is not their responsibility to take U.S. surplus milk off its neighbor's hands.

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