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Walker Discusses Dairy with Trump, Announces Loan Program
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/26/2017

Gov. Scott Walker says he's been staying in touch with the White House this week to keep a pulse on the Canadian dairy trade dispute that could soon leave dozens of Wisconsin farms without a market for their milk. The governor said in a statement that he spoke with President Trump on Monday and Tuesday about the ongoing situation involving Canada's decision to unilaterally shut down the market for U.S. ultra-filtered milk. Trump also announced the placement of new duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber as a way to retaliate against the country's actions.

"It was great to talk to you this morning," Walker tweeted to the president on Tuesday. "Thanks for supporting WI dairy farmers!!!"

Also Tuesday, Walker announced that the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority will provide amended loan guarantees to dairy farmers and processors with more favorable terms. Effective immediately, the loan guarantees will help producers and processors access much-needed capital in light of the situation.

"This is a difficult time for many of Wisconsin's dairy farm families due to Canada's dairy trade policies, and we're going to do everything we can to help them," he stated in a media release.

WHEDA loan guarantee programs reduce financial risk and exposure to lenders while ensuring that farmers and businesses have access to low-cost capital.

The agency says eligible dairy farmers may be able to access loan guarantees at more favorable terms than its current agricultural loan guarantees. In addition, qualified dairy processors will have access to an 80-percent loan guarantee up to $750,000. Revolving working capital loans offer an 80-percent loan guarantee up to $200,000.

State Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel said he is glad to see WHEDA exploring opportunities to support companies in their effort to help the displaced dairy farmers find a market for their milk.

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