Sen. Shilling Column: Supporting Wisconsin Farmers
I don’t know about you, but my family always enjoys the month of June. Not just because school is out, but because June is Dairy Month in Wisconsin!
It’s a time for us to celebrate all of our hardworking dairy producers, milk processors, and local farm families that make Wisconsin “America’s Dairyland.”
Over the past month, you may have taken advantage of the family-friendly activities, including parades, cheese tastings, and my favorite – dairy breakfasts on the farm.
These events highlight the importance of our farming heritage and are a great way to learn more about where our food comes from. This month also serves as a reminder to ask ourselves how we can better support local farmers and strengthen our communities.
Years of Republican policies that favor large corporations over smaller family farms and drive down milk prices are having detrimental impacts on our local communities.
Wisconsin has been losing dairy farms at an alarming rate – roughly 1.5 farms lost every day since 2011 – and our state has led the Midwest region in farm bankruptcies in 7 of the past 8 years.
Over the past few months I have listened to local farmers about the economic issues affecting them and the struggles they face with volatile markets. The reckless trade war imposed by President Trump is undermining our economic potential, adding more strain on family farms, and having a devastating impact on our local communities.
In the legislature, Democrats have championed successful initiatives like Farm to School and the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program. We’ve fought to expand health care access, invest in broadband infrastructure and protect funding for UW-Extension agents who work one-on-one with area farmers.
By promoting financial security and expanding economic opportunities, we can support Wisconsin’s family farmers and ensure everyone can enjoy healthy, affordable and locally-grown food options.
I want to thank the families in La Crosse, Monroe, Vernon and Crawford counties and all across the state for opening their farms to the public and hosting delicious and nutritious breakfasts. Their dedication to farming does not go unnoticed and I look forward to continued discussions on how to improve the lives of Wisconsin farmers.