Democratic Lawmakers Demand Action to Protect Wisconsin Farmers

MADISON, WI – President Trump’s decision to engage in a trade war has resulted in unfair tariffs placed on Wisconsin-made products including cheese, cranberries, pork, ginseng, soybeans, and potatoes. The economic chaos caused by President Trump has had a devastating impact on local communities across Wisconsin and the Midwest. This morning, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) and Legislative Democrats sent a letter (see attached) urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to take urgent action to protect Wisconsin farmers, manufacturers, and working families. No Legislative Republicans signed onto the letter. 


“Our local farm families are the backbone of communities across Wisconsin but President Trump’s trade war is making it impossible for many to stay afloat,” said Shilling. “Rather than closing markets and eliminating trade opportunities, we should be supporting our local farmers and helping them to compete on a level playing field.”


“Farmers in Wisconsin have faced significant challenges due to the impacts of the Trump tariffs and the subsequent retaliatory tariffs that have targeted agriculture products. As elected officials representing many of the families affected by these policies, we cannot stay silent as Wisconsin farmers are being harmed,” Rep. Hintz stated. “Democrats will continue standing up for farming communities that support local economies throughout the state. While no Republicans signed on to this letter, it is our hope they will join us and make this a bi-partisan effort.”


Wisconsin lost nearly 700 dairy farms last year as President Trump escalated his trade war. In 2018, Wisconsin led the nation in farm bankruptcies. In addition to urging action at the federal level, Democratic legislators have joined Gov. Tony Evers in backing a number of state budget initiatives that support farmers such as Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin, Farm to School, Dairy Processor Grants, and additional county conservation positions. To address the growing number of farmer suicides, the Governor also proposed increasing investments in mental health assistance to farmers and their families and expanding access to preventative care by accepting additional Medicaid funding.