Wisconsin dairy farms face closure due to Canadian policies

MOSINEE, Wis. — A cheese factory in central Wisconsin is offering a lifeline to some dairy farms threatened by Canada’s milk pricing policies that may force other farms to close.

Mullins Cheese Vice-President Bill Mullins signed contracts to buy milk from eight family-owned operations, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2oXSb1y ) reported.

“My field staff looked at them and said, ‘My gosh, these are great, wonderfully kept farms,’” Mullins said. “I had an opportunity to help a few of them.”

A local milk processor, Greenwood-based Grassland Dairy Products, recently said it was dropping several farms because it lost millions of dollars when Canada changed its milk pricing policies in a way that favours Canadian farmers. That means dozens of dairy farms in the U.S. will no longer have a milk processor as of May 1.

Farmers who have been selling to Grassland are pleading for help, but most processing plants are already running at full capacity and aren’t accepting more farms. Federal and state lawmakers have been trying to find short-term solutions, as well as investigating trade pacts with Canada.

Wisconsin agriculture officials said Grassland cancelled milk contracts with nearly 60 farms. As of Friday, about 40 still didn’t have a milk buyer.

“This is devastating to the farmers, and it’s been really heartbreaking for us,” said Daniel Smith, who oversees the Wisconsin Farm Center at the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Another milk plant dropped 14 farmers for reasons unrelated to the Canada trade issue. Those farmers have made arrangements for a milk buyer or are headed into an already planned retirement.

Staff members at the Wisconsin Farm Center are trying to connect dairy plant owners with the farms threatened by closure.

“We have a game plan that takes us to May 1, and we know what benchmarks we have to meet every day,” Smith said. “We are exploring every possibility.”

Just Posted

A million dollars for Red Deer hospital is not nearly enough, says Mayor Veer

Mayor is concerned Red Deer hospital is still not on province’s five-year capital list

Drug treatment centre, more shelter beds for Red Deer were missing from budget

But Red Deer will get more affordable housing and sustained capital funding

Alix man arrested for fleeing police in allegedly stolen vehicle

An Alix man was arrested after fleeing police in an allegedly stolen… Continue reading

Red Deer hospital expansion advances to square one

Planning for future needs gets $1-million over two years

WATCH: Hundreds come to Red Deer Rebels Fan Fest

The Red Deer Rebels met with legions of their of fans just… Continue reading

Supreme Court rules former Stephen Harper aide guilty of influence peddling

OTTAWA — Canada’s highest court has upheld an influence peddling conviction against… Continue reading

2 killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking

PARIS — An armed man took hostages in a supermarket in southern… Continue reading

READER PHOTO: Red Deer students celebrate Canadian courage at Juno Beach

Teenagers from Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School are learning about… Continue reading

UN report: Loss of plants, animals making a lonelier planet

WASHINGTON — New United Nations scientific reports diagnose that Earth is getting… Continue reading

Excavator frees dolphins trapped by pack ice in Newfoundland harbour

HEARTS DELIGHT, N.L. — A pod of dolphins trapped by pack ice… Continue reading

Structure fire destroys home in Mirror

A house in Mirror is completely damaged due to an overnight structure… Continue reading

Trudeau warns senators not to thwart will of Canadians on marijuana bill

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reminding senators that his government… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month