The turmoil that Wisconsin’s dairy farms face isn’t just a product of COVID-19. The trade war with China and the disastrous policies that came with it have caused the closure of over 2,000 farms. Including 818 that came last year, before the virus had been discovered.
In a Wisconsin Examiner piece by Darin Von Ruden, President of the Wisconsin Farmers Union Board of Directors and the Wisconsin Farmers Union Foundation, the trials and tribulations that have irreversibly altered the lives of hundreds of small and family-owned dairy farms is well documented.
“They’re the farmers who sold their milk across our state and country. They’re the sons and daughters who inherited the farm from their parents just like their parents inherited it from their parents before them,” writes Von Ruden, as he describes the people that Trump’s agriculture policies have destroyed.
The most revealing point of his op-ed is not simply the closures in recent months, as these are to be expected amid a global pandemic. What is most startling, and disturbing, in Von Ruden’s narrative is how a trade war with China, which the president largely touts a success that his political opponent could not possibly emulate, is the direct cause of the joblessness that has permeated our dairy farms for the last two years.
Many are feeling the effects of COVID-19, but the impact on Wisconsin farms, described by Von Ruden, is particularly harrowing: “For those of us who help feed the country it’s been particularly painful. We’re having to dump milk, burn crops, and euthanize livestock because once again we don’t have markets to sell our products.”
You can read Darin Von Ruden’s full piece on the cause of Wiconsin’s dairy farm crisis here.