Canadian trade policy could have big ripple effect on Wisconsin family farms

Posted at 10:02 PM, Apr 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 23:27:35-04

A change in Canadian trade regulations could put Wisconsin farms out of business.

The farms were notified when Grassland Dairy Products said they would no longer be purchasing the farm's milk for processing. Grassland would reportedly buy up to a million pounds of milk per day from local farmers for transport to Canada.

The company sent a letter to milk producers across the state April 1st, informing them that effective May 1st they would no longer be purchasing the milk.

For many milk farmers, 30 day notice just wasn't enough. John Prosser, owner of Prosser Farms, says he and more than 60 others across southern Wisconsin are facing the same problem. Too much milk is now available in Wisconsin with no buyers.

Prosser's son Tim, who runs the day-to-day operations, told TODAY'S TMJ4 that at first panic set in. " If you can't sell your milk, you think the worse, and that's the end" said Tim Prosser.

Right now the family is looking for other places to sell their milk, but so far they haven't had any luck. The halt in milk purchasing could have a ripple effect as well, Prosser said.

"Feed suppliers, the vets, the seed, the equipment - if we lose our source of income we can't pass nothing down the line."

The elder Prosser remains optimistic things will turn around.

"You just plug away, usually over time things will work out. Hopefully that's what it is this time," said John Prosser.

Governor Scott Walker tweeted Wednesday: "To help Wisconsin dairy farmers, we need free and fair trade!"

Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson have also urged the White House to get involved on what Johnson called a "Trade War." Calls and emails to Grassland Dairy Products for this story were not returned.

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