News

Sonny Perdue's Message To Wisconsin's Small Farmers: Too Small? Too Bad.

Oct 02, 2019

(MADISON, WI) — Yesterday, Wisconsin farmers took Trump and his administration to task over their failed agriculture policies. Their conscious dismissal of the pain small and medium-sized farms are going through, combined with Trump’s erratic trade war with China, has Wisconsin’s farmers fighting harder for their livelihoods than ever before — and they have to be. 

At the Wisconsin Dairy Expo, Sonny Perdue said if family sized farms wanted to survive they’d just have to get bigger, despite his and Trump’s push to reward Big Ag and not the small and medium-sized farms that are the backbone of Wisconsin’s economy.  But this is far from the first time Purdue and Trump have insulted farmers. Just last month Perdue called farmers a bunch of whiners, while Trump went so far as to come to Wisconsin to pronounce that farmers are “over the hump.” Trump has continually tried to make people believe that he has helped the farming community, when really his broken promises have just led to more pain. 

Jerry Volenec, a 5th generation Dairy Farmer, summarized how farmers are feeling in light of Purdue’s comments and the Trump administration’s stance towards small farmers, saying “there’s no place for me.”

In addition, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Rural Caucus Chair Nate Timm called on Trump to “fulfill your promises — no more talking points.”

See coverage of Wisconsin’s farmers below as well as how Wisconsin’s elected officials responded to Purdue’s comments.
 

WISC

WKOW

MJS: Trump ag secretary Sonny Perdue says dairy farms will survive, but may have to get bigger
AP: Ag secretary: No guarantee small dairy farms will survive
WORT: Secretary Of Agriculture Says No To Dairy Market Regulations
Fox 11: Farmers respond to ag secretary’s comments, say there is still a place for all size farms

 
 

Additional Background:

UPI: “Between July 2018 and June 2019, the number of farms that filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcies (a type of bankruptcy designed to allow family farmers and family fishermen to restructure their finances) rose by 13 percent over the previous year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Loan delinquency rates have reached a six-year high. And nearly 13,000 farms disappeared in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

Politico: “Farm exports in fiscal 2019 are down nearly 7 percent from 2018, exacerbating one of the toughest periods for agriculture since the 1980s farm crisis.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “The fallout continues as farmers, on the cusp of spring planting, decide whether to invest in seed, chemicals, fertilizer and other supplies needed to raise the crops they feed to their cattle. More than 300 Wisconsin dairy farms shut down between January and May, including 90 — three a day — in April alone.”

 
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Paid for by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Ben Wikler, Chair