Wisconsin dairy farmers express concerns over unsold milk

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Fond du Lac, Wis. (WBAY)- Dairy farmers across the state continue to voice their frustration over the possibility of being stuck with unsold milk.

Dairy cow, courtesy: USDA

Many are now asking state and federal authorities for help after Grassland Diary announced earlier this week it would stop accepting milk from about 75 farms, mostly in Wisconsin because of Canadian regulations.

While most of the farms doing business with Grassland Dairy are in the southern half of the state, a handful are in the Fox Valley according to Dan Zeleske of the FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative.

"If they don't find a market, they're going to have to sell their cows and maybe lose their farm and their home and everything. So some of these it's just devastating for these people," said Zeleske.

Grassland Dairy made the announcement, its ending their deal with farmers May 1st, giving those affected less than 30 days to find a new buyer.

Zeleske said,"The market is flooded right now, plants aren't taking more milk, and all at once within 30 days these farms have notice these farms have notice they're not going to be able to sell their milk. So, the co-op is working with the Department of Ag and Ben Brancel Ag secretary to figure out creative ways we might be able to market this milk."

The disruption is being blamed on new policies in Canada designed to push out US imports, including milk.

"They have shifted the incentives to Canadian buyers to make it less attractive for them to keep buying from the US and financially more attractive to buy from Canadian farmers instead," said Shawna Morris of the National Milk Producers Federation.

Congressman Sean Duffy added, "It makes American milk uncompetitive."

Duffy says the Canadians found a loophole in the North American Free Trade Agreement-or NAFTA --- that allows them to block imports of American milk.

"When we allow Canadian products in duty free but, they find a loophole for American milk, that's not fair. This is not free markets, this is protectionism," said Duffy.

Duffy said the President did campaign on a promise to renegotiate NAFTA.

However-- this is something that won't happen overnight.