Local farmers want out of the trade war

Published: Aug. 13, 2019 at 4:01 PM CDT
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Local farmers say they appreciate Gov. Tony Evers sending President Donald Trump a letter calling on him to end the trade war with China.

In his letter, the governor says Wisconsin farmers are suffering a "triple whammy" of trade uncertainty, low commodity prices and bad weather (


At Country Aire Farms in Greenleaf, the scenery is lush and beautifu. But behind the scenes, our country's trade wars with international partners are causing stress -- and a ripple effect across the state's $88 billion agriculture industry.

"Forty-five percent of our dry whey does go to China, so our export market is very big to China. We would also encourage our president to get the tariff deal straightened out if we can. It has a large impact on dairy and many other businesses... goes from us to the tractor dealers to the feed, seed, whatever the farmer is purchasing. They're just not purchasing like they used to," Mike Gerrits and Country Aire Farms told us.

"These are family farms -- three, four generations or longer in the family -- and it doesn't matter how hard you work and it doesn't matter how good you are, somebody else is setting your pricing and it's below the cost of operation and living," Steve Corrigan said.

Corrigan is president of the Brown County Fair Association. He says he understands the reasoning for the tariffs in order to level the playing field on imports and exports but knows farmers are hurting.

He's hoping the county fair, which opens this Wednesday, Aug. 14, can provide some temporary stress relief.

"What's going on in the agriculture industry right now with farming, the depressed milk prices, the commodity prices, Mother Nature hasn't been great to them, they have a week they can come here, kind of set all those woes behind them and enjoy themselves with their family before they have to go back and face the reality of all the hardship they're facing," Corrigan said.

At Country Aire, the hope is the trade war becomes trade peace. Until then, it's a matter of resolve in rural Wisconsin.

"If you're a farmer, you plow through it, and that seems to be the mood right now," Gerrits said. "Most guys that I know have plowed through it and will continue, and hopefully we can get a little better pricing for our product."

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