Release Date: April 1, 2020
Media Contact: Grace Atherton, Communications Director, (608) 224-5020, Grace.Atherton@wisconsin.gov
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Download PDF of letter
MADISON – Today, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to step in and support the dairy industry amid concerns about milk disposal during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“In a time when many people are already food-insecure, it's more important than ever that we get Wisconsin's nutritious commodities in the hands of consumers who need them the most," said Governor Evers. “I'm hopeful that our federal partners understand the urgency of the need here, and will take action accordingly."
The letter requests that USDA purchase surplus commodities for redistribution to food banks, nutrition assistance programs, and other sources in an effort to divert Wisconsin's nutritious commodities to Americans who need them. Additionally, DATCP asks USDA to re-open the enrollment of the Dairy Margin Coverage program.
“With agriculture's massive $104.8 billion impact on Wisconsin's economy, it is critical that all of us in this industry work together to navigate this new territory," said DATCP Interim Secretary Randy Romanski. “DATCP has been in constant communication with people in all parts of the industry and hearing their concerns, including concerns about milk disposal. That's why we're urging USDA and Wisconsin's Congressional delegation to take immediate action to keep the supply chain flowing and get product in the hands of people who need it most."
The agency also continues to conduct weekly calls with industry stakeholders to provide updates, share information, and access resources. Agricultural stakeholders should continue to work through their agricultural associations to compile questions and concerns. These organizations will then share those items with DATCP on their designated weekly call.
DATCP's Farm Center is available to provide resources to Wisconsin farmers and their families in need of assistance. The Farm Center hotline can be reached at 1-800-942-2474 or FarmCenter@wisconsin.gov.
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