Series: Wisconsin Ag And Global Trade

Agriculture is a cornerstone of the Wisconsin economy, and farmers across the state rely on international markets for customers. The commodities exported around the world include some of Wisconsin's most common agricultural products, including cheese and soybeans, as well as a host of specialized products that have come to symbolize the state's bounty, such as ginseng and cranberries. In the early 21st century, Wisconsin's largest agricultural export destination by far has been Canada, followed by Mexico, China and other nations. Farmers who rely on exports face uncertainties driven by fluctuating international demand, variable commodities markets and shifts in global politics, including an escalating series of tariffs levied between the United States and some of its closest trading partners. These changing conditions have impacts that ripple across the state’s broader agricultural economy.
 
It's a waiting game for Wisconsin farmers as they watch the market to see how a trading spat between the United States and China will affect prices for their products.
The spirit of open trade with foreign markets reflected in recent trade policies has a direct impact on the Wisconsin economy.
Wisconsin exports a diverse array of agricultural products around the world One high-profile item is ginseng, an herb that has been grown in parts of central Wisconsin for over a century.
Wisconsin agriculture is feeling the squeeze after China announced retaliatory tariffs against the United States. Ginseng Board of Wisconsin president Bob Kaldunski discusses the perspective of growers of a product popular among Chinese consumers.
Low milk prices have been hitting farmers America's Dairyland hard, including among farmers in western Wisconsin. A Seneca feed store owner, Tammy Olson, organized a town hall meeting to bringing farmers and elected officials together to discuss these challenges.
Talks of tariffs have created a global conversation about trade. But where does Wisconsin fit into the equation?
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Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou signed a memorandum of understanding with Wisconsin ginseng growers to help promote the herb to overseas markets. Ginseng Board of Wisconsin president Bob Kaldunski discusses what the relationship could mean for sales at home and abroad.
Timber has long been a contentious issue in the trade relationship between the United States and Canada.
Trade frictions between the United States and Canada are a loud addition to a varied array of threats to Wisconsin dairy farmers' livelihoods.
A change in Canadian trade policy led a dairy processor to cancel its contracts with dozens of Wisconsin farmers. Wisconsin Farmers Union district director Chris Holman discuses the growing production of milk and what effect it has on small and large dairy farmers.