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.
 
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.
Wisconsin's dairy industry is dealing with a big shock after one processor, Grassland Dairy Products Inc., dropped its contracts to buy milk from dozens of farms, citing a new Canadian policy that favors that nation's domestic milk producers.
Spring has brought gut-wrenching uncertainty to scores of dairy farms around Wisconsin. On April 1 a Clark County-based processor dropped their contracts, leaving them without a place to sell their milk.
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As a result of shifting Canadian trade policies, a dairy processor canceled its contacts with 75 Wisconsin dairy farmers. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection secretary Ben Brancel discusses the dispute and what officials are doing about it.