DATCP seeks loan help for dairy farmers in distress due to Canad - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

DATCP seeks loan help for dairy farmers in distress due to Canadian trade issue

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Madison (WQOW) -- Wisconsin's Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is working with lenders to ensure 75 milk producers that lost buyers due to a change in Canadian trade policy won't lose their farms.

Grassland Dairy notified those farms in March they will stop buying their milk, after the Canadian market for ultra-filtered milk - a high protein milk concentrate used in cheese production - dried up.

Wisconsin DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel said Wisconsin milk processors have been providing a growing amount of ultra-filtered milk to Canada since 2011.

But in 2016, Canadian processors started building their own facilities for ultra-filtered milk, and the nation changed a pricing classification this spring.

Brancel said American processors can no longer compete with those prices, leading Grassland Dairy to stop buying as much milk.

Some of the farms have found new buyers for their milk and Secretary Brancel said DATCP officials have been on the phone with other milk processors trying to find buyers for the remainder.

Brancel said DATCP has also started to talk about contingency plans for some of the farms with lenders.

"We had about 25 lenders and we had conversations around what is it that they might be able to do to help these farms if they find themselves in a financially distressed situation, because of the trade issue with Canada," said Secretary Brancel.

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