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Dairy farmer reacts to President Trump’s tariff aid package

MADISON (WKOW) — Farmers across Wisconsin are struggling with debt, prompting bankruptcy filings by the ongoing trade war with China, even after the first round of federal government aid.

The Trump Administration announced a $16 billion package Thursday designed to offset farmers’ losses. Last year, the president announced a similar plan after tariffs were in effect. The package is the second for farmers after the Trump Administration announced $12 billion funds last July.

Farmers will see relief in three installments with the first payment in July or August.

For Mitch Breunig’s farm, the last few years have been some of the hardest.

“You try to figure out what you’re going to do to get your bills paid,” said Breunig.

The ongoing and escalating trade war with China is making things even harder.

Breunig said the uncertainty hurts his business just as much as this year’s frigid, wet and long winter. He called the latest aid package only temporary.

The bulk of the payments will be for crops such as alfalfa, wheat and oats. How much a farmer will see depends on how many acres they planted.

For dairy farmers, the government will compensate them based on how much milk produced this year.

“I think a long-term solution is building trade partners were trying to do business with.”

Republican Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) said the state can’t provide a solution but does empathize with farmers.

“Farmers are suffering right now…it’s sort of a federal issue,” said Kitchens.

The White House says this will help farmers but since most of them already planted they weren’t able to choose crops that would receive the most subsidies.

“They didn’t announce what the payment is for different commodities and as a farmer, that’s really important information,” said Breunig. “To push this out so quickly without giving us the whole story, we struggle to figure out what decisions to make.”

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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