Wisconsin Cheese Day celebration dampened by tariffs

PLATTEVILLE (WKOW) — America’s Dairyland is celebrating a specific dairy product on Monday.  

State officials traveled Wisconsin to visit 13 cheese companies for "Wisconsin Cheese Day".  

Members of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation stopped by Emmi Roth to thank the company for its contributions to the state’s economy and dairy industry. 

Emmi Roth directors saw this as an opportunity to celebrate its employees. 

The company makes cheese right here in Wisconsin. Although some stays here, a lot of it is exported. 

A managing director at Emmi Roth is now worried about the effects new tariffs could have on its future. 

"For me, I’m just talking for the cheese industry, it’s not a positive," said managing director of Emmi Roth, Tim Omer. "We want to be competitive, obviously. Globally we are competitive already, so if we’re going to impose tariffs on our neighbors, friends, customers, then they’re going to impose tariffs and that’s obviously not good for business." 

The issues stem from President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariff. 

It puts a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, from the EU, Mexico, and Canada being imported into the U.S.

In retaliation, Mexico has put a 25 percent duty on bringing in some U.S. cheese products.

Mexico is the U.S.’s number one cheese export customer. A Mexican tariff on cheese could hurt the dairy industry. 

Omer says if costs rise because of tariffs, he worries cheese consumption could go down. If the dairy industry is selling less cheese all around, prices will go up for everyone. 

Governor Walker also participated in Wisconsin Cheese Day by visiting cheese producers.

He stopped at the Center for Dairy Research in Madison and Great Lakes Cheese in Wausau. 

When asked how consumers can help the dairy industry, Walker said "eat more cheese".



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