Wisconsin lawmakers call on federal gov't to help state dairy industry

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Wisconsin US Senators and Representatives are calling the federal government for aid to help the state's failing dairy industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, calling him and the USDA to take "immediate" action to assist Wisconsin dairy farmers and dairy processing businesses.

The letter is signed by Senators Baldwin and Ron Johnson and Representatives Mark Pocan, Bryan Steil, Mike Gallagher, Glenn Grothman, Ron Kind and Gwen Moore.

According to the letter the bi-partisan group signed, "While these changes in consumer demand are temporary, without immediate action, they could have a permanent effect in causing the closure of hundreds and possibly thousands of farms, rural businesses, and food processors. Wisconsin needs your help."

The Senators and Representatives laid out several ways in which the USDA could help the Wisconsin diary industry, including:

1. Using $450 million in the CARES Act to purchase agriculture products and distribute them to food pantries through the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

2. Reopen enrollment for the Dairy Margin Coverage program, in order to cooperate with USDA authorities to distribute funds from the $23.5 billion provided in the CARES Act.

3. Send funds to states to help them solve supply chain issues and continue to send agricultural products and food to consumers.

Read the lawmakers' letter here.