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Wisconsin farmers get $432M in federal aid amid closures

Associated Press

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin farmers received more than $432 million in federal aid amid farm closures last year, but some said the payments did little to fix the damage caused by tariffs placed on dairy and agricultural products.

The federal government offered farmers across the country financial assistance through the Market Facilitation Program.

Darin Von Ruden, president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union and owner of a small organic dairy farm, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the payments weren’t enough to keep struggling farms afloat.

“If you look at the true value of what farmers lost, it didn’t even make up that difference at all, so it was certainly something that allowed farmers to pay off some bills, but it didn’t clear their debts,” Von Ruden said.

Program applicants received the aid between September 2018 and November 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those payments ranged from more than $850,000 to as little as $2.

Thomas Schaub, owner of Jewel Family Farms, said more farm closures could occur before producers are relieved from market woes due to the trade wars, overproduction and stagnant milk prices.

“Most of the farmers I talk to, they’d prefer the government would stay out of farming altogether due to delay in process regarding legislation or regulation. They never see the results that they’re hoping,” Schaub said.

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