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Wisconsin lost a record number of dairy farms in 2018, and unsold cheese is piling up

Two reports today, one from The Wall Street Journal and another from NPR, point to the harmful impact Donald Trump is having on America’s Dairyland.

First, NPR:

Wisconsin lost 638 dairy farms in 2018, according to the latest data from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. That's a 7.25 percent decline in the number of registered dairy herds — the biggest drop since records started in 2004.

Shelly Mayer, executive director of Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, said the decline in farms has an impact on more than just the agriculture industry.

“That has an impact on the whole community around you,” Mayer said. “Your local feed mill, your accountant, the people you buy gas from and where you're spending your dollar in your community, there are fewer dollars so other businesses feel the impact as well.”

And while NPR’s story doesn’t make a direct connection between Trump’s tariffs and all those dairy farms going udders up — pointing instead to persistently low milk prices as the chief culprit — The Wall Street Journal’s report from today hints more at causation than mere correlation.

WSJ, via Axios:

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There is roughly a 1.4 billion pound stockpile of U.S.-made cheese in cold-storage warehouses — the largest stockpile on record, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Trade tensions and tariffs from Mexico and China cut international demand for American cheese shortly after many producers upped production. Americans also don't want processed cheeses as much as they used to. Cheese doesn't last forever, and the growing stockpile along with falling prices as the cheese gets older could cause even more dairy farmers to go out of business, according to the WSJ.

Full disclosure: I’m both a native Wisconsinite and a vegan. So while I don’t have any emotional ties to fondue, I do find it sad that my home state, which stupidly voted for Trump in 2016, is being further victimized by stupidity. And I know what you’re all thinking — if the state loses any more cows, the average IQ of its warmblooded Trump country residents will plummet.* My response? Fuck you, man. That’s my home state you’re talking about. Go to hell, you pretentious coastal elites.

Anyway, Scott Walker is almost gone, so that's something.

*I can joke, because it’s my state, and it’s actually a bastion of intellectual achievement. Despite having voted for Trump. And Scott Walker. Twice. Go figure.

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