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Kind Ideas column: Why we celebrate June Dairy Days

Ron Kind represents Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District

June is one of my favorite months in Wisconsin. There is something special about spending weekends at farms across western and central Wisconsin thanking our farmers, talking with neighbors and eating pancakes while enjoying some of Wisconsin's finest milk.

June Dairy Month gives us the opportunity to not only thank our farmers but reflect on the importance of dairy farming in western and central Wisconsin. For centuries the dairy industry has helped create jobs and grow the local economy, supporting 78,900 jobs statewide and generating $43.4 billion in economic activity.

However, our hardworking farmers are facing challenges, including a damaging trade war, consecutive years of low dairy prices and uncertainty surrounding the dairy workforce. To address these problems and others, I recently released my comprehensive Dairy Action Plan.

The main components of my Dairy Action Plan include working to end tariffs that are leaving markets otherwise eager to import Wisconsin dairy products out of reach of our farmers, boosting agricultural innovation, combating farm consolidation and supporting beginning farmers and ranchers. Additionally, as over half of U.S. dairy workers are immigrants, we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform to provide certainty for our dairy workforce while also ensuring necessary funding for border security. We must work together to secure the future of the dairy industry, and continue to support the family farms that have long been the bedrock of our rural communities.

I'm excited to continue stopping by dairy breakfasts around western and central Wisconsin to enjoy delicious food and great company, and hope you and your family can do the same.

Thank you and happy Dairy Month to all the western and central Wisconsin dairy farmers.