Wednesday, June 6, 2018

It's an election year, so Walker discovers WI dairy 'crisis'

Public officials create task forces to paper over inaction, minimize failure and avoid being taken to task by voters.

Remember the task force Walker ordered up in September, 2016 to fight opioid abuse - - an issue he relentlessly promotes along with his efforts, he says - -  but hopes you didn't see this March, 2018 story and hold him accountable:
Emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased 109 percent in Wisconsin from July 2016 to September 2017, the highest spike among 16 states closely tracked, federal health officials said... 
But this is an election year, and always-campaign Scott Walker just took Task Force 101 to the next level
Scott Walker says crisis team needed to help state's crippled dairy industry
Wait. He's not done, as his taxpayer-paid p.r. machinery layered on the buzzwords:
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the University of Wisconsin System (UW System) will create Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 that will enable stakeholders to come together to make recommendations on actions needed to maintain a viable and profitable dairy industry in our state.
So while you are distracted by his attention to "crisis" and "Task Force 2.0," will he remind people that he wanted credit in 2012 for financing a 15% increase in state milk production that is now clogged by oversupply and damaged by lower prices? 

Also - -  have I just heard that same kind of Johnny-come-lately-language camouflaging years of inaction on something that is a long-standing crisis he'd ignored?

Oh, here it is in this election-year scramble:
MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker directed state agencies today to develop emergency regulations requiring captive deer farms to bolster fencing and restricting deer movement in an effort to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease, saying it's time to get more aggressive in the fight against the fatal deer brain ailment. 
State officials have been struggling to find an effective strategy against CWD since it was discovered in Wisconsin in 2002. Walker has been criticized by Democrats for adopting a largely hands-off strategy centered on monitoring spread and research.
One more thing about the Wisconsin dairy situation, which, by the way, will be made worse for state producers by Walker's buddy Trump's tariffs which are creating retaliatory measures aimed our way.

Many experts say a root problem is the oversupply of milk, so let's not forget what I pointed out 16 months ago: 
You have probably read about a sudden trade-related change in milk supply purchasing procedures that places many smaller Wisconsin dairy farms in serious jeopardy:
Dairy farms in Wisconsin and other states could be forced out of business as early as May because of a trade dispute that has halted the export of their milk to Canada.
About 75 farms in Wisconsin have already been told that, in less than 30 days, Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood will no longer buy their milk – leaving the farms without a place to ship their product in an already oversupplied market.
I was struck by that phrase "in an already oversupplied market." 
Here's the thought again in this very personal, recent account on behalf of small farms:
It is insanity to continue full throttle with production. We need to develop common-sense oversupply management measures that will responsibly balance the milk supply and take some of the gamble out of farming – milk supply management should not be achieved by processors abruptly dropping existing  farmers. I believe that when milk goes down the road, farmers shouldn’t be losing money. I also believe farmers shouldn’t have to fear the walk down their driveway to the mailbox.
You probably also know by now that GOP servitude by right-wing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to donors, trade associations and lobbyists is approaching a big payoff: the privilege through de-regulation privatization to pump out large volumes of groundwater through permanent, big-volume permits at the expense of downstream and nearby users and a constitutionally-guaranteed clean and fully accessible statewide water table where groundwater and surfaces are inextricably linked...
So let's make some connections:
It's not surprising that the smaller farming operations are at the greater risk when the supply chain take a sudden hit, yet Wisconsin government in the Walker years of one-party, corporate-obeisant rule has been applying its official authority in a coordinated way to increase milk production to over-supply conditions while disregarding the consequences on small dairy farmers - - and the water supply, drinking water contamination and other issues.
Clearly there is a lot wrong with this picture; the common thread is that those with the least power are being ignored and abused by those with more power, or access to it. So consider that:
*  Walker in 2012 began financing a state plan to boost milk production in the state:
Walker hopes to grow Badger State milk production to 30 billion pounds annually by 2020. The effort to do that has been dubbed "30x20" and is part of the Grow Wisconsin Dairy program.
Walker unveiled his proposal in Madison on March 13. He chose the twentieth annual business conference of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) for his announcement.
*  GOP Attorney General, at the request of GOP legislators, issued an opinion last year that would make it easier for the DNR to award high-volume ground water permits sought by Big Ag and Big Dairy.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says the Department of Natural Resources can’t consider the collective impacts of high capacity wells in a given region when issuing new well withdrawal permits, according to an opinion released Tuesday.
That began with a request by GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who, in turn, was carrying water for major special interests which hand-delivered their demands to the Legislature.
When will Wisconsin GOP leaders step up and accept their share of the blame for the crisis Walker just discovered? 


Anonymous said...

Good post, but I feel compelled to bring another important item to the table. Most people have never heard of a monopsony, which is a market in which there is only one buyer.

And just like a few sellers essentially act act together, with or without direct collusion, and effectively have all the power of a monopoly -- this is what is destroying Wisconsin's dairy heritage.

Farmers sell a commodity and all the power is in the hands of a few corporations. They get their price or they don't buy at all. This is what the republican agenda, state and national, creates. Big cheese and milk processors have no use for family dairy operations.

Sadly, these ill-informed people tended to overwhelming support Scott Walker and the out-of-state corporate agenda he and his republican cronies represent. Wisconsin's media never told the truth about what was happening -- hiding behind the lie of objective journalism (that republican and democratic perspectives are always equally valid wither they are accurate and honest).

While being shills for Scott Walker is what brought down Journal Communications, please not that right-wing hack Christian Schneider is still a prominent GOP rock start there. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It will be interesting to see what Walker does to replace the propaganda shill Charlie Sykes that pumped up the republican lies year after year across much of Wisconsin. Walker is postering and the media across Wisconsin will largely hold him up now as a friend of the family farmer.

Framing this as being about "over-supply" does not tell the full-story. The dairy monopsony creates this illussion -- there is no "free market" for milk.

I believe we will not see change until there is more said about how the corporate agenda destroys the economy for workers, family businesses, and struggling families.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

I agree that the love from the Dairy Business Association, CAFOs, and other Big Ag gives to Scotty is a big part of this problem, Anon. These guys are big enough to not need much of a margin and can cut costs through their huge scale. Ma and Pa Kettle can't, and that's who's going out of business.

Scotty clearly got polling indicating he was losing rurals on this and related issues, and so the grifter is desperately trying to seem like he cares and is doing something. I'd prefer a Guv that actually cares about finding solutions to problems before it's an election year. Call me crazy.

Anonymous said...

For people that think poo is gold Walker is their guy!