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Thursday - June 14, 2018 3:11 am

Farmers Union Board president feels dairy industry could become national security issue

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The search is on to keep the dairy farming industry vital and competitive.

Should there be more cooperation than competition between America's top dairy producing states?

While Wisconsin is appointing a new task force to keep its dairy industry competitive with California, the president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union Board says there should be ways to protect small farms against dominance by large corporate dairies.

"Do we want fewer and fewer people controlling the process that puts the food on the table?" Darin Von Ruden asked. "I think, at some point in time, it will become a national security issue."

Von Ruden says the U.S. should be sure that big corporate farms don't push small dairy farmers out of business.

"We definitely need to see something different than what we're currently seeing," he said. "The free market system that we've been under is continuing to run dairy producers out of business in Wisconsin at a rate of one and a half to two farmers a day."

The Westby, Wis., dairy farmer asked Gov. Scott Walker to be sure small dairy owners are included on the task force. But also asks that all levels of the industry be represented.

Von Ruden is attending a meeting in Michigan, where farmers are learning how Canada has tried to improve its dairy industry through better management of supplies.

Brad Williams

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area.  Brad writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse.  He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.  

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