November 7, 2016

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (November 7, 2016) – As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) struggles to gain support on Capitol Hill, Wisconsin dairy farmers overwhelmingly agree that Congress should reject the trade agreement in its current form. In a survey of all dairy producers in Wisconsin, conducted by Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU), nearly 80 percent of the more than 1000 respondents agreed TPP should be rejected until milk import concerns are resolved in the agreement.

“This survey underscores what we have been consistently hearing from producers all across the country. TPP is a bad deal for America’s family farmers and ranchers. Particularly, for dairy producers, who are pinched by persistently low milk prices due to overproduction, TPP stands to further undermine an already volatile dairy market,” said Roger Johnson, president of National Farmers Union.

For a majority of the surveyed producers, opening up U.S. borders for low-cost Milk Protein Concentrates (MPCs) imports is the most common concern with the current TPP trade agreement. Comments like “Fair trade-not free trade!” were popular for respondents.

“In the case of TPP, we will be opening our borders to a flood of low-cost MPCs from New Zealand, which will displace Wisconsin milk in cheese production. This loss will supposedly be offset by giving U.S. dairy producers access to the Japanese market, but that access could evaporate overnight if Japan manipulates its currency to make U.S. imports more expensive,” said WFU President Darin Von Ruden. “TPP should be put on hold until it includes binding provisions against currency manipulation.

The survey also asked respondents to rate their level of concern about entering into a trade agreement with countries who are known currency manipulators and the loss of U.S. sovereignty due to the expansion of Investor-State dispute resolutions. More than half of the respondents said they were “very concerned” about currency manipulation, while 70 percent answered they were “very” or “somewhat concerned” about the loss of U.S. sovereignty.

“We can do better for our family farmers and ranchers than TPP. I urge Congress to oppose the agreement if it comes to a vote in the lame duck session,” Johnson concluded.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.