WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today questioned Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing today on his plans to address restrictive Canadian dairy trade barriers, and President Trump’s budget cuts to rural development programs that would hurt small towns and rural communities.
“Secretary Perdue and I share a commitment to strengthening Wisconsin’s agriculture economy and our rural communities, but Washington needs to step-up and do more,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am concerned that this budget leaves our small towns behind at a time when people are struggling to get ahead. Our rural communities face unique challenges and we must respond with stronger investments in economic development, rebuilding infrastructure, and improving health care.”
Senator Baldwin has been sounding the alarm since last September about Canada’s trade barriers and how they are harming Wisconsin dairy farms. Senator Baldwin has taken action by calling for a federal investigation into these Canadian trade barriers, seeking input from local Wisconsin farmers, as well as urging Secretary Perdue and President Trump to take immediate action to address this issue and assist Wisconsin dairy farmers.
Last month, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to President Trump expressing her strong objections to his proposed Agriculture budget cuts to investments to rural America. These cuts, along with President Trump’s plan to eliminate the USDA Under Secretary of Rural Development, would hurt Wisconsin’s rural communities. In Wisconsin, USDA Rural Development invested $556,267,665 in over 8,500 projects in 2016. This includes $28.9 million invested in Wisconsin rural businesses to retain local jobs, increase production, spur new business growth and more. It also includes $18.4 million of investments in rural community facilities like police and fire stations and $152.4 million invested in 27 infrastructure projects like clean drinking water system upgrades.