Farmers face uncertain future after Grassland Dairy Products cuts contracts

Published: Apr. 5, 2017 at 6:11 PM CDT
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The future is now uncertain for some Wisconsin dairy farmers, after Grassland Dairy products sent a letter to at least 75 farmers to let them know their contracts with the company would be ending.

In its letter the company, based out of Greenwood in Clark County, said the Canadian government has put in place trade regulations aimed at preventing the company’s sale of their products to the Canadian market. Because of these regulation, the company’s sales agreement with the country has been terminated.

It has farmers like Jennifer and Shane Sauer of Waterloo scrambling to figure out what to do next.

"Our world revolves around these cows, and we're hoping to continue. But if we don't have a place for our milk, we can't continue,” Jennifer said.

Wausau area farmer James Juedes believes finding a place for those farmers to sell, may be a difficult task.

"To put it bluntly, there is nowhere else to go with the milk. I mean everything is full. So their only choice at this point is basically to try to sell out to people that exist or sell out completely and file for bankruptcy,” Juedes said.

The letter comes as a shock to the Sauer’s.

"It's heartbreaking. I don't know. We've worked day and night to get where we're at,” Jennifer said.

It has farmers like Juedes worried as well. His farm is not affected, but he fears that may not always be the case.

"What effects one effects everybody. We know that just because it wasn't us, doesn't mean it's not going to be us the next time,” Juedes said.

He believes cooperation between all parties involved will be needed to ensure other farms don’t face the same fate.

"The only way to really curb this, for us as farmers and as an industry, processors everything like that, is to come together and come up with some plan,” Juedes said.

The 75 farmers who received the Grasslands letter have until May 1 to find another buyer.

In their letter, the company called the decision “difficult but necessary.”

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