February 4, 2020

Dairy Farmers Head to D.C. For State of The Union Address

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

While many make their way to Washington D.C. for tonight’s State of the Union address, a handful of farmers including two dairy farmers will be among them. Les Danielson from Cadott, Wisconsin and David Fisher of Madrid, New York will be at the capitol building tonight for President Donald Trump’s final first-term State of the Union. 

“I was pretty pleased when Senator Baldwin [who invited Danielson] called up and said that she wanted to emphasize you know, how farmers are doing,” he told AgriTalk host Chip Flory. “She invited me to the State of the Union and we're out here talking trade and renewable fuels and all things ag.”

Danielson who also grows corn and soybeans says during the day today he’s on Capitol Hill talking with lawmakers about renewable fuels, small refinery exemptions and of course trade.  

“I'm a little less optimistic maybe than some people are on the China trade deal and our ability to regain the markets that we lost to Brazil and Argentina,” he explained. 

David and the Fisher family have been operating Mapleview Dairy for four generations. Fisher has been an active member in his community, serving on the Madrid Town Board for many years, and is currently in his second term as President of the New York Farm Bureau.

“I would like to thank Congresswoman Stefanik for the special opportunity to attend the 2020 State of the Union Address,” Fisher said. “As a farmer and constituent from New York’s 21st District, I appreciate the invitation to be a part of this annual historical event as well as to engage in our country’s political process.”

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik who invited Fisher to attend says she thinks the President will highlight many of agriculture’s wins in his remarks. 

Danielson says he thinks the President will mention ag in the address. However, he says his actions and words don’t always align.

“He talks a lot about ag and he was in Iowa telling us we need to buy bigger tractors and more land, but that does not square with what farmers are worried about,” he says. “Farmers are worried about renewing operating loans and how they're gonna pay for their inputs this year. So, I guess I'd like to see a more concrete plan on what's going to happen because what he's saying and what I'm seeing are very, very different.”

Danielson says it doesn’t make sense to enter the trade war which caused lost markets while also beginning to issue small refinery waivers. 

“If anything, the billion bushel of corn that we've lost the last two years that could have been turned to ethanol at the very time farmers needed that most. That does not square with what I'm hearing from the speeches.”