NMPF’s Jim Mulhern Talks Dairy Plight on PBS News Hour
Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, made a Thanksgiving Day appearance on the PBS News Hour, describing the plight of dairy farmers in the midst of the trade wars with Mexico and China.
“Things just started to look better this year when some developments in the trade policy front kind of threw a wrench into things, and created some real problems for dairy farmers,” Mulhern told PBS reporter Lisa Desjardins.
Mulhern pointed out that after the trade war with Mexico and China was announced last June, dairy futures markets crashed by $1.8 billion for the last six months of 2018 alone. They have since recovered some, but are still $1.5 billion less than when the trade war was announced.
Deshardins noted that the Trump Administration has provided $12 billion in tariff aid relief to make up for some of the difference. But Mulhern countered that dairy farmers are slated to receive just $127 million of that. “In consumer terms, $127 million…on the second half of the year's milk production is about a penny a gallon, when farmers are losing 12 cents a gallon. So it really is not covering the losses. And so we really are a victim of this trade policy battle that's taking place,” he said.
The segment tallied 57 comments (some multiple) from viewers. Few were sympathetic to dairy farmers’ concerns, claiming farmers were already receiving government subsidies, voted for Trump and were over-producing.