NAFTA increases dairy farm pollution -- Charlie Talbert

December 3, 2017 GMT

In a his Nov. 26 column “Dairy farmers need NAFTA,” former Iowa governor and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offered a shortsighted view that overlooks the long-term interests of the public and of the dairy farmers themselves.

What dairy farmers need are subsidies and educational resources to help them transition to producing food that, unlike dairy, doesn’t choke Wisconsin lakes with toxic algae, pollute our air with greenhouse gases, contaminate our ground water with manure runoff, and threaten our biodiversity with the expanses of monoculture crops that dominate our landscape.

Vilsack promotes the export opportunities that the North American Free Trade Agreement brings to Wisconsin’s dairy industry. But those exports to other countries force Wisconsin citizens to absorb the additional environmental costs needed to produce the exports.

It’s not a bargain we can all live with.

Charlie Talbert, Monona