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Iowa Dairy Industry Feeling Impacts of Trade War

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Milk prices are on the steady decline. It's good for consumers but not for dairy farmers.

"Dairy farmers have been feeling prolonged low dairy prices. We need solutions as soon as possible," says Mitch Schulte, executive director of the Iowa State Dairy Association.

The ISDA hopes it's in the form of a strong trade agreement. Since the start of this year, 80 dairy farms have been forced to shut down. Iowa dairy experts say the ongoing trade war is to blame.

"When you look at the impact this trade war has had on our dairy farmers. We are definitely not getting compensation for all the lost and damages that are happening on the dairy farms right now," says Schulte.

According to the New York Times, the Trump Administration created a $12 billion bailout program to help cushion the blow for farmers who lost money. However, the Department of Agriculture says only $838 million dollars have been given to farmers. The ISDA says it's disappointed the subsides have not made up for farmers loses.

"I don`t think we expected it to compensate 100 - percent but I do think we expected it to come a little bit closer to the actual loses," he says.

Schulte says livelihoods and the near future of the industry in Iowa are at risk.

"Dairy is a very perishable product, we don`t have the ability to store this over a long period of time. the prices that we are feeling right now are the prices dairy farmers are getting. Others can wait for the product to rebound. We don`t have that option."

ISDA says the government has purchased some of Iowa's dairy products. Metro food pantry DMARC says it has seen an increase in dairy donations.