Les Danielson is back on his farm in Cadott, after a whirlwind couple of days in the nation’s capital.
“The State of the Union was a wonderful experience. Everything from the President’s speech to the reception to seeing how it was received. A very unique opportunity, very unique,” said Danielson.
He was invited to the State of the Union as a guest of Senator Tammy Baldwin.
Danielson says the first time he met the Senator was in 2018 after the Farm Bill was passed.
“I was very honored that she thought of the farmers as her issue to highlight this year in the State of the Union. With what farmers have been through over the last two years with the trade issues we’ve been facing,” said Danielson.
During his time in D.C., Danielson met with lawmakers and agriculture aids to explain the state of the industry, attended a reception with all 100 senators and saw the State of the Union from inside the Capital.
During the address, President Trump touted the newly signed United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, which replaced NAFTA.
“As a farmer, we very much appreciate that the President is willing to acknowledge farmers and talk about farmers frequently. However the President seems to have a different perception of what we’re going through than what we’re actually going through,” explained Danielson.
Danielson has been a grain and dairy farmer for nearly 30 years.
He says the most pressing issue facing farmers today is the dwindling trade market.
“The longer we’re out of the export market the longer, primarily the Chinese, are able to buy their product from another supplier we risk being replaced. And it’s been two production seasons now that that has happened and we’re going into a third production season,” said Danielson.
Wisconsin is home to more than 7,000 dairy farms and exported $3.5 billion worth of agriculture products in 2018, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
Danielson wants to see the industry he loves so much, begin to thrive again.
Reflecting on his experience, Danielson says it was one of the most uplifting times he’s ever had.
In part due to the positivity he felt from Senators and other he met while in D.C.