On April 21, Cooperative Network met with U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL – MN), Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Commissioner Dave Frederickson, and MDA Deputy Commissioner Matt Wohlman to discuss dairy, trade, immigration, healthcare, and other related issues. Senator Franken invited Cooperative Network and other parties affected by the change in a Canadian dairy regulation which took place earlier this year that affects the ability of U.S. dairy processors to sell ultra-filtered milk to Canada.
This issue has been referred to as the "Grassland Situation" and impacts fifty-eight producers in Wisconsin and ten in Minnesota. Cooperative Network explained how it has been working with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and other processing groups to find a place for the impacted Wisconsin producers to ship their milk. Cooperative Network stressed that the federal government should not impose a federally mandated supply management system as a solution, and that dairy cooperatives currently have the ability to work with their members to make production meet the needs of the market place.
Senator Franken was also interested in the work Cooperative Network has done to allow for the creation of healthcare cooperatives for farmers in Minnesota.