Wisconsin dairy farms face closure due to Canadian policies

26 April, 2017, 08:59 | Author: Essie Rivera
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The immediate trigger for Trump's comments was complaints from American farmers about a new protectionist law adopted in Canada which provides incentives for businesses to purchase ultra-filtered milk, a concentrate used in yoghurt and cheese, from Canadian producers. Fitzgerald says legislators will continue to press the Canadians until they get a good explanation for the policy shift.

"In Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace". Daniel Smith, a state agriculture administrator, said 44 of those farms still haven't found alternatives.

President Trump called it " another typical one-sided deal against the United States".

From record high levels in 2014, the price farmers get for their milk has plummeted 30-40 percent, making it hard for many farms to break even. But the letter also pledges to "eliminate all export subsidies on agricultural products", which could be interpreted as a challenge to the pricing regime that underpins Canada's dairy industry. The improved terms will be effective immediately and are meant to help Wisconsin dairy producers and processors access much-needed capital to address current market conditions. Trump says, "We're going to get the solution".

"Processors have told us for quite a while that they want more milk", he said. "But the clock is ticking louder by the second".

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Since 2011, Canada has encouraged US producers to provide ultra-filtered milk, Ben Brancel, state secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, said on the program.

The letter was to the governors of Wisconsin and NY, who had come together recently to pen a letter to Trump asking him to address Canadian dairy practices.

This month, about 75 Wisconsin dairy farms received letters from Grassland Dairy Products, a milk processing company, telling them that come May 1, Grassland will no longer buy and process the farms' milk. "To all of a sudden shut the door on us makes it very hard, because we have no chance to adjust to the marketplace they have put us in and the peril they have put our farmers in". Businesses also feared that the buy American provisions could exclude Canadian firms from bidding for various projects in the U.S. that have been open under NAFTA. Those farmers have made arrangements for a milk buyer or are headed into an already planned retirement.

"It's bittersweet for us because we know that other good farm families are still looking", he said. Today, it has fewer than 12,000, and every year, a few hundred disappear as farmers leave the business and sell their quota.

You see, Canada uses a supply management system to regulate dairy production and pricing. "And I don't think any dairy farmer in Wisconsin or anywhere else for that matter expects any action either". "The milk keeps coming and the cows keep eating".


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