Trump Takes Aim at Canada's Dairy Industry

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The majority of Wisconsin farms dropped by Grassland Dairy as a result of a change in Canada's dairy pricing structure have now found new buyers for their milk.

While most Americans probably aren't looking for skim milk powder at the supermarket, it's a major export product (along with nonfat dry milk) because it has low moisture content and a longer shelf life.

Mark Navis, a milk producer who owns a farm in Fond du Lac County, also said DFA has agreed to buy his milk.

While Trump has accused Canada of acting "unfairly", Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the problem is a result of a USA dairy surplus, not Canadian policies. Grassland, for not having a plan in place to accommodate the milk of loyal patrons.

According to Grassland's Vice President of Business Development, the decision to cancel the Minnesota contracts impacted one million pounds of milk per day.

But a Canadian trade barrier is keeping some NY milk from crossing the border, drying up an important source of income, while putting even more milk on an already flooded USA market. "This trade dispute threatens the families that have worked so hard to build it. WMMB is exploring options with our industry, retail and foodservice partners to help support the affected dairy farmers".

"I look forward to working with the administration to pressure and persuade the Canadians to reverse this unwise policy, which is a violation of our agreements", Mr. Schumer said in a statement.

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With the United States now exporting 14% to 16% of its production, what happens in Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Europe and China has a huge impact on milk prices in NY and California and every point in between. Trump has called Canada's policy "unfair" and responded this week with a tax on Canadian timber. The new pricing category covered skim milk components, such as skim milk powder and milk protein concentrate, to be sold to Canadian processors at world pricing. In response, the government has been buying up surplus milk and cheese at inflated prices to support American farmers. Meanwhile, US processors and producers assumed NAFTA promised them a never-ending market for their excess production-a reckless trade policy. With NAFTA 2.0 on its way, Canadian dairy farmers are about to find out that decades of defending the status quo was the wrong strategy.

Junior New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, during a Friday visit to Glens Falls, said the barrier is "really hurting our farmers". Even Schumer, who has a contentious relationship with Trump, tweeted praise for the president's get-tough approach to Canada.

"We would have to have an auction", said Matt Gartman of the Phil-Mar-Ru dairy farm, which has been in business for seven generations.

"Dairy farming has a 160-year tradition in Wisconsin", said Patrick Geoghegan, WMMB SVP, Corporate Communications. "We hope they move quickly before we are forced to take retaliatory trade actions against them".

"However, when you ask the government to get involved, it's always a mixed blessing", he said.

She said the countries should work to negotiate a new agreement related to softwood lumber.

The Canadian dairy industry insisted that the policy change is being unfairly scapegoated, blaming the problem instead on a glut in the American dairy supply.

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