Canadian tariff impacts WI dairy farmers

Grassland Dairy cuts back on number of farms supplying milk

Grassland Dairy cuts back on number of farms supplying milk

Prior to Canada's motion, Grassland sent more than 1 million pounds of ultra-filtered milk, a protein liquid concentrate used in cheese, across the border daily and duty-free. Canada is no longer accepting the milk due to the country's new Class 7 pricing policy.

During the last so-called spring flush in May and June of previous year, the amount of milk wasted or used for animal feed in the northeastern USA exceeded 75 million pounds, the highest recorded in government data going back to 2000.

"They have shifted the incentives to Canadian buyers to make it less attractive for them to keep buying from the USA and financially more attractive to buy from Canadian farmers instead", she added.

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"The minute Canada can actually revisit policy, these farmers will have the market again", says Jamie Castaneda, the Senior VP of National Milk Producers Federation. "Finding a new processor fast (to replace Grassland) is my priority".

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Madison, asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate whether Canada is unfairly blocking U.S. exports and if trade agreements have been violated.

"The problem right now is that we've seen milk production go up in other states, including South Dakota and MI, and (Wisconsin processors have) bought up some of that milk, so the system is full right now and has left us less flexibility than we had hoped for", Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel told the Wisconsin State Journal.

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WA Farmers dairy section president Michael Partridge said the letter stated the cost to farmers would be between one and four cents a litre during times of oversupply.

"When we allow Canadian products in duty free but, they find a loophole for American milk, that's not fair". The announcement that Grassland Dairy will be cutting its milk intake from our local farms because of new Canadian regulations preventing the sale of our dairy products in their country is not consistent with our values nor our agreements. For now, though, about 75 farms are losing their milk contracts with Grassland because of the trade dispute, putting those farms in a perilous situation. "We immediately began making phone calls to other processors to see if they can create some openings to accept the milk from these farms that were dropped", Brancel said. "We continue to witness a backsliding by Canada in its already agreed-to market access for USA products". Both Grassland Dairy and Nasonville Dairy have each told media outlets that the decision to reduce the number of pick-up customers was "extremely difficult" to make and could not be avoided because they have no where else to go with the extra milk they can no longer sell. There also are no state or federal subsidies available to assist affected dairy farmers. "A cow is a mammal, not a machine - you can't just turn her milk production off with a switch and wait for better market conditions".

The controversial policy has re-priced Canadian milk products in ways that have directly impacted demand for imported products.

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