DFC hits back at politicians over dairy losses in trade deal

The Dairy Farmers of Canada is expressing angry discontent at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is expressing its strong disappointment in the concessions given to the U.S. in the new USMCA trade agreement.

“The announced concessions on dairy in the new USMCA deal demonstrates once again that the Canadian government is willing to sacrifice our domestic dairy production when it comes time to make a deal,” said Pierre Lampron, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Why it matters: The small details are important in the trade deal as dairy farmers and processors had created milk classes that allowed for a way to export more excess milk products outside the country. Caps on those systems will reduce flexibility in the system.

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“Today, the message sent to our passionate, proud and quality-conscious farmers and all the people who work in the dairy sector is clear: they are nothing more than a bargaining chip to satisfy President Trump,” said Lampron.

The dairy details

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement allows 3.6 per cent more American access to the Canadian dairy market. It also eliminates Class 6 and 7, which priced Canadian milk competitively with U.S. milk (although usually not lower) in order to compete with milk protein isolates and to sell skim milk powder.

As Canadians have taken to higher-fat products like butter, the amount of skim milk powder on the market has increased.

The new deal limits Canadian exports of skim milk powder, milk protein isolates and infant formula, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

However, it does look like Canada will be able to price skim milk solids used to produce nonfat dry milk, milk protein isolates, and infant formula as low as the American price within its export quotas. The amount of skim milk powder and milk protein isolates for export will fall during the first two years the agreement is implemented. Infant formula exports will be allowed to increase to a cap.

The national organization for dairy farmers directed several sharp tweets to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau including:

– @JustinTrudeau are you protecting middle class jobs? The 220,000 Canadian families who depend on dairy for their livelihood (on farms, in processing plants and related jobs) feel they were used as a bargaining chip to conclude this agreement.

– @JustinTrudeau, for the US, this was never about supply management. US Secretary of Agriculture @SecretarySonny said months ago “It’s not our purpose to try to manage or try to get involved in their internal supply management regarding the dairy industry”

– A handful of dollars doesn’t replace the livelihood of dairy farmers.

– @JustinTrudeau opens our dairy market to the US and agrees to caps on exports. How is this good for Canadians?

About the author


John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig



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