Comments were made after signing Buy American and Hire American executive order
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
U.S. President Donald Trump set his sights on Canada’s supply-managed dairy industry.
The President called Canada’s system “unfair” during a stop in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he also signed his Buy American and Hire American executive order.
“We’re also going to stand up for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin,” he told a group of supporters at Snap-on Tools. “In Canada, some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers and we’re going to start working on that … it’s another typical one-sided deal against the United States.”
Trump alluded to a milk ingredient class created in Ontario last April that allows Canadian ingredients to be more competitive domestically. Canada could also enforce the strategy nationally.
Prior to Ontario's motion, Grassland Dairy Products in Wisconsin sent more than one million pounds of ultra-filtered milk, a protein liquid concentrate used in cheese, across the border daily and duty-free.
Earlier in the month, Grassland Dairy Products announced it’s reducing intake from local producers.
And a Jan. 13 letter signed by many American dairy groups estimates companies in Wisconsin and New York are losing $150 million as a result of Canada’s system.
Trump’s comments have caught the attention of Canadian producers.
“As a producer working under a system that's fair to both us and the consumer, his comments are concerning, sure,” Amy Matheson, a dairy farmer from Oxford County, told Farms.com. “(I feel) he gravely lacks any depth or understanding of our fair farm pricing system (but) I'm not alarmed by his posturing.”
And Dairy Farmers of Canada remains confident the federal government will “defend the Canadian dairy industry,” according to a statement to CBC.
Canada’s ambassador to the United States has also come to the defence of supply management.
“Canada is not to blame for the global situation that both Canadian and American dairy farmers face,” David MacNaughton said in a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. “Our government supports Canada’s supply management system, dairy farmers and the entire dairy industry.
“Dairy trade between Canada and the U.S. is important and the sectoral trade balance massively favours the U.S., at around 5 to 1,” the letter said. “U.S. exports of milk protein substances, including diafiltered milk to Canada, were USD$98 million in 2016, up from USD$33 million in 2011.”
Farms.com has reached out to dairy producers and organizations in Canada and the United States for more input on President Trump’s comments.