Wisconsin dairy farmers shut out of Canadian market

07 April, 2017, 06:13 | Author: Leticia Walters

The company cited a substantial loss of ultra-filtered milk exports stemming from new Canadian dairy pricing regulations as the reason behind the broken contracts. Until recently, it had entered Canada duty-free from the United States.

Until recently, ultrafiltered milk - a high-protein concentrated product typically used in cheese production - was exported tariff-free to Canada, unlike USA -produced whole milk. Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood has notified about 75 dairy farmers that after May 1, it won't buy their ultrafiltered milk, leaving them scrambling to find new buyers in a sour market where product already exceeds demand.

"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", said Shawna Morris of the National Milk Producers Federation. "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.

Wisconsin is proud of its status as America's Dairyland, but a simple letter has turned the world upside down for many of Wisconsin's life-long dairy farmers.

Grassland Dairy made the announcement, its ending their deal with farmers May 1st, giving those affected less than 30 days to find a new buyer.

The Canadian tariff was being applied to USA milk being imported into Ontario since April 2016.

The National Milk Producers Federation said that is not true.

A ripple effect caused by newly implemented Canadian dairy trade policies is being felt by Wisconsin dairy processors and farmers alike.

Members of Congress, from Wisconsin to NY, say US exports of ultra-filtered milk are being unfairly blocked by Canada, in violation of trade agreements.

"While Mexico has been an incredibly valuable trading partner for dairy, Canada, by sharp contrast, has habitually worked to undermine dairy trade", Mulhern said in a news release.

"When we allow Canadian products in duty free but, they find a loophole for American milk, that's not fair. Canada's new national ingredients strategy is expressly meant to both slash the importation of milk proteins from America, and create a new mechanism to dump milk proteins on the world market".

The Gartman Dairy farm in Sheboygan has 120 cows and has been around for more than 60 years.

"Grassland recently made the hard decision to reduce our milk intake volumes".

Earlier this week it sent the Gartman Farm and 74 other farms a letter. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson also issued statements, saying they would like to see if the situation can be investigated to determine if USA dairy exports were being unfairly blocked.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has expressed concern over this looming policy for over a year.

"I hope you encourage researchers and scientists to be creative and think outside the box", the letter said.

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