Wisconsin's Got Milk, But Canada Doesn't Want It

Posted April 08, 2017

"There was no way to know that we, as a dairy, and 74 others would be the ones to get picked off", Kristina Hopkins, a producer from Oconomowoc, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"We encourage other dairy processors to be more forward-thinking in their communications with their farmers". Milk production in the U.S.is 2.5 percent above last year's levels.

"For every seven days that we're producing dairy products, one of those days is used in the export market, and this shows what happens when you lose part of that export market".

As Mike Buwalda loaded his trailer with milk from the Roskopf family farm Thursday, he openly anxious about how Grassland's decision could impact the entire community.

The USDA has the power to support agriculture producers by purchasing surplus foods under the Agriculture Act of 1935. The Virginia-based organization said Canada is now promising lower prices for processors, as long as they buy Canadian milk.

Milk processor Harvey Fresh has sent a letter to its suppliers offering a "pain share" proposal to avoid farmers losing contracts, according to Western Australia's peak body for dairy. It's part of a trade dispute over ultra-filtered milk between the U.S. and Canada. "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.

"All Canadian dairy processors are entitled to source from any supplier they want, just like the US processors, said DFC Director of Communications, Isabelle Bouchard, "Nothing has changed in Canada".

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Over 70 Wisconsin dairy operations have felt the blow from Canada's latest protectionist trade policies overnight, as the policies have worked to slam the door on American dairy exports, violating existing trade commitments between the two nations and leaving farmers scrambling for buyers. They're on edge, wondering what they'd do if they lost their markets for milk, too.

We are writing to ask your help in providing urgently needed assistance to Wisconsin and NY dairy farmers victimized by Canada's recent actions to shut down the ultra-filtered milk trade from USA producers.

The offices of Wisconsin Senators Ron Johnson (R) and Tammy Baldwin (D) both provided responses Thursday, saying they hope to work with White House officials and the Canadian government to reach a solution.

"If we can get a little bit of export strength going for USA dairy products in the second half of 2017, we can talk about prices that are going to move higher relative to where we were in 2016", said Dr. Scott Brown, an economist at the University of Missouri.

Dairy experts say there is too much milk available on the market today, and contractual obligations at other milk processors or dairies that make yogurt and ice cream may not allow them to accept more milk from new sources.

In a statement Tuesday, Congressman Mike Gallagher, a Green Bay Republican, said Canada's new policies "preventing the sale of our dairy products in their country is not consistent with our values nor our agreements".

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