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Is Canada really a bad country?

Arden Tewksbury
Arden Tewsbury

If anyone read certain news stories lately, they might get the impression that Canada has turned into a real bad country.

Gosh, I always thought that Canada was one of the USA’s finest friends. I remember when dairy farmers used to go to Canada just to buy Canadian dairy cows. What happened?

I fully realize that when two countries enter into a trade agreement, both countries should try to do their best to comply with the language of the treaty. According to dairy farmers (some in Wisconsin) that I have spoken with, many feel that Canada is not the real culprit.

In the recent dispute between Canada and the United States, some of these dairy farmers blame the problems on some milk processors that continue to push dairy farmers to produce more and more milk. Doesn’t this sound familiar? For several years some political people in New York State along with some economists and dairy cooperatives encouraged dairy farmers in New York State to produce more milk for the up and coming yogurt plants.

However, when the Pepsi-Mueller plant in Western New York fizzled out, along with the Chobani owners relocating some of their business to the state of Idaho caused a glut of milk being produced in New York State. The production in that state increased nearly four per cent, which is far above the national level. The end result was nearly 900 dairy farmers in New York and Pennsylvania were placed in limbo for a milk market. While this problem has been temporarily resolved, the problem could raise its ugly head again next year.

However, the biggest problem now is in Wisconsin. Instead of certain officials in the USA tearing Canada apart, we should be attempting to obtain a market for these producers.

While none of us has seen the treaty between the US and Canada, it behooves the US that these 50 some dairy farmers in Wisconsin are not thrown to the wolves. Continuing to place more sanctions on some commodities from Canada will not solve the problem. However, what people are really not saying is the following: we have certain people in the dairy industry (not the dairy farmers) and the political arena that would like to see the Canadian quota system on dairy farmers eliminated. That is the real story! If the Canadians are satisfied with their quota system, then we should leave them alone!

Let’s do something about the real problem. All dairy farmers need a new pricing formula that would allow dairy farmers the opportunity to cover their costs, plus a supply management program like the one contained in the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act.

We also need a serious evaluation of the controversial ingredients that are being extracted from milk to find out if they are really beneficial in the pricing system, and do consumers realize how many products contain these ingredients?

Remember, the US has a population of over 300 million people, and Canada has 35 million people.

The US dairy farmers are producing at least 206 billion pounds of milk per year, while Canadian farmers are producing nearly 20 billion pounds.

Who should be afraid of whom?

Let’s stop throwing the baloney around and sit down and correct the real problems that are facing all dairy farmers across the US.

Tewksbury is the manager of Pro-Ag.