As Gov. Scott Walker praises President Donald Trump for imposing tariffs on Canada following a policy change that left dozens of Wisconsin farms without a milk buyer, a state official said Tuesday that around 15 more farms have found buyers or have promising leads.
This new trade policy has had immediate effects on Wisconsin dairy farmers.
Before the market was rigged there was little price difference for dairy products between Canada and the U.S. Since then the changes gave the Canadian dairy industry the ability to restrict supply and enjoy a monopoly.
On Thursday, though, dairy farmers close to the situation said almost all of the farms that lost their contracts with Grassland now appear likely to have new milk buyers by Monday, even if the agreements are short term.
Adding to the groundswell of recognition that Canada's protectionist dairy policies are harmful to US dairy exports, a bipartisan group of 68 members of the House of Representatives wrote to President Donald Trump yesterday urging him to insist that Canada comply with its dairy trade commitments, including those under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
That's according to Minnesota Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Margaret Hart.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that Canada had been notified about Trump's decision and that the tariff will be applied retroactively.
Like Mexico and China before it, Canada finds itself on center stage in Trump's trade agenda.
"If NAFTA were functioning properly you wouldn't be having these sorts of very prickly, very unfortunate developments back to back", Ross said. "It's a disgrace. Rules, regulations, different things have changed - and our farmers in Wisconsin and NY state are being put out of business".
Recently, Trump called on Canada to undo its harmful pricing policy.
He says Canada has been working for the past year on new rules to allow for pricing of ultrafiltered milk as a separate product, which would allow Canadian producers to sell it cheaper.
Trade deals like NAFTA thrive on such commodity speculation that boosts corporate profits, while bankrupting family farmers, price gouging consumers and destroying the environment.
"It has been a bad week for U.S".
"We can't let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers", Trump concluded.
Bozic says producers may buy into processing facilities as a way to hedge their interests, much like how some dairy farmers have purchased fields on which to produce feed and spread manure.
"We're also going to stand up for our dairy farmers", Mr. Trump said last week during a visit to Wisconsin.
DFA is a national dairy marketing cooperative that serves and is owned by more than 13,000 members on almost 8,000 farms in 48 states.
"I wasn't ready, I don't think, to quit farming yet".
"We have been helped as a dairy industry by NAFTA access to Mexico", he said.
"We need to get at the root of the problem", said Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation in Washington, D.C.
Over the years, dairy farmers have become great cost managers, as it is the only way for them to earn more by doing the same thing.
I appreciate all of the effort that has been focused on addressing this dire situation from my colleagues in the State Legislature all the way up to President Trump and his administration.