Canadian dairy farmers defend industry after trade tirade by U.S. President Trump
Chance Hofstra is following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. The 22 year-old helps run the family’s dairy farm southeast of Leduc, Alberta.
“As a kid if you’re not working, you’re playing in the barn, because that’s the fun place to be,” Hofstra said. “Now that I’m older, that’s my full-time job.”
Hofstra has brought his best cows to the 2017 Dairy Classic Championship Show. While his cows are in the limelight, his livelihood is under the political spotlight
U.S. President Donald Trump recently criticized Canadian trade policies for being unfair. He called Canada a ‘disgrace’ for how the country is treating U.S. dairy farmers.
Trump slammed Canada for the second time this week, pushing his “America first” message.
Leaders in the Canadian dairy industry are defending the supply-management system.
“It allows us to focus on Canadian consumers and Canadian production,” said Holstein Canada president Orville Schmidt.
He added Canadian farmers produce enough to meet demand.
“We are not sending milk to the U.S. because that’s not our market,” Schmidt said. “If [Trump] wants to bring milk to Canada, it’s only because he wants to find a place to sell his surplus. So maybe he needs to control his surplus and not try to find a place to sell it.”
The trade skirmish isn’t the focus of aspiring dairy farmers, who are keeping their eyes on the prize at the Dairy Classic.
“If you have the grand champion animal, her offspring and her genetics might be worth more in the future,” said Danielle Lee, chair of the Dairy Classic committee.
She says family-run dairy businesses are keeping tradition alive. Dairy cows have been shown at the Classic since 1886.
The 2017 Dairy Classic Championship Show continues Friday and Saturday.
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