New tariffs on softwood lumber and talk from U.S. President Donald Trump about making changes to dairy trade between the U.S. and Canada has farmers in Alberta concerned.
Jeff Nonay, the owner/operator of Lakeside Dairy, told 630 CHED News, in the U.S., when the price of dairy goes down, farmers are encouraged to produce more.
“So the answer in the U.S. is always produce more and that is just problematic,” Nonay explained.
“The system in Canada still wants to grow the marketplace and we’ve been successful in doing that and the supply management system has evolved and will continue to evolve to meet our processors changing realities, as well as servicing the needs of consumers.”
He explained, across the globe, governments are implementing strategies to reduce production, putting on quotas on phosphorous and every jurisdiction is realizing it is a supply problem.
“I don’t think the Americans can ignore that fact,” Nonay said. “So when they sit down to negotiate, that one will be really hard for them to argue on their side, that there is some wrongdoing or even some benefit that Canada can offer really any more than it does.”
Nonay explained the facts do not support the U.S. farmers or Trump’s claims that Canadian farms and dairy are hurting the U.S. business.
Nonay added, if the U.S. looks at the facts, it will realize Canada cannot solve this problem for them.
“Our trade ministers, our ambassadors, the prime minister himself, very quickly showed they do understand the facts, they know the reality of the situation and those things give us a lot of confidence.”
Nonay added Canada imports far more dairy from the U.S. than we export to them.
Alberta’s Dairy Farmers released a statement stating they disagree with Trump’s comments.
“Our marketing system works in our country and it’s not for other countries to determine what the best fit is for Canadians. We know supply management has served our country very well through many trade agreements.”
The response ends by stating the group values the U.S. relationship but suggests this isn’t about trade restrictions, but is more about Canadian products and U.S. over-saturation.