Sask. producer expanding despite Trump’s threat dairy deal is about to spoil
When it comes to trade with the United States, Canada’s closest ally and largest trading partner, tensions are high. Canadian steel and aluminum took the first hit and it seems a decades-old deal on Canadian dairy might too be spoiling.
After nearly 40 years in operation, Melvin Foth and his family have grown their dairy operation from 40 cows to 600. Under a supply management system, Foth waits for opportunities to expand, recently gaining authorization to increase his quota by about 200 cows.
“We are currently starting construction of another barn,” Foth said.
But the timing couldn’t be worse. Canadian dairy is unstable after U.S. President Donald Trump took aim at the sector at the G7 summit.
“The United States has been taken advantage of for decades and decades and we can’t do that anymore,” Trump said.
“People can’t charge us 270 per cent and we charge them nothing. That doesn’t work anymore,” he said.
Dairy in the U.S. is struggling. While SaskMilk admits tariffs on select dairy products are nearly 300 per cent, Canadian milk is directly paid for by the consumer.
“If Canada were to remove every tariff on our dairy products or eggs or poultry it’s not going to level the playing field because again, in the U.S., they’re getting government subsidies and price support programs and other things that are assisting their producers,” Joy Smith, with SaskMilk, said.
Critics have accused Trump of cherry picking his facts and not mentioning 10 per cent of U.S. dairy enters Canada tariff free.
Trump has taken to twitter attacking Canadian dairy and the prime minister – who stand united.
NAFTA negotiations continue and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay will host the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on his family farm in P.E.I. Friday.
Meanwhile on his dairy farm in central Saskatchewan, Foth continues milking.
“We have concerns today. Those concerns are greater than they have been but we’re still optimistic and hopeful.”
After all, there’s no use crying over the potential of spilled milk.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.