A Toop Farms calf, Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

B.C. dairy farmers say new free trade deal ‘terribly weakens’ industry

Farmers slam the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal, despite prime minister’s praise of it

B.C. dairy farmers are disappointed after a new trilateral free trade agreement was reached between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, saying it will weaken the industry.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, announced late Sunday after 14 months of negotiations, includes greater access to the Canadian market by American dairy farmers.

Sixth generation dairy farmer Devan Toop of Chilliwack in the Lower Mainland said the deal will do nothing to help struggling U.S. dairy farmers, nor will it help consumers on this side of the border with lower prices.

“Prices of milk or cheese will not go down because the processors and grocers will absorb the margin,” Toop said on social media soon after word of the deal was released.

“Canadian dairy farmers will now be paid less for their milk as processors import product from the states. [U.S. President Donald] Trump has turned the absurdity of American dairy, a system that needs reform to survive, into a talking point to help Republicans in the upcoming byelection.”

READ MORE: Out with NAFTA, in with USMCA: Canada inks new trade deal

Toop was asked about Trump and supply management during a recent farm tour, and he said Americans need supply management as much as Canada needs to keep it.

“The problem with their milk system isn’t having enough places to put it, it is that they are over-producing on such a grand scale,” he said. “They are dumping milk left, right and centre.”

Clarke Gourlay, dairy farmer and co-owner of Morningstar Farm in Parksville on Vancouver Island, said the new deal will affect milk production.

“It definitely means that we will be producing less Canadian milk, which is not good for Canadian dairy farmers,” Goular said. “It means that Canadian consumers will be purchasing more milk produced on environmentally unsustainable farms with illegal Mexican labour.”

He added that the deal allows for “a lot more substandard milk for the Canadian consumer.”

“We’ve already given away a portion of our market to Europe, to Asia and now to the United States,” he said.

READ MORE: Chilliwack dairy farmer says Trump doesn’t understand the industry

The Dairy Farmers of Canada has said the USMCA would give U.S. farmers greater access to Canada’s dairy industry, worth about 3.6 per cent of Canada’s current dairy market.

The Canadian dairy sector employs more than 220,000 Canadians and contributes close to $20 billion a year to Canada’s gross domestic product.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

Goose in Abbotsford rescued after legs wrapped up in fishing line

Wildlife centre operator says people need to be more careful

Van der Gulik, McLaren named to Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame

Hockey pro, softball umpire headlining the 2020 class, which will now be celebrated on Sept. 26

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

YThrive Home offers dozens of free workout videos for people during COVID-19 self-isolation period

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read