State News

Walker, Trump talk Canadian trade disputes, dairy

Gov. Scott Walker spoke with President Donald Trump over the phone Tuesday about Canada’s new policy that has resulted in several Wisconsin farms going out of business or heading in that direction. 

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Following Canada's recent trade policy that hurts sales of American milk, Gov. Scott Walker spoke with President Donald Trump Tuesday about how to address the financial threats Wisconsin farmers face.

Through the new policy, Canada has incentivized its domestic dairy industry to use Canadian products by significantly lowering the cost of ultrafiltered milk to outprice that of U.S. competitors. As a result, Wisconsin farmers have lost a vital customer and are now left to find an alternative buyer.

Last week, Trump called Canada’s decision to end the U.S.-Canada trade commitment “a disgrace.”

Walker praised Trump’s efforts to defend Wisconsin dairy farming. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also expressed support and encouraged the Trump administration to quickly take action.

The policy change surrounding ultrafiltered milk refers to separating milk into its three main components—milk fat, protein solids and water—with a pressurized protein concentrate. It is most notably used to produce other dairy products like cheese and yogurt. It is also cheaper and more efficient to ship than raw milk.

Until recently, unfiltered milk has entered Canada duty-free from the U.S. due to its status as a protein ingredient rather than a dairy product.

This new trade policy has had immediate effects on Wisconsin dairy farmers.

Grassland Dairy Products, a Wisconsin dairy manufacturer and milk processor, dropped several farms in response to millions of dollars in lost processing profits, according to the Associated Press.

“This is devastating to the farmers, and it’s been really heartbreaking for us,” Daniel Smith, a Wisconsin Farm Center administrator at the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, told the Associated Press.

Trump countered Canada’s policy Tuesday by introducing a 20 percent tariff on Canadian lumber. Softwood lumber exports from Canada totaled over $5.5 billion in 2016, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

The Canadian government denounced the tariffs.

“The government of Canada disagrees strongly with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty,” Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said in a joint statement. 

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Cardinal.