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.

Just Posted

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate facing penalty; details of Quarantine Act still being worked out

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules starting Saturday, April 4

Suspect with pellet gun draws serious police response in downtown Nanaimo

Officers respond with guns drawn at Port Place shopping centre

COVID-19: Nanoose Bay woman celebrates 90th birthday with Model T ride as neighbours line streets

WATCH: Pandemic ruined plans for a party, so friends got creative

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

‘Small python’ found in vacant Cook Street apartment

Snake taken to CRD Animal Shelter to be claimed

COVID-19: postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Saanich councillor named one of Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25

Coun. Ned Taylor, three other young environmentalists from Greater Victoria on the list

Most Read