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

Police seize nearly 50 kilos of drugs in Surrey

Police say this has taken perhaps millions of deadly doses of fentanyl and other drugs off the streets

ICBC had 32,412 Dial-a-Claim calls from Lower Mainland

This was in a 17-day stretch from Jan. 3 to Jan. 19, inclusive

Young child seriously injured in suspected drunk driving crash in Delta

“This needs to stop,” says Insp. Ciaran Feenan, head of the Delta Police Department’s patrol section

Surrey Mounties looking for two suspects in stolen credit card scam

Police said the cards were used in $28,000 in fraudulent transactions in Surrey, Burnaby and Coquitlam

Surrey’s Fruiticana, 25 years in, is growing strong

From a humble start to nurturing an 18-store business, Surrey’s Tony Singh looks to open two more this year

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Convicted Fraser Valley con man facing 39 charges in Vancouver area

Donald Quinnell got four years prison in 2015, again facing fraud, theft, stolen credit card charges

Elderly man in serious condition after being hit by bus in Burnaby

RCMP believe man, 82, was not at a crosswalk at the time

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Surrey teen recalls ‘scary experience’ of falling down Oregon mountain

Gurbaz Singh broke his leg during a 150-metre fall on Dec. 30

Man accused in Kamloops murder claims woman died during rough sex

A Fraser Valley man stands trial for first-degree murder in connection with the 2016 death of a woman

VIDEO: Children read to therapy dogs at Langley library

For kids who struggle with reading, a dog is the perfect audience

Most Read