New York officials step into milk trade dispute

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Wisconsin and NY have always appreciated our partnership with USDA and look forward to working with the department to support our dairy farmers during this trying time. Milk production in the U.S.is 2.5 percent above last year's levels.

Randolph dairy farmer Frank Behling, who has herd of 60 milking cows, had been shipping about 4,000 pounds of milk a day to Grassland, the nation's largest independent producer of butter.

When a major processor like Grassland reduces milk intake, that action is immediately felt, Brancel said.

Still, that National Milk Producers Federation is concerned the Canadian government is being secretive by not disclosing exactly what the extent of these cutbacks will entail.

Federal and state officials for the past year have known that Canada was exploring modifying its dairy policies and had been expressing its concerns with the Canadian government about how any changes would affect US dairy businesses. Goedhart Westers, vice president of business development at Grassland, would not say specifically how many dairy farmers it informed but said "several dozen" were told their milk no longer would be accepted by the company.

Farmers are having trouble finding anyone to commit to buying their milk after May 1 and the worst case scenario could be selling the cow and closing down.

Earlier this week it sent the Gartman Farm and 74 other farms a letter.

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Behind this action is a new pricing structure implemented by Canada, which dramatically increased the cost of US dairy imports and encouraged dairy companies there to purchase similar items from Canadian dairy producers. "We're gonna keep picking their milk up and we will find a place for them", Buwalda said.

"All Canadian dairy processors are entitled to source from any supplier they want, just like the U.S. processors, said DFC Director of Communications, Isabelle Bouchard, "Nothing has changed in Canada".

In response, USA dairy organizations urged the Trump administration to fight back against what groups call "protectionist Canadian trade policies' that slam the door to American dairy exports". He says the Canadians found a loop hole in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that allows the country to block imports of ultrafiltered milk.

The offices of Wisconsin Senators Ron Johnson (R) and Tammy Baldwin (D) both provided responses Thursday, saying they hope to work with White House officials and the Canadian government to reach a solution. The ultra-filtered milk Canadian purchasers got from Grassland helped cheese producers there make a higher-quality cheese at a lower cost.

"They have shifted the incentives to Canadian buyers to make it less attractive for them to keep buying from the US and financially more attractive to buy from Canadian farmers instead", she added.

In a statement Tuesday, Congressman Mike Gallagher, a Green Bay Republican, said Canada's new policies "preventing the sale of our dairy products in their country is not consistent with our values nor our agreements".

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