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NY dairy farmers could benefit from new trade deal with Canada

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)
Jersey cows at Silver Spring Farm in Syracuse.

New York dairy farmers should see some advantage from a revamped trade deal with Canada. 

Canada is linked again with the U.S. and Mexico in a revamped North American free trade deal after weeks of negotiations. The new deal, replaces NAFTA, which President Trump had called a job killing disaster.

The new pact should help open up dairy markets for U.S. farmers. That is according to Lauren Williams, senior associate director of national affairs for the New York Farm Bureau.

“I think we’ll want to see the final details but I think overall it should open up more dairy markets, which I think is good for our dairy farmers who have some excess milk here in the U.S.,” Williams said.

Williams said one positive for dairy farmers with the new agreement is that it will open the Canadian market to more exported American dairy products. The new agreement will eliminate a program in Canada which limited certain kinds of imports.

“It basically, kind of blocked off the U.S. and other countries from exporting products like ultra-filtered milk or like, protein powders from milk into Canada, and kind of protected the Canadian ultra-filtered milk market," Williams said. "So by eliminating that, we’re hopeful that those products will again be allowed to be exported into Canada."

But she also notes that the prices that dairy farmers get on their products is due to a range of factors, including the fact that there has been a decline in fluid milk consumption by U.S. consumers.

“Consumers continue to consume products like cheese, yogurt and other types of dairy products, so I think, within the country as well as global markets, there’s a whole lot of factors that impact us there,” Williams said.

Central and northern New York’s Republican congressional members are singing praises for the newly renegotiated NAFTA deal. Representatives John Katko (R-Camillus), Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro) and Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) all say the deal will help upstate dairy farmers by opening up Canada’s dairy market to more products.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.