A Toop Farms calf, Sept. 21 during the 17th annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

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

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former Smithereen frustrated with COVID-deniers following horrific bout with the disease

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

Pellet plants deal with a lot of combustible materials. (File photo)
“Fire-related event” at Houston pellet plant injures three, shuts down operations

Rumours of an associated explosion cannot be confirmed at this time

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Most Read