Photos by Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post and Jose A. Bernat Bacete via Getty Images

It could be a big win for American farmers

Jeremy Glass
October 01, 2018

Of the numerous empty promises Donald Trump made on the campaign trail, one has finally—inexplicably—come true.

Late Sunday night, Canada agreed to sign on to a trade deal between the US and Mexico that would curb protection to its dairy industry, giving US farmers access to that sweet, sweet Canadian bagged milk.

The revised pact will open up the Canadian dairy market to US exports at a “level higher than the 3.25 percent market share the Obama administration negotiated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” reported Politico—potentially a big win for American farmers.

Alongside the increased access, Canada has also agreed to end their “‘class-seven’ milk program that undercut American sales of a special dried-milk product,” which cut the incentive dairy processors using “American diafiltered milk products that were entering Canada through a loophole.” This class-seven program has been a point of contention between the two nations for quite some time now and may end up posing a serious threat to the long-term sustainability of Canada’s dairy industry.

So, what does this mean for milk? For starters, US dairy farmers will most likely be sending more “milk protein concentrate, skim milk powder and infant formula” to Canada.

The deal, which was renamed the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, was declared as a "historic transaction!" by our famously hyperbolic president, before immediately casting an air of doubt with an unnecessary string of meaningless words and phrases.

"We'll see what happens. Who knows, I always say who knows. But we will see, I have a feeling we will be successful.” Good stuff, Mr. President.

After all three leaders sign the treaty, Congress will have up to 60 days to review and approve the revised USMCA deal. Many didn’t think NAFTA would survive the Trump presidency, but it looks like all three countries have found a way to plan nice together.

"It's a good day for Canada," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, regardless of the fact that this could mean the import of American milk tainted with bovine growth hormone into Canada.

"In 1999, Health Canada banned bovine growth hormones (rBST) because of animal welfare concerns,” said Canada’s Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, “including an increased risk of mastitis—a painful bacterial infection that affects the udders… we really do not know the effects of this hormone on humans, which is one of the reasons why Europe has already banned rBST.”

What happens next is in the hands of Congress… until then, US dairy farmers should start asking the big questions, like: why is Canada’s milk in a bag?

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