Canada drops milk price. It's war!

April 19, 2017 07:12 PM

There's a milk war between Canada and the U.S. and we are on the front line.

This battle is going to affect the farmers who work in western New York and make our milk. The war started when Canada artificially lower the price of a specific kind of milk. President Donald Trump is upset by it and so are the farmers.

Wait until you hear how much business they stand to lose. 

This isn't the milk we drink. It's the milk used to make cheese and yogurt. Farmers in our area sold tons of it to factories in Ontario. It's a huge business. But when Canada artificially lowered the price of this kind of milk made there, it effectively shut the border.

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Craig Alexander, O-AT-KA Milk Products: For us it's a major impact.

Craig Alexander is in charge of milk sales for O-AT-KA milk products in Batavia. This is a co-op started by dairy farmers. The government of Canada just lowered the price of ultra-filtered milk which is what O-AT-KA sold to cheese and yogurt makers in Ontario.

Craig Alexander, O-AT-KA Milk Products: We're going to lose 70 percent of our sales immediately and we could lose even more than that down the road.
Brean: So the farmer that gets up at the crack of dawn to get out there and do that job, that's the guy that's going to get hurt.
Craig Alexander, O-AT-KA Milk Products: Yeah, absolutely; very painful for them.

Farmers like John Mueller in Clifton Springs. News10NBC's Pat Taney talked to him in November when Canada was just threatening to drop the price of milk.

John Mueller, Willow Bend Dairy: We've invested millions and millions of dollars and now they're trying to take that away and obviously it's going crush our exports for New York.

President Trump told farmers in Wisconsin Tuesday he's going to fight this. Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer threatened Canada with sanctions on things it exports here.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, (D) NY: I would say to the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Trudeau, back off because it will lead to lots of trouble on both sides of the border.

Dropping the price was a campaign promise by the Canadian prime minister. The Canadian Ambassador to the United States said the U.S. has its own barriers on milk, so it's a border war at the highest levels.

But think about this: For every dollar a farmer makes, the co-op says about $6 go into the local economy and it's western New York farmers who stand to lose money on this one.


Berkeley Brean

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