Emily and Gerald Chwala
July 18, 2017

Fallout From Canadian Dairy Policy Change Continues

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

“You get a letter, and it can change your life in a second.” That’s the fallout from a change in Canadian dairy policy that no longer makes U.S. ultrafiltered milk and milk protein concentrates competitive in  Canada, says Wisconsin dairy farmer Gerald Chwala. See Betsy Jibben's full report on AgDay TV here

Chwala and his wife Emily decided to sell their cattle after Grassland Dairies notified them it would no longer accept their milk May 1. Some 58 Wisconsin dairy farms received similar letters, and all but two found new markets for their milk.

The Chwalas did as well, but the offer was only temporary and it was only for base price less hauling charges. “We probably wouldn’t have been getting $14/cwt,” says Emily.

So rather than take a loss while searching for another processor, the Chwalas decided to sell their 150 cow herd. They are currently using their facilities to raise cattle for a neighbor.

For its part, Grassland Dairies is still looking for new markets for the displaced milk. But recent changes in the Canadian dairy quota in five of the largest provinces, which will allow producers there to increase production, means even more skim milk products will be coming on to the market, says Goedhart Westers, VP of Business Development for Grassland Dairy Products.

The Wisconsin Dairy Business Association reports that most, if not all, of the 56 former Grassland dairy farms have since signed long-term contracts.