NMPF’s Mulhern: ‘Deep Disappointment’ With Tariff Dairy Aid
Jim Mulhern, the National Milk Producers Federation CEO and president, expressed “deep disappointment” with the dairy tariff relief package the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering dairy farmers.
“[The aid package] certainly pales in comparison to the damage that dairy farmers continue to suffer,” Mulhern says in his September CEO column.
When tariffs were announced this summer, NMPF economists calculated U.S. dairy farmers could lose $1.65/cwt in the second half of 2018, totaling some $1.8 billion dollars. USDA’s aid package amounts to $212 million, but the direct aid of 12¢/cwt represents just a penny a gallon. That 12¢/cwt payment equates to about $127 million in aid, and USDA is offering another $85 million in food purchase aid.
Mulhern calls the 12¢/cwt direct payment “a tiny bandage atop a very deep wound.”
He does note that progress is being made in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks. But even the agreement in principle with Mexico has not lifted the 20 to 25% tariffs Mexico has imposed on U.S. dairy exports to that country.
“The real drive of the future health of our industry is expanding existing markets—at home and abroad—and building new ones,” says Mulhern. “In addition to revising NAFTA, we need to create new agreements with other nations to reach more consumers around the world with our foods. Opportunities for new growth are the best medicine for the afflictions farmers have suffered this year.”
You can read his entire column here.