August 9, 2017

Schumer Urges Canadian Ambassador to Fix Dairy Trade Dispute

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

In late April Canadian processors stopped purchasing ultra-filtered milk from the U.S. A few processors in the Northern region of the U.S., including Grassland Dairy in Wisconsin and Cayuga Milk Ingredients in New York, lost their contracts for the product resulting in the loss of millions of dollars. Some farmers even lost their contracts with said processors. This week Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged Kelly Knight Craft, nominee for U.S. ambassador to Canada, to fix the situation.

Dairy officials in the U.S. say the Canadian dairy industry implemented policies to specifically target ultra-filtered milk imports to the U.S. Canadian dairy officials dispute that claim saying the dropped contracts were simply the result of a change in the market.

Still, companies like Cayuga Milk Ingredients lost millions of dollars “overnight” says Kevin Ellis, CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients.

"Canada's restrictive daily trade and pricing policies are blatantly violating our trade agreements signed by the U.S. and Canada, and they are hurting New York's dairy producers who simply want to deal fairly with our Canadian partners," Schumer told Knight Craft on the phone.

Schumer took issue with the new Canadian policies long before they became an issue. He mentioned them when he visited Cayuga Milk Ingredients in March of 2016, and in September of the same year he urged then-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to look into them.