November 10, 2016

Some Dairy Farmers Don't Want TPP

 |  By: Ashley Davenport

Many mainstream ag groups like American Farm Bureau Federation and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have been ardent supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, but a segment of the dairy industry isn’t so sure of the benefits TPP has to offer.

The Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) surveyed 1,000 dairy producers. In total, 80 percent of respondents think TPP should be rejected until milk import concerns are resolved.

WFU said the trade deal would open the flood gates to low-cost milk concentrates from New Zealand. They fear those products would replace Wisconsin milk in cheese production.

The deal would allow U.S. dairy producers access to the other 11 nations in the TPP, like Japan, but this survey reveals concerns some dairy farmers have about currency manipulation in the island country.

Other groups, like the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) say the TPP will be good for the U.S. dairy sector with better access and lower tariffs to several growing economies.

“Exports have become a very important art of the U.S. dairy industry,” said John Wilson, senior vice president of DFA. “We’ve exported approximately 15 percent of milk production the last few years, and that number can grow in the Trans-Pacific Partnership marketing area.”

The House and Senate could vote on TPP during the lame duck session.