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Fight over dairy terms brewing between U.S. and Canada

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 8:08 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai is getting high praise from state and national dairy groups over her decision to start a dispute settlement panel against Canada for their lack of playing by the terms of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement when it comes to dairy. U.S. dairy continues to argue that Canada is using unfair tariff rate quotas against imported American dairy products like milk, cheese, skim milk powder and others. If the U.S. wins the dispute, Canada would have to end those quotas, as called for in the trade agreement, or the U.S. would be free to impose tariffs on Canadian products. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he fully supports the action taken by Ambassador Tai.

Yesterday we told you about some Conservative Republicans in the House who want to cut farm programs in the future to save money. One program they want to cut back is the Conservation Reserve Program by not allowing any new sign-ups in the program. But that may be a tough task. This week the Farm Service Agency announced they are committing millions of dollars to CRP to quantify how the program benefits our environment. Agency officials say they are undertaking long term studies to measure and monitor soil carbon sequestration over time. And they are seeking proposals from researchers to study how CRP can do that with projects getting from 1 to 9 million dollars to do that research. Proposals are due at the USDA by this July 2nd.

Milk production is going up this year and is expected to do the same through 2022 as farmers get more milk per cow as the size of the herd continues to go down. According to officials at the USDA’s Outlook Board, those increases will also probably result in lower prices to dairy farmers. Mark Jekanowski, chairman of the Outlook board. Said indications are that prices will be down 2.3% in 2022 with an average all milk price of $18.50 a hundred.

Compeer Financial, a leading lender to farmers and rural groups in a 3 state area has announced which community and technical colleges in their service area will share almost $2 million for grants and scholarships. In this area the Chippewa valley technical college will get $75,000 for a tractor, training for diverse populations and support for the Farm Business and Production Management program as well as help for their poultry, soils and tractor safety and bee keeping.

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