The following is a message from BC Dairy Association Chairman, Dave Taylor, on Canadian Dairy amidst NAFTA negotiations:
This morning as I waited for my tractor to warm up I listened to a respected media spokesperson complain about the cost of milk in Canada and how our system of Supply Management and the powerful dairy lobby is blocking NAFTA.
First - I’m glad Nafta is being blocked if Canada cannot secure a good deal in these negotiations. I’m thankful that so far the Canadian negotiators have stood firm on that principle that it must be a good deal for Canada. Would we want the alternative - absolutely not!
Second - the price of Canadian milk is right in the middle of pricing when we compare the price in other countries. It is very affordable considering all the investment it takes to bring milk to market. Yes, border towns USA do undercut the market to attract Canadian consumers. That is a reality. It is probably something we will always face.
Third - for those who argue that dairy products would be cheaper if we opened up our borders I cannot emphasize enough that this is not the case with most goods we already bring in from the US. The price points of all goods continue to be cheaper south of our border. There are many reasons for this that I mentioned in a previous post.
Finally this powerful dairy lobby is me. Who am I? A farmer who cares! It is also my family, it is the people who work alongside me on my farm and their families. It is the transporter who hauls my milk, it is the processor and the many employees who test that milk and then package it as fluid milk or make it into cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream and many other products. It’s the equipment dealers, the feed manufacturers, our veterinarians. I could go on and on. We are all Canadians wanting to preserve a dynamic industry that goes way beyond 12,000 farms.
My minute has come to an end and as it does I appeal to those not in the list above - our consumers. I appeal to you to speak out your support so that in return we will be able to continue producing Canadian milk that is affordable, produced responsibly and sustainably, with high standards.
Let’s keep Canada a country that produces its own food as much as we can. Let’s not trade off the foundation of any society - our food.