Dairy Farmers of Canada Keeping a Low Profile, Monitoring NAFTA Rumblings

(Debra Murphy/RealAgriculture)

While the U.S. dairy industry has raised its voice in calling on the Trump administration to pressure Canada into allowing more dairy imports, Dairy Farmers of Canada has kept a relatively quiet profile over the last few months.

The national dairy producer group appears to have chosen to stay out of the spotlight with Canada’s supply management system for dairy and poultry products likely to be targeted if agriculture files are opened up as part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to renegotiate NAFTA.

“We are watching the situation in the U.S. very closely to see how President Trump follows through on his stated desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. We remain confident that the government will be defending the Canadian economy and Canadian dairy farmers in the event that NAFTA is reopened,” wrote DFC president Wally Smith in a statement emailed to Real Agriculture on Monday (DFC has declined doing interviews on the subject).

Related: U.S. Dairy Companies Push Back Against Canada’s “Protectionist Policies”

Although we’re not seeing a Canada-wide campaign on the merits of supply management, DFC is still making noise on Parliament Hill. According to Smith, dairy farmers from across the country met with “some 160 Members of Parliament, Senators, and staffers during approximately 140 meetings” as part of a lobby day coinciding with DFC’s annual policy convention in Ottawa last week.

“Over 100 parliamentarians attended the evening reception, despite the bad weather in Ottawa,” Smith added.

Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay was also the lunch speaker at the policy convention, and he “expressed the government’s unequivocal support for supply management, and the Canadian dairy sector,” said Smith.

Shaun, Kelvin, and Lyndsey discussed the communications strategy DFC is taking as pressure rises from U.S. dairy groups during the Friday roundtable on RealAg Radio (find the entire show and past episodes in podcast format here):

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