Nearly all of Canada’s international trade negotiations, at some point, involve discussions about the future of supply management for our dairy and poultry sectors.
We’ve heard the U.S. dairy industry push hard against the supply management system for dairy in NAFTA 2.0 talks, especially Canada’s new class 7 pricing. Some Canadians cheer this U.S. rhetoric on, while others snicker at the overall U.S. agricultural policy. Meanwhile, nearly all politicians in Ottawa voice for their support for the marketing system.
The quote below comes from a politician speaking with AgriTalk host Chip Flory on Wednesday. We’ve removed the commodity name, so use your imagination to fill in the blanks.
“We’ve got to stick together as a family. The reason farm policy has worked so well over all these years is the production side had their fist fights among the family members, but when they got to this point, they went shoulder-to-shoulder to get this done. If we cut off one of our commodities and single them out, like is being done, that does not bode well for the rest of the program moving forward… It just so happens that __________ has a different structure for its safety net… The beauty of the ____________ program as is, except when nations cheat and dump product into our market below the cost of production, is there is no cost to the taxpayer. It’s really weird right now, we have multinational corporations, the big ___________ users that are pitching this, and somehow they’re the good guys in this and the farmers are the bad guys. This is an absolute David and Goliath fight… For _____ growers, it’s an existential threat… So we are going to fight on behalf of ________.”
Sound familiar? It did to me, too.
The above comments were made by Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX), chair of the House agriculture committee, talking about protecting sugar in the U.S. farm bill amendments.
The blanks above were the word “sugar,” but could easily have been “dairy” if spoken from the mouth of a Canadian politician.
Every country has sacred cows, it just so happens that Canada’s produce milk, while the U.S. has a sweet tooth for domestic sugar.