National Farmers Talk NAFTA and Dairy at National Convention

February 13th, 2018


Category: Dairy

(High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal) –  National Farmers President Paul Olson at expressed his worries about pulling out from NAFTA during his presidential address at the National Farmers National Convention recently in Mason, Ohio.

Olson, a Taylor, Wisconsin, farmer, emphasized his top priority lies with farmers, but the trade agreement needs to stay.

“I believe it helps the industry more than it helps the producers. But now, having had it so long, if we don’t have it, I think we’ll be worse off without it,” Olson said.

Olson pointed out that Mexico is the top importer of U.S. corn. USDA Foreign Ag Service numbers indicate in 2016, that amounted to $2.6 billion.

Olson said supply and demand struggles are paramount in the dairy industry and producers are facing worries about markets for their milk, Olson cited a guest column in Hoard’s Dairyman Dec. 27. A Massachusetts dairy producer asked where to start the conversation about control over the market and brought up the topic of supply management, which National Farmers has proposed and supported during the last several years.

“It’s time for a change,” he said. Olson again suggested a supply management system, because producing high-quality milk in great quantities, “produce to prosperity,” is not working, he said.

National Farmers Vice President Paul Riniker, Greeley, Iowa, agreed with Olson. In his address, he pointed out that he is a former dairy producer himself and he underscored the concern about milk transported from the Northeast to the Mideast and Midwest dairy regions, being processed at $6 per hundredweight to $8 per hundredweight below its value.

Riniker said National Farmers continues to work to find new milk markets.

“There is hope when producers work together,” he said.


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