Vivian Thompson runs a 100-cow dairy herd near Cadott, WI. In a 25 km radius from Cadott, seven dairy farms have sold their cows and gone out of business in the last two months. | Robert Arnason photo

U.S. milk industry sours

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisconsin — The sky was a deep blue, the air was warm and it was a beautiful morning to be on a dairy farm in western Wisconsin. And then, Mandy Nunes began to cry. Mandy, who runs Scientific Holsteins with her husband Matt, was sharing how her family had milked cows for five […] Read more

American dairy producers are watching trade negotiations unfold with keen interest. | Robert Arnason photo

Dishing on the dairy industry

Thanks to CNN and Fox News and constant exposure to American media, the typical Canadian spends a great deal of time talking about politics in the United States. The relationship isn’t reciprocal. Few Americans have dinner table arguments about the Trans-Mountain pipeline or French language issues in Quebec. However, there’s at least one exception to […] Read more

U.S. dairy farmers are more comfortable talking about supply management in public but they don’t use those exact words.
 | Robert Arnason photo

Wisconsin dairy farmers seek Canadian advice

Some American dairy groups are pondering implementing inventory management to avoid oversupplies of milk

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisconsin — Not long ago in America’s dairy industry, supply management was about as popular as a rodent at a garden party. Mentioning it out loud in Washington or at state legislatures was “toxic,” said Julie Keown-Bomar, executive director of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. “It had so much baggage attached to it. People […] Read more


Workers at Shamrock Dairy Farms, Farm One near Phoenix, Arizona milk about 10,000 conventional cows every day in this photo, taken last year. The business also operates an organic dairy barn operation nearby, on Farm One.    |  file photo by Michael Raine

Organic milk production no hedge against low price

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisconsin — A couple of years ago, Adam Seibel received US$35 per hundredweight for his organic milk — nearly double the price of regular milk. Then the price fell off a cliff. This year, Seibel is getting about $19 per cwt. — only a few dollars more than the price paid to conventional […] Read more

In 2014, the net income of the median dairy farm in Minnesota was US$137,962. The average dairy farmer in the state has around 200 cows, so that works out to $690 in profit per cow. By 2016, the median net income of Minnesota dairy farmers had plummeted to $27,560, or $138 per cow. | File photo

Why are Minnesota dairy farmers in the red?

Four years ago, Minnesota dairy farmers had few reasons to complain. Milk prices were sky high and profits were through the roof. In 2014, the net income of the median dairy farm in Minnesota was US$137,962. The average dairy farmer in the state has around 200 cows, so that works out to $690 in profit […] Read more


Last week’s failure to reach a North American Free Trade Agreement deal wasn’t a total surprise. | Getty image

NAFTA jitters get extension

Last week’s failure to reach a North American Free Trade Agreement deal wasn’t a total surprise. The U.S. and Mexico agreed to a bilateral trade deal Aug. 27, so Canada and the U.S. had only a few days of formal meetings to reach a deal before an arbitrary deadline of Aug. 31, imposed by President […] Read more

In 2017, Canada exported more than $3 billion worth of canola oil, meal and other canola products to the United States.
 | File photo

Losing dispute resolution a worry

Farmers are concerned about losing NAFTA’s Chapter 19, saying it has been valuable in their relations with the U.S.

In 2017, Canada exported more than $3 billion worth of canola oil, meal and other canola products to the United States. Those exports represent a fair chunk of the $23.3 billion in agricultural commodities and food that Canada shipped to the U.S last year. Given the billions of dollars, it’s obvious why Jim Everson is […] Read more

It's become clear to trade experts that Canada will have to give American farmers a share of Canada's dairy market to reach an agreement on a new NAFTA deal. | File photo

Canada expected to give in on dairy at NAFTA

Three percent, five percent or seven percent. It’s become clear to trade experts that Canada will have to give American farmers a share of Canada’s dairy market to reach an agreement on a new NAFTA deal. But no one, except a few negotiators and government insiders, knows the answer to the critical question. “How much […] Read more


Mayflies are among the aquatic insects that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency says it is protecting by proposing to ban all outdoor use of neonicotinoids in Canada.  |  John Gavloski photo

Neonic threshold called ‘overly conservative’

Bayer questions PMRA’s decision to set safe levels at 1.5 parts per trillion in its ban proposal; it’s 50 p.p.t. in the U.S.

If the highway speed limit in Canada was 15 km-h, it’s likely that the number of speeding tickets would increase. In the same vein, Health Canada has selected a low number it deems to be an acceptable amount of neonicotinoid insecticides in water bodies. For clothianidin, a Bayer insecticide, Health Canada scientists decided the acceptable […] Read more

Landen Stronks and other Alberta beekeepers are worried about what happens if and when neonicotinoids are phased out.
 | File photo

Beekeepers worry about foliar sprays if neonics banned

Given recent attention to potential bee harm from neonicotinoids, one could assume beekeepers would be thrilled that Health Canada is banning the use of the insecticides, which has been linked to bee deaths and pollinator decline. Landen Stronks, a beekeeper from Iron Springs, Alta., is definitely not thrilled. Stronks and other Alberta beekeepers are worried […] Read more