Who pays more?

The cost of Canadian supply managed products to the average household has long been an item of interest. 

The Western Producer compared six common food-basket items across the northern tier of the U.S. and Canada, using similar grocery stores, regions and community sizes. In a four-day period last week, we made sure to check regular prices at larger chain grocery stores, rather than using flyer or loss-leader sales. We compared prices for common […] Read more

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

Supply management works for Canada

The conflicting arguments surrounding Canada’s supply management system are bewildering. It’s either the model for a properly managed food system that is the envy of farmers in other countries or a ruthless Soviet-styled anachronism that is gouging consumers. Canada’s supply management system has its warts, but an analysis of the arguments, including the Western Producer’s […] Read more

While the U.S. still has many small farms like Canada’s, there has been huge growth in large-scale dairy farms in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota, where multi-thousand head dairy farms now produce much of the milk. | File photo

What happens if we end supply management?

What would happen if supply management disappeared and dairy farmers were thrust into a free market? It’s not likely to happen, since even the administration of United States President Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be trying to entirely eliminate the system that controls Canadian dairy production and imports. But to understand how much the present […] Read more

A recent survey showed Idaho is home to 496 dairy operations and 577,516 dairy cows. | Barb Glen photo

The word is Class; the number is 7

MERIDIAN, Idaho — One word and one number form the crux of the dairy stumbling block in ongoing negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement. Class 7, Canada’s recently developed pricing policy for milk protein concentrates, has reduced American milk exports to Canada at a time when U.S. milk prices are low and […] Read more

U.S. dairy producers say growth hormones are used in less than 10 percent of dairies.  |  Barb Glen photo

U.S. dairy farmers respond to Canadians

MERIDIAN, Idaho — There’s robust defence of supply management among Canadian dairy producers and marketing boards. They often compare the system to that of the United States, a supply-and-demand driven system that would likely be the alternative should supply management ever disappear. Among the assertions made by Canadian defenders are these: U.S. dairy producers are […] Read more

The Class 7 solution seemed to solve some of the Canadian dairy sector’s problems, but the export component angered the American industry.  |  File photo

Supply management in trouble even if it survives NAFTA

The worst outcome from any North American Free Trade Agreement deal would be a supply management system that survives but is weakened. Saving free access to the United States, if that happens, will be a blessed relief for all the Canadian crop, livestock and food businesses. And if dairy supply management manages to survive, even […] Read more

Will supply management survive?

In April 2017, shortly after Canada closed the loophole on imports of ultra-filtered milk, Wisconsin dairy farmer Shane Sauer, told the CBC: “We don’t blame you (Canada)” for what was then a glut of product on the market. Sauer explained the explosion in production of ultra-filtered milk, used in milk byproducts such as cheese, came […] Read more

Trump exploits myths around supply management

At the meeting of G7 nations last weekend, U.S. President Donald Trump used bully tactics to get Trump-favorable language in a joint message designed to play well at his core supporters back home. The member nations all reached agreement on the document, but in the end Trump didn’t sign. He launched a written attack on […] Read more

The Supreme Court was looking at a case centred on Gerard Comeau, a New Brunswick man who bought beer in Quebec and brought it back to his home province. | Flickr/paul.wasneski photo

Beer ruling applauded by supply managed farmers

Canadian dairy farmers are feeling relieved today, following a Supreme Court ruling related to interprovincial trade. Supreme Court of Canada justices, in a decision released this morning, ruled that provincial governments can have regulations that restrict the flow of goods across provincial borders, provided the primary function of the regulation is not to impede trade. […] Read more