Washington, D.C. – Reps. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Claudia Tenney (NY-22) John Faso (NY-19), Chris Collins (NY-27), John Katko (NY-24), Peter King (NY-2), Lee Zeldin (NY-1), Dan Donovan (NY-11) and Tom Reed (NY-23) urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider the inclusion of critical dairy-related priorities in any renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Recently, Canada revised its milk classification system, leading to changes in the dairy market that have disproportionately hurt farmers in New York State. The Class 7 National Ingredients Strategy distorts the global market and has increased dumping of excess milk production that has driven global milk prices down to artificially low levels. This, coupled with restricted access to Canada’s dairy market, has hit dairy farmers in New York particularly hard.
"North Country dairy farmers are struggling and it is critical that we level the playing field in NAFTA renegotiations," said Congresswoman Stefanik. "President Trump has shown his commitment to fighting unfair trade practices and my colleagues and I are asking the Administration to stand up for our dairy farmers here. Agriculture is the backbone of our North Country economy, and I will continue to work in Congress on policies that support our farmers."
“Unfair trade deals have disadvantaged family farmers, a driving force behind local economies across the nation. In an already fragile market, our struggling dairy farmers cannot afford the continuation of Class 7 Milk Pricing and continued Canadian dumping, which harms Upstate farmer’s ability to manufacture and export our dairy products. When given a level playing field, New York farmers can produce and sell the highest quality dairy in the world,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. “As the NAFTA negotiations are finalized, I encourage Ambassador Lighthizer to defend our dairy farmers and hold Canada accountable. It’s necessary for the continued survival of our long tradition of dairy farming.”
“Upstate dairy farmers are in the midst of a prolonged economic crisis as market conditions, trade barriers, and ineffective government policies have created a perfect storm of damaging factors,” said Congressman Faso. “Canada is among our largest trading partners and we should work to protect that relationship. Unfortunately, their Class 7 pricing scheme has placed our local dairy farmers at a substantial disadvantage. As the administration finalizes NAFTA negotiations, I hope Ambassador Lighthizer will continue to fight for our dairy farmers who are integral to Upstate New York.”
“Canada’s unfair trade practices have sent New York’s dairy farms on a downward spiral, having serious impacts on our local economies and the hardworking families who run these farms. Agriculture is vital to our state’s economy and we must do everything we can to fight for trade deals that are good for the United States. It is so important for this issue to be front and center during NAFTA negotiations and I urge Robert Lighthizer to stand up for our nation’s dairy farms and hold Canada accountable,” said Congressman Collins.
Read the full letter here