Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for his attention to a dairy issue that affects farmers across New York’s 21st district. In her letter, Congresswoman Stefanik wrote:
Trade with Canada is very important to both New York and Canada; it is essential that New York ensure that Canada is reminded of this fact as it contemplates moving even further forward with dairy policies intended to harm New York’s dairy sector.
This summer, Canada’s dairy producers and processors reached an Agreement in Principle that will encourage Canadian processors to use more domestic milk, giving them a disincentive to use dairy inputs imported from the United States. Ontario also put in place a Class VI milk pricing program this spring that betrays Canada’s existing dairy trade commitments to the United States in a similar manner.
These troubling initiatives represent the latest attempt by Canada to reduce its imports of ultra-filtered milk from the United States. This is a critical problem for New York as we are one of the two primary states currently shipping ultra-filtered milk to Canada. These efforts, to displace current United States exports, seek to put our dairy farmers at a competitive disadvantage as they lose a critical market for their milk.
New York’s dairy producers and manufacturers have already lost out on export opportunities since Ontario put this new policy in place this spring. If the agreement is finalized this fall, I am greatly concerned that dairy sales to Canada will further erode at a time when our dairy farmers are facing some of the lowest milk prices in recent years.
I urge you to not only raise this issue with Canadian officials on behalf of the North Country’s dairy industry, but to evaluate any options you may have to ensure that trade in dairy products is not further disrupted. Canada must uphold its commitments to New York’s businesses to continue to enjoy the fruits of a strong trading relationship with this great state. Using policy tools to internationally undermine investments that New York companies and farmers have made is simply unacceptable.
Click here to read the full text of Congresswoman Stefanik’s letter.