Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, representing the voice of milk across the Midwest, applauded the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as a critical step forward, but stressed the importance of clearing up remaining uncertainties in the deal and resolving the tariff issue that continues to hurt farmers. The agreement still faces significant hurdles. Approval is needed from Congress, a process that will likely push into 2019.
The deal includes important provisions for dairy, including retaining market certainty with Mexico, protecting common cheese names in the Mexican market, adding transparency provisions for oversight of Canada’s internal pricing structure, and placing limits on certain Canadian exports.
“Given the importance of keeping a NAFTA-style agreement, we are thankful for the hard-fought progress the three countries have made. Mexico is the most important trading partner for our dairy community, and changes in the deal with Canada should provide benefits there also,” said Brody Stapel, president of Edge, who farms with his family in Cedar Grove, Wis. “The agreement’s elimination of classes 6 and 7 pricing in Canada is welcome news,” he said. “However, it’s still unclear how extensive the pricing changes would be and how the new structure would work. We are still reviewing the details of the deal and will continue to communicate with lawmakers and the administration as the process moves forward. This is not done yet.”