Farmers in Wisconsin are happy to see President Donald Trump sign the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.
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Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Wednesday.

Wisconsin’s Dairy Business Association, the state’s largest dairy group, said the new trade deal will open up markets for Wisconsin dairymen, and could help farmers who’ve been struggling for years.

“The relationships our country has developed with Mexico and Canada have greatly benefited the U.S. dairy community during that past 25 years under NAFTA. Mexico is now our top dairy export market and Canada is number three. We need our neighbors and they need us,” DBA Vice President Amy Penterman said. “The deal has been a long time in the making and we can finally celebrate.”

The agreement opens up Canada’s previously capped markets for cheese and milk. The USMCA also includes a requirement for Canada to change some of its milk pricing system that particularly kept U.S. milk producers from selling milk to infant formula makers. 

“Wisconsin dairy farmers and processors produce milk, cheese and other dairy foods that are second to none,” Penterman said. “Farms of all sizes and business models benefit when we have opportunities for free and fair trading. That success extends to all of the other businesses tied to dairy also and keeps our rural communities strong.”

But not everyone in Wisconsin is happy to see the president sign the trade deal.

“This is a president who clearly does not care about the carnage and pain his policies have caused in rural Wisconsin and across America,” Nate Timm, the rural caucus chair for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said. “A few tweets will not comfort farmers, as they leap with their bankers and plan for another season. Trump has become a clear and present danger to the future of Wisconsin farmers.” 

“He undercut our markets with China and virtually kept the status quo with Mexico and Canada. His replacement payments are totally inadequate,” Timm said.

The Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative in Green Bay, however, called the USMCA a tremendous victory.

“The outlook is far brighter today for farmers’ businesses, families and employees, and our rural communities because of this historic agreement, which also benefits so many other parts of America’s economy. We have reason to celebrate,” the co-op’s Brody Stapel said.

“This is a tremendous victory for America’s dairy farmers,” Stapel continued. “In preserving the well-established markets of Mexico and Canada, and providing opportunities for even more exports there, USMCA will help bring the long-term economic stability necessary for farmers to not only survive but thrive.”

Leaders in Canada need to ratify the agreement for it to be final.

Wisconsin dairies were among National Mastitis Council’s “cream of the crop” for producing quality milk during its Feb. 2 National Dairy Quality Awards program.

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