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Idaho dairy farmers produce more milk and cheese than almost any state in the nation. Idaho is ranked third behind California and Wisconsin.

Idaho Dairy Producers React To New Trade Agreement With Canada

David Chilstrom

The U.S. and Canada reached an eleventh hour deal over the weekend for a tentative replacement of NAFTA. One of the biggest sticking points was access to the Canadian dairy market.

NAFTA is gone under the new arrangement; it’s been rebranded as the USMCA – the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement. The revised 3-way deal keeps much of NAFTA in place, but among changes are the formula used to levy tariffs on vehicles, more intellectual property protections and ways with which the three nations resolve disputes among themselves.

The fact a deal with Canada was even reached came as a shock to Idaho Dairymen’s Association CEO Rick Naerebout.

“Very pleasantly surprised,” is how Naerebout describes getting the news. “Initial blush on the details coming out: U.S. dairy was able to correct many of the things we were looking to correct within the agreement with Canada.”

Naerebout says American dairy producers get two big things with the new arrangement with Canada.

“So we gained market access to Canada,” Naerebout says. “We’re not prohibited from selling U.S. dairy products into that marketplace in the future. It also corrected their dumping practice of putting milk proteins onto the world market below their cost of production through their internal subsidies.”

The revised deal also blocks naming protections by the European Union. The EU is trying to prevent other countries from calling cheese like Parmesan by that name unless it comes from the original area.

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