Ag Insider

USMCA panel sides with Canada

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The dispute panel established under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement ruled against the U.S. in a disagreement with Canada on dairy market access. Two of the three panelists ruled in favor of Canada, while one agreed with the U.S. claims. Nearly a year ago, a different panel determined Canada illegally restricted access to its market for U.S. dairy products. As a result, Canada made changes to its dairy tariff rate quota system. The U.S. government believed the change did not go far enough and that prompted the second case. As a result of the ruling, Canada will not have to make any additional changes to its tariff rate quota system.

Disappointment in dispute panel ruling

In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said she is “very disappointed” in the dispute panel decision. Tai plans to work with the Canadian government to address the ongoing market access concerns. National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern said the independent panel ruled “in favor of obstruction of trade rather than trade facilitation.” U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO Krysta Harden agreed, saying this ruling “set a dangerous and damaging precedent.”

U.S.-Canada dairy dispute continues 

In an interview with Reuters, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the Biden administration is considering its next steps in the ongoing trade dispute with Canada over dairy market access. The United States contends Canada illegally denies market access, but a USMCA trade dispute panel disagreed. Vilsack didn’t offer any details but said the administration is looking for “creative” ways to sell more U.S. dairy products north of the border.

CCC money cited as a farm bill solution 

According to Vilsack, the farm bill has been held up by a money problem. “The reason we don’t have a farm bill now is in large part because they can’t figure out how to pay for reference prices,” he said. During an appearance at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention, Vilsack said a farm bill will not be finalized until the reference price issue is resolved. In his view, there are no other places within the farm bill to tap for the $2 billion needed each year for this update. The use of Commodity Credit Corporation funds was suggested. “What does the CCC do today?” Vilsack said. “Well, gosh, it pays ARC payments; it pays PLC payments; it pays CRP payments, so what’s the reluctance in using that asset that’s available? Until they come to that realization, I think we’re going to be waiting awhile for the farm bill.”

WOTUS is back in the courts

The Waters of the United States rule is back in the courts. The Biden administration finalized its WOTUS rule in September after the Supreme Court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency. Twenty-four states have filed an amended complaint at the federal court in Fargo, North Dakota, claiming the amended rule violates the Clean Water Act. The states also allege the EPA removed the significant nexus text in making wetland determinations without a public comment period. Two other states filed a separate complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. These states want the WOTUS rule vacated and sent back to the EPA.

Animal Ag Water Quality Subcommittee nominations open

The EPA has announced the creation of an Animal Ag Water Quality Subcommittee. EPA Agricultural Advisor Rob Snyder said this is in response to the denial of two petitions to overhaul the Clean Water Act permitting program. “We didn’t feel we had sufficient information to grant the petition and what the environmental groups were requesting,” Snyder said. The subcommittee will include a diverse group of stakeholders including producers, universities, environmental groups and other industry representatives with the goal to improve water quality outcomes from animal agriculture.

WTO members review food policy 

Food security topped the agenda when the World Trade Organization Committee on Agriculture met this past week. WTO members also submitted issues of concern, including a regional agriculture promotion program in the United States, Canadian dairy policy and fertilizer subsidies in Morocco. The next WTO meeting for the agriculture committee will be held in late May.

NotMac & Cheese coming to the US 

The Kraft Heinz Company is introducing a plant-based version of Kraft Mac & Cheese. NotMac & Cheese will be available in original and white cheddar flavors.

New plant opens in Stoughton

Emmi Roth has opened its cheese conversion and packaging facility in Stoughton, Wisconsin. Emmi Group CEO Ricarda Demarmels said this plant allows the company to strengthen its position in specialty cheese and open new opportunities in marketing imported Swiss cheese.

Farm + Food center opens

The new Food + Farm Exploration Center is open to the public in Plover, Wisconsin. The Farming for the Future Foundation is behind this concept, helping to reconnect the public with the food that they eat and the farmers who grow it.

FARM Excellence Award presented to AMPI fieldman 

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management Program has announced the winners of the third annual FARM Excellence Awards. Jim Kauffman, who is with Associated Milk Producers Inc., was named the Evaluator of the Year.

WFBF hires district coordinator

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation has named Danielle Angotti-Baum as the district coordinator in northeastern Wisconsin. Angotti-Baum has been the ag teacher at Clintonville High School. Angotti-Baum succeeds Wes Raddatz, who is retiring after 27 years with WFBF.

Trivia challenge

New Zealand consumes the most butter on a per capita basis at almost 13 pounds per person. That answers our last trivia question. For this week’s trivia, what is the term for butter with the milk solids and water removed? We will have the answer in our next edition of Dairy Star.

Don Wick is owner/broadcaster for the Red River Farm Network, based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Wick has been recognized as the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Don and his wife, Kolleen, have two adult sons, Tony and Sam, and five grandchildren, Aiden, Piper, Adrienne, Aurora and Sterling.

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