A technology after Peter Strebel’s father began a farm in 1976 with 50 Holsteins, Canada’s dairy sector is on the coronary heart of a mounting commerce struggle, and Strebel fears the survival of farms like his is at stake.
It is a sunny day in June, and usually Strebel could be spending each second working within the fields on his farm in Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu, Que.
However he is given up his treasured time to communicate with CBC Information, as a result of he says it is vital to defend provide administration.
“It is actually demanding,” Strebel mentioned, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s sustained assault on Canada’s dairy sector.
Most likely inside 5 years half the farms in Canada would disappear.– Peter Strebel , Quebec dairy farmer
Yesterday, in Singapore, the American president repeated what he’d tweeted earlier from Air Pressure One, after leaving the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Que.
“They do not take our farm merchandise — a lot of them. They cost what was 270 per cent, however any individual instructed me the opposite day that just a few months in the past they raised it to 295 per cent for dairy merchandise,” Trump mentioned.
“It’s totally unfair to our farmers.… They’ve super obstacles up. They’ve super tariffs,” Trump mentioned.
However these so-called obstacles — a part of what’s often known as provide administration — have been enshrined in Canada’s dairy sector for greater than 40 years.
“If you happen to actually dismantle the entire provide administration system, I suppose in all probability inside 5 years half the farms in Canada would disappear,” Strebel mentioned.
“The opposite half would in all probability simply type of imitate the American system — getting bigger, having over-production, needing to have authorities help or subsidies to preserve the industry alive.”
The largest focus of Canada’s dairy cows (almost 37 per cent) are in Quebec, the place most are on family-owned farms like Ferme Strebel et fils.
Earlier than 1971, when provide administration got here into impact, Strebel mentioned, dairy farmers had no stability. Worth and demand might change drastically from at some point to one other.
However the introduction of tariffs on imported dairy, in addition to quotas and stuck costs, allowed family-owned farms like his to thrive.
Strebel mentioned it is partly why he is been ready to develop his father’s enterprise right into a 150-cow herd.
Development hormone in U.S. dairy
From the farm to the manufacturing unit, Canada’s dairy sector has no time for the American president’s threats.
Chapman’s Ice Cream, based mostly in Markdale, Ont., makes use of roughly 1.5 million litres of Canadian cream every year, and needs to preserve it that method.
Canadian dairy is way superior for my part.– Ashley Chapman, vice-president of Chapman’s Ice Cream
Whereas eliminating tariffs on dairy imports would imply decrease prices, vice-president Ashley Chapman stays in opposition to it, as a matter of precept.
“Canadian dairy is way superior for my part. Our whole industry is way superior in high quality, animal husbandry rights, something you may presumably consider.” he mentioned.
He mentioned he is 100 per cent in favour of retaining provide administration in place, even when it is a aggressive drawback.
Chapman is not comfy utilizing American milk, partly as a result of the U.S. permits its cows to be injected with bovine development hormones — a observe that has by no means been accepted in Canada.
“We’d by no means need to get right into a place the place we have been promoting our merchandise to Canadians with all this rubbish within the dairy,” he mentioned.
Time for provide administration 2.0?
Canada’s dairy producers additionally criticize Trump for cherry-picking his info within the commerce dispute, and glossing over the truth that American farmers get a leg up by subsidies.
We’re the one industrialized nation on this planet with a system like this.– Sylvain Charlebois, professor in meals distribution at Dalhousie College
But Trump’s phrases nonetheless sting, and have already contributed to some political fallout in Canada.
“It’s a sacred cow — no pun [intended] — in Canada. And he is benefiting from it,” mentioned Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in meals distribution and coverage at Dalhousie College.
Charlebois calls Trump’s assaults a short-term downside, however mentioned it is perhaps time to begin occupied with provide administration 2.0.
“We will no longer say that the system works and wishes to be protected. It wants change. It wants to be modernized,” he mentioned.
“We’re the one industrialized nation on this planet with a system like this. We’re the one one left.”
Strebel has no qualms with modernizing provide administration, so long as its core stays.
He says the industry continues to adapt and alter — his father would not acknowledge the farm the best way it’s in the present day, he mentioned.
Change is okay, Strebel mentioned, so long as the subsequent technology can survive it.