High stakes: NAFTA and dairy farm­ers

The Glengarry News - - Front Page -

The stakes are high for area farm­ers, and the re­gional econ­omy, as the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment talks con­tinue.

Lo­cal dairy farm­ers have a spe­cial in­ter­est in the ne­go­ti­a­tions as US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has per­sis­tently com­plained about Canada’s sup­ply man­age­ment sys­tem. While the fed­eral govern- ment has in­sisted that sup­ply man­age­ment is not on the ta­ble, there is con­cern that Ot­tawa will per­mit more Amer­i­can dairy im­ports in or­der to avert higher tar­iffs on automobiles.

Any trade con­ces­sions that af­fect the dairy in­dus­try would have a pro­found im­pact on Glen­garry, where one in ten jobs is di­rectly linked to milk pro­duc­tion, a busi­ness that gen­er­ates about $260 mil­lion in rev­enues ev­ery year in the five eastern coun­ties.

In Stor­mont-Dun­das-Glen­garry, cash re­ceipts in 2016 for all farm­ers to­talled $422 mil­lion, with dairy ac­count­ing for $151 mil­lion of that num­ber, ac­cord­ing to the On­tario Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs. In Prescott-Rus­sell, to­tal agri­cul­tural rev­enues were $274 mil­lion, in­clud­ing $107 mil­l­lion in the dairy sec­tor.

In Stor­mont-Dun­das-Glen­garry, the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try em­ploys about 2,610 peo­ple. In North Glen­garry, farm­ing ac­counts for ten per cent of the work force.

There are 263 dairy op­er­a­tions in SDG and 195 in Prescot­tRus­sell.

On a pro­vin­cial level, milk rep­re­sents the largest sec­tor in On­tario’s agri­cul­tural econ­omy with more than 3,570 dairy farms, 11,000 farm fam­i­lies, and 72 pro­ces­sors and are a grow­ing part of the econ­omy with over 15% growth in the last two years. The sec­tor con­trib­utes over $1.3 bil­lion to On­tario’s econ­omy each year.

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