April 18, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Urges Federal Government to Address Canadian Trade Policies and Protect U.S. Milk Suppliers

TOP Governor Cuomo Urges Federal Government to...

Canadian Regulations Obstruct the Export of a Key Dairy Product and Threaten New York's Agricultural Sector With Potential $50 Million Market Loss as of May 1st

Joint Letter from New York and Wisconsin Governors Here


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his continued opposition to regulations that create a barrier for New York’s dairy farmers who export a key New York dairy product to Canada. In a joint letter with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the Governors urged President Trump to address Canada’s dairy trade policies and call on the country to honor their international commitments under NAFTA and other trade agreements. Wisconsin and New York are the country’s top dairy producers. In New York, approximately the equivalent of 70 dairy farms may lose a key market and millions in sales may be impacted as of May 1.

"New York's dairy farms are essential to the strength of our agricultural economy, and these regulations are already having a devastating effect on our dairy farmers and their families," Governor Cuomo said. "With our growing concern that even more of our milk producers and our processors will be affected, I urge the federal government to call on Canada to reconsider these harmful regulations and continue our courteous, mutually beneficial trade relations."

Canadian actions are already affecting tens of thousands of dairy farmers across the country and could mean a $50 million market loss for New York's dairy industry. Together with Wisconsin, the regulations could cost the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Governor's letter is in direct response to the Province of Ontario and the Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee’s regulatory plans, which include the Ontario Class 6 regulation, Alberta and Quebec’s new Class 7 classification and the proposed establishment of a new National Ingredient Strategy, all of which are effectively restricting New York exports of ultra-filtered milk and leaving dairy producers without a home for their milk. Ultra-filtered milk is a protein-rich type of skim milk and is primarily used in the production of cheese and yogurt.

Over the last year, New York has made several attempts to find a solution agreeable to both parties. During a visit to Canada, New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul raised the concerns of New York State with Canadian officials, and in August 2016, New York Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Richard Ball sent a letter to his counterpart in the Province of Ontario, outlining the critical nature of the proposal and its effects on New York State. He also raised his concerns in person at the Tri-National Agricultural Accord in Ontario in late October.

Last week, Commissioner Ball and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Ben Brancel sent a letter to the USDA, urging the organization to provide needed assistance to the Wisconsin and New York dairy industries who have been harmed by Canada’s recent actions to shut down the ultra-filtered milk trade from U.S. producers. They requested the agency to purchase cheese and butter in storage and distribute it through USDA’s nutritional aid programs, including food banks and our national school program.

New York exports more to Canada than to any other country in the world. Last year, the bilateral trade relationship totaled $32.93 billion in goods and supported over 500,000 jobs regionally. New York’s dairy industry is the State’s largest agricultural sector. With more than 5,000 farms, the majority of which are family-run operations, the dairy industry supports the framework of the agricultural economy. The dairy community brought in $2.5 billion in sales, and the dairy industry hired almost 20,000 people in New York in 2015. New York’s dairy products also account for at least 50 percent of all New York State agricultural commodities exported internationally.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York’s dairy farmers rely on the export of their products and we need to do what we can to ensure they continue to have a home for their milk. I thank Governor Cuomo and Governor Walker for taking a hard stance on this issue and hope our concerns are heard at the highest level of government. We need to resolve this issue that would be detrimental to our agricultural industry."

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office