Upstate New York's dairy industry could suffer a serious blow if Canada imposes new, restrictive trade rules, says Sen. Charles Schumer and many regional dairy producers.
Schumer met with members of Western New York's O-AT-KA Milk, which exported more than $19 million in ultra-filtered milk and other milk products to Canada last year. The Canadian government is reportedly weighing new rules that would limit the amount of imported milk products used there to make cheese.
John Gould, a dairy farmer and chairman of the O-AT-KA board of directors, says a significant portion of their annual business is based upon exports.
"One out of every five pounds that we process goes to export and currently our largest single export is ultra-filtered milk to Canada," says Gould. "It's crucial for our farms and for our plant workers that we have this income. It's crucial to our livelihoods."
Schumer says Canada is adding insult to injury with proposed import limits because O-AT-KA invested millions of dollars four years ago to upgrade its Batavia facilities so it could produce milk products that follow Canadian guidelines.