Sunday, June 24, 2018

Mussell and Hedley counter Trump on dairy

Agricultural economists Al Mussell and Douglas Hedley have produced a paper countering United States President Donald Trump’s attacks on Canadian dairy policy as unfair to Americans.

They show that the U.S. also protects its dairy farmers with cheese import quotas and tariffs and with direct milk-production subsidies.

For example, they counter Trump’s complaint that Canada’s dairy tariffs are 270 per cent with the fact that the U.S. charges a 240 per cent tariff on some cheeses.

The U.S. government support for dairy farmers is $4.4 billion a year, as calculated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development compared with $2.79 billion for Canadian dairy farmers.

The U.S. support is mostly direct payments to farmers and tariffs to sustain milk prices. The Canadian support is almost entirely supply management and tariffs to enable dairy farmers to make their supply-management approach work to sustain their milk prices.

Mussell and Hedley have published their review on the Agri-Food Economics System website.

They focus on cheese and don't touch more complicated issues such as trade - really, the complete lack of it - in fluid milk and other dairy products such as ice cream, butter and powders.

Nor do they review the history of imports of unprotected milk components and the Canadian milk-pricing response, the likelihood that the Canadian pricing will be give rise to a U.S. complaint to the World Trade Organization, or that most of the recent international trade negotiations have involved Canadian agreements to allow more dairy products to be imported at relatively low tariff rates.

Under the Uruguay Round of world trade negotiations, in 1996 there were 123 nations who agreed to convert all of their agriculture-industry forms of trade protection into tariffs.

The idea was that in ensuing negotiations, countries could simply reach agreement on how much they would reduce tariffs.

Taking that approach to the North American Free Trade Agreement, both Canada and the United States would be negotiating the degree to which they’re willing to reduce dairy tariffs.

Mussell and Hedley don't say anything about taking this mutual tariff-reduction approach to the North American Free Trade negotiations, or the possibility that mutual reductions could be reached by using the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's measurements of subsidies.

The truth is that dairy farmers on both sides of the border are unwilling to yield one iota on the positions they have adopted.

And on both sides of the border, it's taxpayers and consumers who are paying to protect dairy farmers.

Friday, June 22, 2018

China’s buying $2.5 million from Ontario

A Chinese buyer signed a $2.5-million contract to for Ontario hogs and semen during the annual Pork Congress at Stratford this week.

Alliance Genetics Canada of St. Thomas will provide the genetics.
Donaldson International Inc. of Tavistock deliver the nucleus herd of about 1,000 gilts and semen.

In addition, the Canadian companies will offer swine management training to staff at Inner Mongolia.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

HSUS bullying McDonald’s

The Humane Society of the United States is launching a new television advertising campaign to bully McDonald’s to adopt its chicken welfare standards.

McDonald’s recently upgraded its chicken welfare standards but has not yielded to the pressure to change genetics to slower-growing birds.

The 30-second TV ad, which depicts chickens “genetically selected to grow too large and too fast” experiencing “abuse and suffering” on “factory farms,” will reportedly air in the Chicago market, McDonald’s home base.

HSUS officials said the goal of the campaign is to compel McDonald’s to join its peers, including Burger King, Subway and Jack in the Box, in “adopting meaningful reforms for these animals.”

The activist group said McDonald’s has fallen short in only saying that it will “study” the issue of how broilers are grown.

In its welfare code adopted in October, McDonald’s said growers must provide “perches” and other mechanisms to promote natural behaviour; transition to controlled atmospheric stunning; and accept third-party audits.

Isn't it amazing how U.S. people use their power to bully people - eg. HSUS and Trump?

New tool to measure pigs’ meat quality

Raman spectrometry has the potential to become a rapid online screening tool for pork producers to quickly select pigs whose pork is of superior quality for the breeding herd.

On the other hand, they can cull those whose pork is of poor quality. 

Researchers from Iowa State University, Jiangxi Agricultural University and Dalian Polytechnic University in China, and the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service tested a portable Raman spectrometer to predict fresh pork tenderness and slice shear force and report their findings in Meat Science, an online research journal. 

Sensory quality classification models of "poor" and "good" were developed to predict tenderness. 

Various quality categories were found to be more accurate for the day 15 postmortem samples for sensory tenderness (93.5 percent vs. 76.3 percent) and SSF (92.8 percent vs. 76.1 percent).

Top U.S. official testifies Trump is wrong

United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says Canada is not a national security threat to the United States.

That’s a direct contradiction with President Donald Trump, who appointed Ross. 

Trump imposed a 25 per cent tariff on Canadian steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, saying the tariffs are needed because of a security threat.

He only has authority to impose tariffs if the imports are a security threat.

Ross also testified during a Senate hearing that a revitalized North American Free Trade Agreement could make the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum go away.

Mr. Ross also acknowledged Wednesday that the U.S. doesn’t have a trade deficit on steel with Canada, contradicting Trump on another point.

In fact, he said it has a surplus with its northern neighbour in terms of dollar value.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Fire destroys dairy barn

Fire destroyed a barn and 29 dairy cattle at a farm west of Elmira at the Floradale and Listowel Roads.

Damage is estimated at about $500,000.

Many of the 192 cattle escaped when the family opened doors so they could flee.

Although the cause of the fire is not definite, there are suspicions that it might have been a skid steer loader.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Trump said slow progess continues on NAFTA

United States President Donald Trump said on Tuesday progress was being made in slow-moving talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.
But he also repeated his desire to strike separate deals with Mexico and if a three-way deal that suits him can’t be reached.
“We’re trying to equalize it. It’s not easy but we’re getting there,” he told a group of U.S. small business executives. 
“We’ll see whether or not we can make a reasonable NAFTA deal.”