Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Manitoba dairy farmers want TPP compensation.

Some Manitoba dairy farmers are embarrassed by the Harper government’s promise of $4.3 billion to guarantee that farmers who hold quota will never have less profit over the next 10 years and if they sell their quota, the price will be subsidized.

Manitoba Cooperator reports that Steve Boerchers spoke up at a recent producer meeting, calling for the money to be spent instead on market promotion.

The resolution was defeated, but not before Boercher made his point that the Harper package is giving farmers a bad reputation for greed.

“It’s a bad consumer image for farmers to be cashing government cheques in a supply managed system,” said Steve Boerchers.

“Seeing how we have enough problems otherwise that need to be dealt with in the industry, skim milk powder, overproduction and the diafiltered milk coming in from the United States, perhaps that money could be used in a more productive manner,” he is quoted in the farm newspaper.

David Wiens, chairman of Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, agreed that market promotion is an important priority, but said it’s being addressed.

The dairy farmers are also pondering a proposal to lower the price of milk used by processors who are importing cheaper ingredients from the U.S. The aim is to retain the market for Canadian farmers.

I think these farmers are way out of line, especially on quota values. They complain that the government can't "confiscate" their quota without compensation.

Nonsense. Quota was handed out free when supply management began for dairy and poultry farmers. It wasn't the government or taxpayers that decided to bid ridiculous prices to buy quota, and they should not have to pay one red cent - er, nickel now that pennies are gone - in compensation.

The only case they can make is that politicians, almost unanimously, pledged they would continue to support supply management. They were betrayed, but none of them can argue that they haven't seen it coming, particularly in trade negotiations.

They assumed a normal business risk and they have no more right to guaranteed profits than any other Canadian business.