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Idaho Dairy Producer Testifies Before Congress on USMCA Enforcement Importance

July 27, 2021

National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Executive Committee member Allan Huttema said USMCA enforcement is essential for the agreement to reach its potential for U.S. dairy farmers in testimony today at a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing on the impact of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on U.S. dairy. Huttema operates an 800-cow dairy in Parma, Idaho and serves as chair of the Darigold and Northwest Dairy Association boards, both of which are NMPF and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) members.

“I thank Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Crapo, my own senator, for extending me the opportunity to discuss the impact the USMCA has had on my farm and the thousands of other dairy farms throughout the country,” said Huttema. “Enforcement of trade agreements like USMCA is important to ensure we retain the ability to supply high-quality cheeses, milk powders and a variety of other dairy products to customers around the world.”

“NMPF and the dairy producers it represents are grateful to the Senate Finance Committee for inviting Allan to discuss the benefits that the USMCA has brought U.S. dairy producers and cooperatives,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “But as Huttema said so well, adequate enforcement is necessary to ensure American dairy producers are provided the access promised in the agreement. We are grateful to the Senate Finance Committee members for their advocacy in support of the recently initiated dispute settlement proceedings over Canada’s dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs) – a critical step in enforcement of this agreement.”

The $6.5 billion worth of U.S. dairy products exported each year underpins the economic health of dairy producers, processors, and manufacturers across the United States. American dairy exports create more than 85,000 direct jobs and have a nearly $12 billion economic impact. Whether it is Canada’s TRQ administration or Mexico’s array of new regulations intended to limit imports, NMPF and USDEC have urged the U.S. government to ensure the USMCA is fully enforced. Enforcement secures the access extended to U.S. dairy producers in the USMCA and sends a strong message to other U.S. trading partners that attempts to subvert trade obligations will not be tolerated.

“The U.S. Dairy Export Council appreciates the Senate Finance Committee and its members for hearing Allan’s testimony and answers regarding the importance of the USMCA and new trade opportunities to the U.S. dairy industry,” said Krysta Harden, President and CEO of USDEC. “USDEC agrees with Allan regarding the need to pursue greater market access opportunities for high-quality American dairy products that our international consumers demand. USMCA was an important step forward, but it’s not enough. We need new trade agreements to expand on Congress’ hard work in passing USMCA. The EU is filling the vacuum that American trade policy is leaving – an issue that Congress needs to address with additional market opportunities for U.S. exports. We appreciate Allan sharing his insight and concerns with the agreement’s implementation and its impact on dairy farmers, processors and manufacturers throughout the United States.”