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NAFTA replacement lacking, says Wisconsin farm group

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Many have cheered the new trade deal with the U.S., Canada and Mexico that replaces NAFTA — a deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico that’s supposed to be really good for farmers.

But, there’s a divide in farm groups over the USCMA. Some groups remain unimpressed. That includes the Wisconsin Farmers Union, where president and Westby dairy farmer Darin von Ruden says any gains in trade through the pact are a drop in the bucket for guys like him.

“When you look at the total numbers of the increases, you know it’s not even going to be a third of our yearly gains in all production here in the U.S.,” Von Ruden said. “As we continue having a 1.5- to 2-percent surplus in this country, we’re only taking care of a third of that with this agreement.”

The Farmers Union has argued for price and market controls within the U.S. to stabilize prices and inventory, rather than rely on export markets to rid the nation’s farmers of a yearly glut in production.

Von Ruden added the new deal will do almost nothing to relieve the biggest problems in the nation’s dairy industry — overproduction and dropping prices. That’s going to take something much more significant than sending a few more gallons of milk to Canada.

“We continue to waste resources and time producing food in this country that will not be consumed,” Von Ruden said.

Von Ruden has long been a proponent of, rather than looking to Canadian trade to resolve gluts in milk production, following Canadian-style market controls to maintain stability in milk inventory and prices within the U.S.

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