Butter and skim milk support prices to increase April 1

© AgMedia Inc.


A couple of weeks ago, the news was covering the issue of price differences between the USA and Canada. It was noted that, on average, most goods coming to Canada have tariffs of 15%, with a goal of someday eliminating tariff's entirely. Even if the US dairy is subsidized up to 30%, I find it hard to believe, with tariffs of 230-300%, that our dairy industry is not turning a handsome profit already. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

An article about Canada/US retail price differences in the February 9, 2013 edition of the Globe and Mail, in addition to pointing out the huge tariffs unique to dairy and poultry products, noted the following - "Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns, estimates that cross-border shopping now drains more than $20 billion from Canada's economy on an annual basis. Even if this figure is difficult to pinpoint, the cost in lost sales, lost jobs, and lost fiscal revenues is no less real" -
While dairy and poultry products don't, by themselves, add up to the entire $20 billion, they are undoubtably a large part of it because almost every time a Canadian goes to the US for any reason, he/she will buy dairy and/or poultry products while there. More importantly, this example serves to illustrate the ever-increasing extent to which supply management truly is net-negative to the Canadian economy.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

As you point out a lot of goods are much cheaper in the USA Stephen. Since this is a farm discussion forum this is worth emphasizing.
Many large multinationals enhance their profits by exploiting Canadian consumers. Due to greedy distributorship arrangements for example some farm equipment dealers pay much more wholesale to for a machine than a US farmer pays retail. When US stores run specials you can't necessarily expect a supply managed product to compete. But when it comes to market stability and quality of life a well-managed, supply managed, system has some undeniable benefits our American friends don't enjoy. All systems have some benefits and I think it's good to recognize this.

It is really coming to be that some here don't want to realize that many things cost more here than south of the border but if we have one thing that is higher then it is a crime . Well many things here are and do cost more when on the buying end like farm equipment , parts , chemicals etc . On the selling side it is lower here for grains when input costs are higher . The previous poster hit it right on with his posting . So much for free trade , an open border and a par dollar .

Some things are slightly cheaper in the US because of a whole lot of reasons, but the ONLY things which are greatly cheaper, are dairy and poultry products, and that's due to the 200% plus tariff barriers available only to 15,000 highly-pampered and highly protected Canadian dairy and poultry farmers. I wish people would forget trying to whip themselves into a lather claiming nonsense about farm machinery and the like - there's nothing to prevent Canadian farmers from buying machinery in the US and bringing it home without any tariff whatsoever - there's no comparison between that, and a 200% tariff barrier, yet too many farmers mistakenly, and stubbornly, claim there is. In addition, I really hate the dismissive attitude of farmers claiming that the retail price spreads between Canada and the US for dairy and poultry products are somehow mostly due to "specials" in US stores, when the truth is completely different - for example, last week a gallon jug (3.78 litres) of homo milk (advertised as being hormone-free) was selling at a Wal-Mart in Louisville, KY (8 hours away from Canadian shoppers) for $2.89 ($0.7645/litre), but 4 litres of the same milk was selling at a Wal-Mart in Sarnia for $5.50 ($1.375/litre), or almost 80% more per litre than in the US. Furthermore, why can't dairy farmers understand that the reason DFO admitted Ontario consumers were paying almost 38% more for milk than US consumers in late 2010 is undoubtably because they were "cherry-picking" the least-worst numbers they could find, and last week's mini-shopping experience would lead any reasonable person to believe the difference is more than double the 38% DFO was prepared to admit in late 2010. Come on, really, all you gullible, and truth-denying, dairy farmers, the supply management horse has "left the barn", and isn't coming back anytime soon, if ever - you can deceive yourselves all you want about loss-leaders and retail price specials, but that is a fairy tale, because the truth is more like highway-robbery.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Stephen I don't want to get into a numbers game that could go on forever.
Those who live within an hour or two on an American town have been signing up for parcel US drop sites at unprecedented rates. Those depots that I've seen don't offer refrigeration so guess what isn't being bought and shipped there? I'm sure some folks pick up dairy and feather products locally when they are there though.
Spend a little time comparing prices at places like Amazon and see why these depots are popular.
Compare prices of auto parts, vehicles, farm implements etc. There are no significant restrictions on families bringing NAFTA qualified items across the border. Border officials don't generally interfere with families who buy sm products either.
Stephen you may have a good argument against sm but don't spoil it by trying to paint everything black. Instead of backing yourself into a corner in an effort to deny everything your opponents say, why not try a little cross border shopping and see for yourself that there are 2 sides to every story.

Is also cheaper in the USA .
Along with many other things consumers buy and use . Hhhmmmm
BuT still we have a one trick pony circus going on about SM .

Everyone wants to point fingers at other items which are not in the same ball park. Instead of viscously defending SM, your efforts would be better spent to come up with a program to phase the SM farmers from a regressive system to a progressive system over the next few years. Your sales would increase instead of remaining stagnant. You may not like the way it happens when it is forced on you. It's not a question of if, just of when. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

When consumer prices are taken out of the equation, all that's left is one group of farmers with a legislated income and purchasing power advantage over every other farmer. That is the one issue about supply management which can neither be dismissed, nor denied, in the farm community. If supply managed farmers aren't prepared, or willing, to do something now to level the playing field, they definitely will not like what gets forced on them if they don't.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Its always been farmers against farmer , there is not just one farmer in Canada. They all compete for land trying to get bigger and some succeed in doing it doesn,t matter what they produce. Its life make money or your done , same as consumers buy what you can afford and make do. If everyone just had to worry about their cheese for their pizza I guess they would have not too much to worry about would they. I have lots of things to worry about if I have enough money to buy something I need or want and its not just cheese. Maybe some day there will be cheap cheese for everyone could have a pizza.

It wouldn't matter if there are farmers against farmers, that's just good business and it's that way in other business' as well, and there is respect. The problems arise when unequal and different legislations are in the same business, in this case, producing food. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

Success in farming in Canada has everything to do with what a farmer produces because dairy and poultry products benefit from 200% tariff barriers, while everyone else does not. More to the point, it would seem abundantly clear from your posting that you are not a non-supply managed farmer under the age of 40 from Huron, Perth, or Oxford, and therefore facing the prospect of spending your entire life being bullied by the incomes and purchasing power available only to dairy and poultry farmers, because if you were, you would not be so dismissive, and/or so nonchalant, about the matter.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

As I said before there is more than 3 counties in Canada so why do all you talk about is them and not what,s happening in the rest of this country. I,m a over 40 non sm farmer and I,m not from one of those 3 counties and yes I live and work all my life in Canada. Farming is hard sometimes and the money isn,t like a public job but its a great life and I,m not surrounded by cement and pavement . I figure nature is worth more than what any office or government job can pay. Like I said if you can,t afford the cheese for the pizza buy what you can afford and wait till its on sale just like the eggs , chicken or the other sm supplies and they will soon realize they will have to lower the price to sell their products. You will soon realize it does taste better when you have to wait for something than have it given to you for next to nothing or free.

The rest of the country contains the 30 million people, including farmers, who get screwed at the retail counter every time they buy dairy and poultry products. The rest of the country contains all those farmers in export-oriented sectors who would benefit from trade deals which are being road-blocked by supply management. The rest of the country contains those voters who would reward any government which got rid of supply management (and punish those SOBs in the NDP who support rich farmers instead of poor consumers). Furthermore, as Martha Hall Findlay pointed out, even those federal ridings where supply management is concentrated, could easily contain more voters who wanted supply management gone, rather than saved. Finally, being dismissive about the problem, as you clearly seem to be, serves no purpose except to prove that you are either too rich, or too old, to care, and that's a wretchedly-bad attitude.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

How many poor consumers are there in Canada I ask. Look at the lineups at the bars , beer stores, hockey games and all the other sports and shows that charges great amounts and sells alcohol for out rages prices. Compare that to the price farmers get for their milk and how much people pay for a night out and say the poor consumers. Look at todays news about the Canadian charged with bringing honey in from China without paying 180 Million dollars in duties, now that the way to farm? Buy local they say but how can you really know if its local or not , and we all have a choice on what we buy to eat nobody is forcing you to buy a fresh pizza when you can buy frozen and eat it at home and no tips to add on. I care about the price of food just as much as the price of my hydro , gas, taxes and all the other things I need, look how much the public sector is paid for the work they do and say they are not treated different than the private sectors in Canada in wages , benefits and pensions whish by the way we all pay for including the poor consumers. Sit at your desk and tell me the SM farmers are the only ones mistreating the poor consumers. Fill your car and see if all the gas stations prices and they all raise the price at the same time and there is no care for the poor consumers.

I would have to say that you have just showed how much you don't understand . There are glaring differences between the 2 countries which directly affects pricing . Next time a pork farmer or a pork loop feeder ( hired hand ) complains about american pork being in a store here priced lower , complains about not having access to the cheaper drugs etc. , complains about the high cost of feed here when grain prices are lower here , they will also have to think back to how many times they told every one that " We Can Compete " . You will agree that you will have to look in the mirror for who to blame .

It is so like the SM bashers to not understand that costs are not the same on both sides of the border because you would then have to admit that you can't compete but you have been told and told yourselves for so long that you can that you believe it . Then quit yer crying about feed prices . What are you going to do when you have to go back to raising your pigs on straw or on pasture ? That will surely affect your costs but then you will blame some one for not wanting to give their organic matter away for nothing and charging outrageous prices for straw because you have to have it . It's o.k. you will tell gov. you need an adhoc program .

I think the fact that there are sectors here in this country that are successful with out exporting is one thing that ticks you off . You also seem not to be able to see the forest for the trees that this system does prove that things are different here on this side of the border but you can only see and export market that you think you need to fill because you believe you can do so cheaper . Good for you but don't blame some one else for your problem or mistake .

When it comes to equipment parts why should I have to go across the border to buy parts or equipment cheaper ? That really supports my local dealer and looks good when I need service . There are reasons that things are cheaper there and it is not because of SM .

Is SM perfect ? NO
Should there be changes ? Yes
Do you have to destroy it to make changes ? NO

You can keep your buy local , I will buy what ever pork is cheaper in the store . be it home grown or import . I watch my food dollars .

I don't drink milk other than cream in my coffee .
I am not a SM producer

It does not matter, whether or not anyone consumes the products under supply management, it doesn't make it right. It also does not matter that you are not a sm producer. Your second last paragraph contradicts everything said in support of sm. If you truly believe your claims you would put your name on it. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

That you boasted about the "quality of life" enjoyed by supply managed farmers is, all at the same time, the most-horrifying, and most-arrogant, thing I've ever seen come from a supply management supporter because it ignores the basic fact that this quality of life hasn't been earned, it has been "stolen" from consumers. That you obviously seem to believe it, is even more horrifying because it demonstrates you care absolutely-nothing about anyone, or anything, except your own "quality of life". That supply managed farmers care nothing about the "quality of life" they deny to consumers and non-supply managed farmers who will never have the incomes and purchasing power enjoyed by the 15,000 supply managed millionaires, speaks volumes about just exactly why supply management is not well-liked, and will not be missed.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Stephen, with all due respect, it seems like you are dramatizing to make your case. The danger in demonizing something or someone is that you weaken your case.

S M farmers aren't evil. They are hard working, law abiding, tax payers. S M is an issue with two sides. Your rhetoric almost suggests major crimes are being committed. Solutions eventually come from debate, discussion and consensus.

Last week in an article about Diane Findlay's s m views the Globe estimated that about 2 percent of Canadians might care about the issue. Hardly a national outcry.

I do believe that the s m groups (likely aware of the 2 percent and hoping that number doesn't rise) have done a poor job of communication. That leaves the stage for detractors.

If anything, the private e-mails, and phone calls I get, tell me, in no uncertain terms, that not only am I completely correct, but that, if anything, I don't go nearly far enough in my criticisms. As far as non-supply managed famers under the age of 40 are concerned, major crimes are being committed, against them, and I get told this all the time. Forcing consumers and non-supply managed farmers into economic slavery is wrong, regardless of how many people may seem to care about the issue. In addition, you're completely wrong to believe that any legislated entitlement, especially one so lucrative, and so long-standing, ever ends because of debate, discussion, and consensus - that, my friend, is a fairy-tale, and always has been. There are some cases, many cases, where the biblical admonition to "Smite thine enemies" is the only thing with any chance of success, and this issue, given the fiercely-held beliefs of the entitled, definitely appears to be one of those cases. This is all going to end badly, and with no pity for the losers at all - I wish it wasn't going to have to happen this way, but it will.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So this is about major crimes or morality?

Well let's see now, we have a group who chooses to invest and work for a cost of production set by a committee representing stakeholders including consumers. This group has a lot more risk and a lot less security than other groups say for example: government workers. In return though consumers receive a stable food supply. If you're uncertain about that ask any aging European what stable food supply means.

Under this system consumers are free to buy products, or not, for prices that represent what it costs to produce them in Canada. Maybe not a perfect system but hardly the monster some suggest.

But just for fun let's compare with a non supply managed farm product. How about pork? That's a good one because for many years pork has been produced at prices below the cost of production. The reason for this, is that when offered a choice, pork producers bet their industry on exports instead of supply management. Like supply managed producers these guys had a choice but they chose differently

The result has been bankruptcies, failures and a disappearing industry. Even worse it's meant massive subsidies and government handouts --Taxpayer's dollars! But it gets worse.

Many hard-working Canadians don't eat pork for a variety of reasons whether cultural religious or other reasons. Yet they were forced in this case, to subsidize pork something they don't consume or want! That's horrible but it gets worse.

Much of the money these taxpayers were forced to fork over, together with tax dollars every other Canadian taxpayer had to fork over effectively went to subsidize the Japanese housewife so she could enjoy cheap Canadian pork, sold for way less than it cost to produce.

SM or "free enterprise"? Pick your poison.

Go to a restaurant to eat its crazy the price you end up paying, then add on the taxes and tip. The milk producers get enough for their milk a while back and still keep it going up even with the cap on QUOTA. Eat at home and make your own meals and pizza , and buy only when SM products are on sale.

Post new comment

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
We welcome thoughtful comments and ideas. Comments must be on topic. Cheap shots, unsubstantiated allegations, anonymous attacks or negativity directed against people and organizations will not be published. Comments are modified or deleted at the discretion of the editors. If you wish to be identified by name, which will give your opinion far more weight and provide a far greater chance of being published, leave a telephone number so that identity can be confirmed. The number will not be published.