Good day and welcome to the Sprout, where it’s National Whipped Cream Day. We forgot to mention yesterday’s food holiday in the inaugural Sprout for 2022. Our apologies. For those wondering, Jan. 4 was National Spaghetti Day.
Here’s today’s agriculture news.
Both Canada and the U.S. are claiming victory after arbitrators of a dispute-resolution panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on dairy-import quotas, which the U.S. requested in May, released its final report on Tuesday.
At the heart of the dispute is Canada’s practice of reserving 80 to 85 per cent of the volume of its tariff export quotas, which are specified quantities of products that can cross the border, at a reduced or zero tariff rate, for import by Canadian processors.
On Tuesday, the panel largely sided with the U.S.
“Canada’s practice of reserving TRQ (tariff-rate quota) pools exclusively for the use of processors is inconsistent with Canada’s commitment in Article 3.A.2.11(b) of the Treaty not to limit access to an allocation to processors,” the panel wrote in its report.
Canada now has until Feb. 3 to either respond or comply with the decision, the Canadian Press reports. A senior U.S. official told Reuters the U.S. expects Canada to resolve the matter by the deadline, and doesn’t intend to impose retaliatory tariffs on its northern neighbour.
In a joint statement, Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said they welcomed the panel’s findings.
“We are pleased with the dispute-settlement panel’s report, which ruled overwhelmingly in favour of Canada and its dairy industry,” the ministers said. “In particular, it is important to note that the panel expressly recognizes the legitimacy of Canada’s supply management system.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the panel’s findings would “help eliminate unjustified trade restrictions on American dairy products, and will ensure that the U.S. dairy industry and its workers get the full benefit of the USMCA to market and sell U.S. products to Canadian consumers.”
Tai’s full news release is here.
Bibeau appointed dairy and beef farmer Jennifer Hayes chair of the Canadian Dairy Commission on Tuesday, the first time the post has been held by a woman. The official announcement is here.
Organizers of a “hay west” effort by the Mennonite Disaster Service Canada say more hay is needed to help drought-stricken producers in Saskatchewan. If you’re a Saskatchewan farmer in need of hay or an Ontario farmer with hay to spare, you can find more information about the program here.
With so many workers sick with COVID straining supply chains further, many sectors, including grocery stores, aren’t getting the goods they need, CTV reports.
One of Canada’s major railways is on the hunt for a new chief executive officer. As Real Agriculture reports, at least one Conservative MP says he’s worried that CN Railway’s customer service could suffer if the job goes to someone from a shareholding hedge fund.
In other executive news, Nutrien CEO Mayo Schmidt has left the job just eight months after taking it, despite the company’s strong profits, Reuters reports. As Real Agriculture reports, Ken Seitz, executive vice-president and CEO of Potash, has been named the company’s interim CEO.
And flood-damaged farms in British Columbia could be further damaged by a cold snap that’s freezing farm infrastructure, as well as increasing the need for extra heating fuel and feed for livestock that are burning extra energy in their effort to stay warm. CBC reports.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has dismissed his minister of education, Susil Premajayantha, effective immediately, but gave no reason for doing so, the Associated Press reports. Premajayantha told local news media, however, he believed it was because of his recent criticism of higher food prices and the government’s prohibition of chemical fertilizers.
Also from the Associated Press, sheep and goats are encouraging Germans to get vaccinated against COVID.
Scientists in Israel have trained six goldfish to drive a so-called Fish-Operated Vehicle on land. As CTV News reports, it consists of a plexiglass water tank on four motorized wheels, a camera to track the fishes’ movements, and other technology that, when combined, allows the fishies to “drive.” We can only assume trials went swimmingly.
This post was copy-edited after publication.