Area Dairy Farmers React to USMCA

DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) -- The United States has agreed to a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. What was formerly NAFTA is now the USMCA, or United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

Cows on the Kramer dairy farm are milked on Monday, October 1, 2018. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)

Here in Iowa, the deal is good news for dairy farmers.

In the new deal, Canada agrees to give a greater market share to U.S. dairy farmers. That means that hopefully, they'll be able to sell more of their product.

Dairy farmer Wayne Kramer has been in the industry for three decades, and he's optimistic about the deal about a tough last few years.

"The last few years have been the roughest years for the dairy industry out of the last 30," Kramer said. "Usually you have your ups and downs but the downs are too long this time."

Currently, Kramer sells his product at about $14 per 100-pound. He expects the price to go up at least half a dollar with the new deal.

"I think we'll see a 50 cent increase in our milk price down the road right off the bat once it's in effect," he speculated.

Peosta dairy farmer Elizabeth Elsinger said the announcement alone is giving an immediate boost to the industry.

"It's helped our milk futures just in the 14 hours that it's been discussed, so our milk futures have gone up not a lot, but significant enough for us all to notice," she said.

She works on the D-Gaul farm with her parents and her husband. They milk about 400 cows, and now she's feeling optimistic about their future.

"It's super depressing that dairies that were forced out of the market earlier won't get to necessarily reap the benefits of this, but we're super excited for us as individuals, but also because we're a family dairy, there looks to be a future for our children," Elsinger said.

"It's a start in the right direction," Kramer said.