Milk Plant

FILE - Local milk is delivered Jan. 22, 2015 at the Cayuga Milk Ingredients plant.

Sarah Jean Condon, The Citizen

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer isn't letting Canada off the hook. 

For months, New York's senior senator has railed against proposed rules that would hurt the state's milk producers, including Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Aurelius and farms throughout upstate. 

Schumer, D-N.Y., visited Cayuga Milk Ingredients in March to outline why the rules would have a negative impact on New York's dairy producers. Kevin Ellis, the company's CEO, said the policy could cost Cayuga Milk Ingredients $30 million in lost exports

Canada recently adopted the rules, which Schumer's office says encourages Canadian companies to avoid using imported dairy products from the United States. 

One of the products affected by the regulation is ultra-filtered milk, which is produced by Cayuga Milk Ingredients. Schumer said U.S. companies, including those in upstate New York, previously had duty-free access for ultra-filtered milk under the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

"It's clear that Canada's new restrictive dairy trade and pricing policies is a blatant attempt to clamp down on American dairy products — and that flies directly in the face of the fair trade agreement signed by the U.S. and Canada," Schumer said Wednesday. 

Schumer sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilseck and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and urged them to investigate Canada's new dairy trade policies. 

Joining Schumer as a co-author of the letter is U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin. 

The senators outlined their concerns and specifically highlighted the impact it would have on exports of ultra-filtered milk. 

"Companies from our states inform us that they have already lost considerable export sales as a result of the Ontario dairy policy introduced this past spring," the senators wrote. "These reductions in export sales impact dairy manufacturers and their supplying farms in areas of our states that are unfortunately already struggling with depressed milk prices." 

Schumer added that fair trade practices must be preserved.

"Our New York dairy producers work hard every day to provide for their families and export quality products to the world — and they deserve to know that everyone's competing on a level playing field," he said. 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.