American dairy divided: Some want Canada's supply management left alone in NAFTA

The American dairy industry is split on the question of Canada's supply-management system as national negotiators get set to hold their first session on agriculture Saturday in North American free trade talks.

A vocal contingent of American farmers actually supports the Canadian system of price-and-import controls and wants their national negotiators to leave the Canadian system alone instead of fighting it as expected.

They don't want to eliminate Canada's system. They want to emulate it.

At least five organizations have expressed support for creating such a system in the U.S. Some have written letters to the official leading the U.S. trade team, urging Robert Lighthizer to leave the Canadian system alone.

That puts them at odds with the main national milk lobby, which is tied to export-based producers.

It's also at odds with the U.S. government position, which opposes Canadian supply management and has worked for years to weaken it.