Mr. Scheevel goes to Washington

SUBMITTED PHOTO Local dairyman David Scheevel, far left, at the presidential signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
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Fillmore County dairyman David Scheevel was among a select group of dairy industry leaders invited to witness the presidential signing Jan. 29 of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Scheevel, who milks 130 cows on his farm located just southwest of Preston, also serves as chairman of the board of directors of Foremost Farms USA Dairy Cooperative. The co-op produces dairy products for the world’s most trusted brands. There are over 1,000 dairy-farm families throughout the Upper Midwest who own Foremost Farms Co-op, and they provide quality milk for all of their award-winning products.

The signing ceremony occurred on the South Lawn of the White House for the new trade deal, which updated and replaced the quarter-century-old NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) with stronger protections for workers and the digital economy, expanded markets for American farmers, and new rules to encourage auto manufacturing in North America. Scheevel and several other industry representatives stood together, flanking President Donald Trump, Vice President Michael Pence and trade negotiator Robert Leighthaiser, as the event unfolded.

“This agreement gets U.S. dairy products back into Mexico, duty free, which we had before they put tariffs on us. We also gain some access to Canadian markets, albeit not a lot. Most importantly, however, it stops Canada from dumping cheap skim milk products on the world market, which depressed those global prices and directly affected U.S. dairy farmers’ milk prices,” commented Scheevel. 

As if Scheevel’s slate isn’t full enough, he also holds an officer’s position on the board of the National Milk Producers Federation. The NMPF is the trade association of dairy co-ops, which carries out the lobbying tactics on the dairies’ behalf; for potential disputes in congress or in federal agencies, that may occasionally surface. “It was a great honor to be invited to participate in this historic ceremony. I figure it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Scheevel explained.