The chairman of Dairy Farmers of Manitoba is firing back after a couple of controversial tweets over the weekend from U.S. President Donald Trump taking aim at Canada’s supply management system for dairy.

“Fair trade is now to be called fool trade if it is not reciprocal,” read a tweet posted to Trump’s Twitter account. “According to a Canada release they make almost 100 billion dollars in trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!). Minimum is 17B.”

“Tax from dairy from us at 270%. Then Justin acts hurt when called out!”

In Canada, dairy farmers operate under a supply management system which provides stability for producers through production control, pricing mechanisms and import control.

Dairy Farmers of Manitoba chairman David Wiens, a producer from the Grunthal, Man. area, said Trump’s tweets have left dairy farmers feeling frustrated.

“To suggest that somehow what we’re doing here is creating hardship in the U.S. is simply… it’s outrageous, it doesn’t even make any sense,” said Wiens. “It impacts a lot of families out there, so that part is disconcerting when these kind of comments are made.”

“It is rhetoric. We have to recognize it as that because when you get a closer look at the facts of the matter it’s very different than that.”

Wiens said the trade balance on dairy between Canada and the U.S. actually favours the U.S. by a ratio of five to one. He said 10 per cent of the Canadian dairy market is already open to tariff free imports, compared to three per cent in the U.S.

Critics of supply management argue it’s expensive for consumers but Wiens doesn’t see it that way. He said the current system works well for Canada.

“We’re producing milk that has a high level of standards,” said Wiens. “Whether it’s animal care, food safety, milk quality – all of those are built into our system.”

“People appreciate that and they’ve come to trust that food supply.”

Wiens hopes the federal government defends the system during ongoing trade negotiations.

“Our expectation is that the government will continue to support supply management, to support our dairy industry in the sense that we will be in tact after everything is said and done.”