Dairy Farmers seek support for supply management
Dairy Farmers of Prince Edward Island, the organization that represents the approximately 180 producers on the Island, is asking for public and industry support to protect the supply management system.
They are very concerned that the federal government will become a participant in the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement and, in the process, capitulate to demands from the other nations to open up the Canadian markets to foreign dairy products.
The industry group says that under the proposed trade agreement, which appears to be on a fast track for approval, Canada is being pressed by foreign interests to dismantle supply management. Canada appears to be willing to do that, hoping to gain concessions in other areas.
Under supply management, the production of dairy products is closely tied to domestic demand. That does not disrupt world markets, and producers receive a fair return on their investment and labour. Consumers are assured of safe, high quality products at reasonable prices.
Farm cash receipts from dairy production on the Island account for more than $75 million annually. The dairy industry is one of the most stable and profitable sectors in the industry.
It receives no public subsidies, and its demise would be a serious blow to the provincial economy.
Dairy producers are among the most efficient in Canada. Since the introduction of supply management in the early 1970s, the average herd size has doubled, milk shipments have increased five-fold, and the level of milk produced per cow has increased by 120 per cent, far about the level of other developed countries.
Because of the stability and predictable of returns, producers have been able to invest in stringent testing and genetic improvement programs. Unlike many other countries, the industry here does not use artificial growth hormones.
The result is a safe, reliable and high quality supply of dairy products to consumers.
Dairy Producers of Prince Edward Island say that the positive benefits of the dairy industry trickle down to the local community in a number of ways. Each dollar spent locally benefits businesses and taxpayers. Buying local means investing in the local economy.
The claim that dairy products are more expensive in Canada overlooks the fact that many other countries subsidize their industry. As well, foreign products may not live up to Canada’s high standards.
Over the past couple of decades, Canada has negotiated a number of trade agreements. In each one, it has protected the dairy industry.
Chicken Farmers of Canada is also objecting to the deal.
The website, www.milkledowneffect. has been created to expand the information on some of the economic benefits that accrue from the supply managed dairy system. The public is encouraged to visit the site for more information and to sign a petition in support of dairy producers.