Dairy Farm­ers seek sup­port for sup­ply man­age­ment

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES/COMMUNITY - This ar­ti­cle was from the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries. For com­ments and sug­ges­tions, email wemack­in­non@gov.pe.ca.

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.

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