The dairy industry will receive $1.75 billion over eight years
By Diego Flammini
Canadian dairy farmers will receive support from the federal government to offset market losses from trade deals.
Ottawa will make $1.75 billion available to dairy farmers over eight years to compensate for Canada’s role in CETA, CPTPP and the USMCA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced on Friday.
Canada gave up about 8.4 per cent of its domestic market in those three deals, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) estimates.
This compensation package will help producers manage their operations after all the agreements come into effect.
Friday’s “announcement shows how much our government respects our producers and believes in the supply management system,” Minister Bibeau said in a statement. “As promised, the compensation is deployed fully and fairly to allow everyone to make the best decisions based on the new market realities and their respective situations.”
Of the $1.75 billion, dairy farmers will receive $345 million in direct payments the first year. The payments will be based on the proportion of quota farmers hold. The government will release more details as they become available.
A producer with 80 dairy cows, for example, would get $28,000 in the first year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says.
The Canadian Dairy Commission will make the payments and the federal government plans to work with DFC to determine how the rest of the support will be distributed.
Dairy farmers are pleased with the government’s action to compensate producers.
The federal government should be supporting farmers since they’re the ones paying the price for the market concessions, said Warren Trask, a dairy farmer from Wellington County, Ont.
“Once the government starts giving away market share for reasons that are beyond our control, I think we need to be looked after,” he told Farms.com. “They said they were going to do this so it’s nice to see them come through with the help.”
Some farm organizations would like to see other sectors supported too.
Canola and pork producers are affected by trade challenges with China. That situation needs government attention, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture said.
“This disruption was not created by farmers, and instead is the result of geopolitical actions where the Canadian agriculture sector has become collateral damage,” the organization said Monday.