Country Life in BC

December 19, 2018

Ottawa invests in dairy sector

by PETER MITHAM

Ottawa has met criticism of its betrayal of Canada’s dairy sector in recent trade deals with fresh investment in the dairy sector.

A week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed CUSMA – the Canada-US-Mexico Trade Agreement, as it’s known in Canada – and Dairy Farmers of Canada penned an open letter declaring it a “dark day in the history of dairy farming in Canada,” Ottawa announced the second phase of its Dairy Farm Investment Program.

Originally announced in August 2017, the program aims to provide $250 million over five years to help the sector adapt to anticipated impacts from the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Of 11,000 dairy farms in Canada, over 2,500 applied in the first phase. Approximately $129.2 million was invested in more than 1,900 projects, including automatic feeding systems, robotic milking systems and herd management equipment.

The second and last phase will see $120.8 million given to more than 1,000 projects, which are eligible to receive up to $100,000 each (funding in the first phase averaged $68,000 per project). Applications will be received between January 7 and February 9, 2019.

Designed to mitigate CETA’s impacts , the program will be followed by funding aimed at mitigating the impacts of CUSMA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Details of those compensation packages are still being worked hammered out.

Together, the deals have ceded close to 20% of Canada’s dairy market to imported product.