National unity a concern for dairy farmers

“Supply management is not crazy”


Dairy Farmers of Canada look like in the future? That is a very relevant question as Dairy Farmers of Ontario withdraws its funding for DFC marketing programs on January 1. Ontario represents about 40% of DFC’s total funding, so short- term budget challenges will be the most immediate effect. “We don’t know the full

impact of DFO’s withdrawal yet,” new DFC president Pierre Lampron told the BC Dairy Conference in Vancouver, December 7. Lampron took up the position last July when Wally Smith retired after serving as DFC president since July 2011. Later in the conference, Smith, who spent 17 years on the DFC board, was presented with the BC Dairy Historical Society’s BC Dairy Industry Achievement award. BCDHS president Jim

Byrne, a former BC Milk Marketing Board chair, noted Smith is one of only three BC dairy farmers to lead DFC. He credited him for leading the fight to protect supply management for Canadian dairy farmers from numerous trade challenges. In 2016, those efforts put him on Canadian Business Magazine’s list of Canada’s 50 Most Powerful People. Even the notoriously anti-supply management Globe and Mail placed him on its Food 53 List in 2016. In accepting the award, Smith thanked BC producers for “allowing me to do what I love to do in politics and in the BC and Canadian milk industry,” noting “I’m more interested in the politics than the cows.”

And that involved a lot of

politics. Smith worked with six provincial and six federal agriculture ministers during his tenture with DFC. “Government gave us the

rope to hang those who wanted to kill supply management,” he said. DFO director Sid Atkinson blamed DFC’s lack of “transparency and accountability” for Ontario’s decision. BC DFC director David Janssens is confident DFC will survive, noting it has weathered past challenges. “It’s crucial that DFC is

strong to defend supply management,” added BC Dairy Association president Dave Taylor. Lampron promised DFC will continue to advocate on behalf of farmers and supply management. “Every country has a policy to support its producers,” he stated. “That’s why supply management is not crazy.” Lampron called US demands at the NAFTA renegotiations “outrageous,” saying the US is “effectively calling for the end of supply management.” Canada calls that a non-

starter, and Lampron insisted “we’re going to keep them to that.” Now that the US has

dropped out of Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, the 3.25% market access Canada previously agreed to must be adjusted downward. Lampron called the compensation program developed in response to the CETA (European) free trade agreement a “precedent” which needs to be repeated if government gives up additional access in NAFTA or the TPP. “Government needs to understand it’s our market and we don’t want to give it


Darren Jansen Owner 604.794.3701 Certified by Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd.


BC Dairy Historical Society president Jim Byrne, left, and BC Dairy Association president Dave Taylor, far right, present the BCDHS 2017 BC Dairy Industry Achievement Award to Julie and Wally Smith of Chemainus during the BC Dairy Conference in Vancouver in early December. DAVID SCHMIDT PHOTO

up for nothing.” Dan Wong, president of the

new Western Dairy Council which represents dairy processors in the four western provinces, is also concerned about the NAFTA and TPP negotiations but takes a more pragmatic approach. He notes current and future trade agreements are spelling the end of the “subsidization of Canadian dairy exports,” which he claims has been at the core of the Canadian dairy industry “for 50 years.” Wong says processors have

shifted their focus to “making what we sell instead of trying to sell what we make.”

He notes dairy processors

have invested “over $300 million” in the past two years, representing the greatest investment ever in new dairy processing.

That includes a new MPC

plant now being built in Winnipeg by Ontario’s Gay Lea Foods and Abbotsford- based Vitalus Nutrition, the country’s largest manufacturer of milk protein concentrates (MPCs) and milk protein ingredients (MPIs). Vitalus president Phil

Vanderpol believes MPCs and MPIs are the future, saying “once you fractionate the components, the



Join us for our annual Dairy Expo Farm Tours and Dairy Expo Seminars

DATES: • Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 – Annual Farm Tours • Thursday, Jan 25, 2018 – Annual BC Dairy Expo Seminar at 

EXPO SEMINARS: •  •  •  • Assessment of Phosphorus Extraction

COST: • 

opportunities are endless.” He described some

innovative new products being developed around the world, such as the Fairlife milk Coca-Cola is distributing. Fairlife uses milk components to produce a lactose-free product with 50% more protein, 30% more calcium and 50% less sugar than traditional fluid milk. Vanderpol is particularly enthused about the potential for galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) which the company is banking its future on. “In January, we’re going to

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