Media Release: NFU at Canadian Milk Matters Rally
(Ottawa – June 2, 2016) – Today, members of the National Farmers Union (NFU) join in solidarity with dairy farmers in concurrent rallies on Parliament Hill and in federal Agriculture Minister MacAulay’s constituency, to celebrate International Milk Day, because “Canadian Milk Matters”.
Farmers will call upon the federal government to take action to ensure a sustainable and prosperous dairy sector in Canada. They are asking the federal government to enforce existing rules governing supply management. The NFU is particularly concerned about diafiltered milk imports undermining our supply management system.
Diafiltered milk is a highly concentrated milk protein ingredient that is being produced by American dairy processors for export to Canada as a way to avoid tariffs. Trade regulations define it as “not milk”, however, imported diafiltered milk is increasingly being used in cheese production instead of actual milk produced by Canadian farmers on Canadian farms. The federal government’s failure to enforce the rules that would prevent diafiltered milk in cheese production undermines our supply management system and unjustly takes away market from Canada’s dairy farmers.
Supply management stands upon three pillars: production discipline – whereby the supply of the product is controlled in order to not produce more than the market needs; cost-of-production pricing – which ensures that farmers receive a fair income; and import controls – which prevents dumping of foreign products into our market. These pillars ensure that Canadian consumers have a reliable supply of these products while the farmers who produce them obtain adequate income from the marketplace. The use of imported diafiltered milk to replace actual milk in cheese production weakens all three pillars.
A tractor-led parade of farmers will arrive at Parliament Hill at 12:30 on Thursday, June 2 where the Ottawa rally will commence. Farmers from Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick will rally in Montague, PEI, also at 12:30.
For more information:
Ottawa: Paul Slomp, NFU member: (613) 898-9136
Prince Edward Island: Doug Campbell, NFU District 1 Director, Region 1 (PEI): (902) 439-7104
For more information about threats and opportunities related to supply management, see the NFU’s recent report, Strengthening Supply Management – Defending Canadian control of our market space and advancing food sovereignty