Canada’s support package hailed by dairy and egg farmers

The federal government has announced a substantial package to support Canada’s supply-managed dairy, poultry and egg farmers.

A government release calls the farmers “part of the backbone of the Canadian agriculture sector and the Canadian economy.” It noted that they have continued delivering high-quality products throughout COVID-19.

The release notes that in August 2019, it was announced that $1.75 billion would be provided to compensate Canadian dairy farmers over eight years. Between December 2019 and January 2020, more than 10,000 dairy farmers received a cash payment of $345 million.

Now, the government has pledged to deliver the remaining $1.405 billion as direct payments to farmers over a timeline of three years.

$691 million will also go towards 10-year programs for Canada’s 4,800 chicken, egg, broiler hatching egg, and turkey farmers to drive innovation and growth.

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC), Chicken Farmers of Canada, Turkey Farmers of Canada, and Canadian Hatching Egg Producers hailed the move. They noted it will provide more certainty for dairy farmers and the industry.

Dairy farmers will receive, on the basis of their milk quota, cash payments of $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22, and $468 million in 2022-23. The owner of a farm with 80 dairy cows will be awarded compensation in the form of a direct payment of approximately $38,000 each year.

“Reducing the timelines for the scheduled payments is recognition by the government of the importance of the foreign competition we face, this is why today’s announcement is so significant,” said Pierre Lampron, President of DFC. “I want to thank Prime Minister Trudeau for following up on his commitment.”

DFC estimates that by 2024, 18% of domestic dairy products will have been outsourced to foreign producers. It adds the dairy sector supports over 221,000 full-time jobs, contributes $19.9 billion annually to Canada’s GDP, and generates $3.8 billion in tax revenue every year.

Meanwhile, EFC notes that Canada’s poultry and egg farmers stand to suffer losses of billions in net operating income.