Sylvain Charlebois suggests dairy is going away as a food source, that our dairy industry lacks innovation and isn’t competitive. This is inaccurate. By: Terry Shannon
Dairy farmers in Canada use the best technologies available. The largest robotic milking parlour in the world operates in B.C. Visitors to the Vancouver Island Breakfast on the Farm event in July had the opportunity to see one of the most technically sophisticated dairies on the planet.
Canadian dairy cattle and genetics are renowned worldwide, as is the quality of Canadian milk. Achievements like these don’t just happen; there is constant change and innovation in the Canadian dairy industry.
As for competition, the U.S. dairy industry is reliant on cheap labour. The labour source is the issue. A recent Texas A&M university study reported the majority of workers on U.S. dairy farms are immigrants and losing them would nearly double retail milk prices in the U.S. More than 50 per cent of these immigrant workers are illegals with no access to social programs or medical services. There is probably not broad support in Canada for this business model.
In addition, the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill authorizes nearly $100 billion in annual spending for each of the following 10 years. In the U.S., farmers farm the government programs, not exactly a free enterprise-model. Some U.S. dairy farmers use hormones to boost milk production.
We have a different system in Canada. It is better for our consumers, our farmers, our farm workers and even our cows. And Ottawa knows it.
Source: Times Colonist