Today’s announcement of a federal support package for the agricultural sector will provide relief for dairy farmers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC).
DFC welcomed the key elements of the package, including increased borrowing capacity for the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC), and additional funding under the AgriRecovery Framework for a set-aside program, which would include dairy cull cows.
«Never have we seen such fluctuation in demand for milk from one week to another, and despite the best efforts to manage production to align with consumer needs, bottlenecks resulted in milk having to be disposed at the farm, something no dairy farmer wants to see,» said Pierre Lampron, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada. «Dairy Farmers of Canada welcome the measures announced today by the federal government, which will help offset the impacts of bottlenecks in the supply chain that have prevented dairy from getting from the farm to the store shelf.»
The situation was compounded by a dramatic decrease in business in the hotels, restaurants and institutions sector (HRI sector), which resulted in a reduced requirement for dairy. Today’s announcement includes a commitment by the government to work with opposition parties to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s capacity to store dairy products until the market rebounds.
«This commitment needs to be fulfilled as this will provide timely relief to the dairy sector to help align the dairy offering to meet consumer needs today, and into the coming months,» added Lampron.
Dairy Farmers of Canada also welcomed the announcement of a surplus food purchase program to further support those in need.
«Solidarity with our communities is a value that is near and dear to dairy farmers, which is why we have committed more than $10 million dollars in dairy products to food banks across the county to support Canadians in need,» said Lampron.
DFC is committed to continued working with the government to ensure fulsome support for the sector, namely on programs such as Agri-Recovery and Agri-Stability. Their design restricts their accessibility in the context of the pandemic. DFC will continue to work with the federal government to ensure that agricultural programs are able to provide effective support in these extraordinary times.
Notwithstanding the positive elements of the announcement, DFC acknowledges the total funding falls short of the expectations set out by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and is committed on the need for further government support for the broader agricultural sector.