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Artisan Dairy Program

Last Updated: May 10, 2012

In April 2006, Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) announced the launch of its Artisan Cheese Program to encourage new small-scale cheese makers using traditional production methods. However, in November 2011, this program was re-named “Artisan Dairy Program” to recognize the fact that artisan processors in the dairy industry are not limited to just cheese but could include all types of dairy products.

Artisan dairy products, under this new Ontario program, are defined as those products produced primarily in small batches, with particular attention paid to the tradition of the maker’s art.

This program will make available three million litres of milk for the manufacture of Artisan style dairy products in Ontario. Each successful Artisan applicant will be eligible to receive up to 300,000 litres annually for the three years.
Upon completion of the third year of manufacturing, the Artisan processor will be allotted a volume of milk, based on the appropriate allocation policy, equivalent to the greater of the last year’s utilization or the average of the last two-year’s utilization.

This program offers a way for artisan processors to obtain milk for new, innovative dairy products. Individuals interested in the program must first apply to the Canadian Dairy Commission to obtain milk through the Domestic Dairy Product Innovation Program, (DDPIP). If their DDPIP application is denied, they may apply to purchase milk under the Artisan Dairy Program

Industry stakeholders will review the program periodically to determine if it is achieving its objective of offering a way for artisan processors to obtain milk for new, innovative dairy products.

Program Requirements

Individuals wishing to receive milk under this program are required to obtain a Dairy Plant Licence from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), apply to the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) for a Domestic dairy Product Innovation Program contract (DDPIP) and failing to obtain a contract apply to DFO to receive milk under DFO’s Artisan Dairy Program.

1. All new processors must apply to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), for an “Operation of a Plant Licence.”

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Food Inspection Branch
Dairy food Safety
5th Floor NW, 1 Stone Road
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 4Y2

Phone: 519-826-4180
Fax: 519-826-4375
OMAFRA web site | Cheese Making

2. All potential new processors are required to contact the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) in Ottawa and apply for a Domestic Dairy Product Innovation Program (DDPIP) contract. If approved, the DDPIP contract will provide you with access to milk for a 3-year period, after which you will receive a volume of plant supply quota equivalent to your last year’s utilization under the contract of the average of the last two year’s utilization, which ever is greater.

The contact at the Canadian Dairy commission is: Mr. Laval Letourneau Phone: 613-792-2010 | web site

3. Failing to receive a DDPIP contract, individuals may apply to receive milk under DFO’s Artisan Cheese program. To receive milk under this program, applicants must provide DFO with specific information on the product(s) they are planning to manufacture. They will also be required to demonstrate that their product is not available within the geographic region where they wish to establish their plant.

Applications should be forwarded to the attention of:

Dairy Farmers of Ontario
Artisan Dairy Program
6780 Campobello Road
Mississauga, Ontario, L5N 2L8

For further information on Ontario’s Artisan Dairy Program; please direct your inquiries to

A brief outline of the Artisan Dairy Program, its objective and application criteria (17KB PDF)


(All PDF's on this page require Adobe Acrobat Reader)


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