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Industry News

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Updated: March 17, 2017
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Grass, Your Health, and Your Cows’ Health

March 17, 2017

On Wednesday, April 12, 2017, the Organic Advisory Committee of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario will present a one-day symposium with the theme “Grass, Your Health, and Your Cows’ Health,” at the Perth East Recreation Complex, 40 Temperance Street in Milverton.

Topics of discussion will include:

  1. practical application of dairy grazing (Tim Prior);
  2. economics of different organic dairy production approaches (Rob Wallbridge); and
  3. “Grass, Your Health, and Your Cows’ Health” by Dr. Arden Nelson.

The day is intended for established, transitioning and interested livestock farmers.

The day will begin with registration at 9 a.m., followed by the presentations beginning at 10 a.m.

Registration information:

  1. an advance registration fee of $20 per person includes a catered hot lunch. Anyone wishing to attend is encouraged to register in advance in order for meal numbers to be firmed up with the caterer.
  2. without advance registration, the admission fee on the day of the Symposium is $30 per person.
  3. advance registration deadline is Friday, April 7, 2017.
  4. contact Marshall King of the Ontario Organic Farmers Cooperative – one of the co-sponsors of the Symposium – at or 519-767-9694, ext. 430.

Additional co-sponsors of the Symposium include Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Farm Credit Canada, Organic Meadow, Harmony Organic and Bio-Ag Consultants and Distributors Inc.

Click here for the agenda.


P5 Quota Announcement

February 16, 2017

Incentive Days Conventional

The P5 Boards have approved one additional incentive day to be issued per month on a non-cumulative basis to conventional producers for the months of March and April 2017.


Incentive Days Organic

No change to incentive days for Ontario and Quebec certified organic shippers whose milk is marketed as organic.


Market Demand

This decision is intended to have P5 milk production completely fill all current demand and help rebuild current butter stocks at the target level of 30,000 tonnes by July 2017. Demand for dairy products continues to be strong while P5 processing capacity continues to be closely monitored.



Journée additionnelle conventionnel

Les Offices de producteurs du P5 ont approuvé une journéeadditionnelle pour les producteurs de lait conventionnel, sur une base non cumulative, pour chacun des mois de mars et avril 2017.


Journée additionnelle biologique

Aucun changement aux journees incitatives pour les producteurs de lait certifiés biologiques de l’Ontario et du Québec dont le lait est commercialisé pour des fins biologiques.


La demande du marché

Cette décision vise à assurer que la production de lait du P5 comble l’ensemble de la demande et aide à rebâtir les inventaires de beurre à un niveau-cible de 30 000 tonnes d`ici juillet 2017. La demande pour les produits laitiers continue d’être forte mais la capacité de transformation continue d’être surveillée de près.



Month/Mois Conventional Only/ Conventionnel seulement Organic Only/ Biologique seulement
February/Février 2017 1 3
March/Mars 2017 1 3
April/Avril 2017 1 3
May/Mai 2017 0 3
June/Juin 2017 0 3
July/Juillet 2017 0 3
August/Août 2017 2 5
September/Septembre 2017 3 6
October/Octobre 2017 3 6
November/Novembre 2017 2 5
December/ Décembre 2017 0 3
January/Janvier 2018 0 3
February/Février 2018 0 3
March/Mars 2018 0 3

Dairy Farmers of Ontario continues its title sponsorship

January 30, 2017

Mississauga, Jan. 27, 2017 – Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) is again the title sponsor of the 2017 Recharge with Milk Men’s Tankard Curling Championships. 

“This is the third year DFO has sponsored the Recharge with Milk Tankard,” says Ralph Dietrich, DFO chair. “We are building on the success of the last couple of years, and we are proud to continue to support grassroots Ontario athletes in the increasingly popular sport of curling.”

The Tankard will be hosted by the West Northumberland Curling Club at the Cobourg Community Centre from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5. The event is held in co-operation with the Ontario Curling Association and the Town of Cobourg.  Ten teams from all of Ontario’s curling zones will play for their chance to represent the province at the Brier. The event will also feature the women’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts Provincial Championships.

The 2017 Recharge with Milk Tankard will attract many spectators to the event and viewers on Title Sports Live, an Internet live streaming sports broadcaster.

“The Ontario Curling Association is pleased to have Dairy Farmers of Ontario as our major sponsor of the Tankard,” says Stephen Chenier, Executive Director. “The athletes and curlers see dairy as an integral part of their daily routines, and the benefits of milk as a post-workout regime are obvious.”

The benefits of drinking chocolate milk as an effective post-workout beverage has been touted by athletes and researchers alike. The combination of carbohydrates, high-quality protein, fluid and electrolytes make chocolate milk an excellent choice for athletes to refuel, repair and recharge. Research further shows 2% milk has significant post-sports rehydration benefits, surpassing sport drinks and water.

To learn more about how milk and chocolate milk rehydrates, refuels and recharges, please visit

Annual meeting wrap up

January 17, 2017

Ontario dairy sector optimistic with expanding demand
By John Grieg
Jan. 16, 2017

Ontario’s dairy industry is in a period of unprecedented growth, with over 15 per cent more quota going to dairy farmers in less than two years.

There are almost certainly more quota increases to come, in order to increase milk production to displace significant volumes of butter now being imported.

“It’s an absolutely great time to be a dairy farmer,” Ralph Dietrich, chair of Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), told the organization during its annual meeting held Wednesday and Thursday in Toronto. “We’re lucky to be in an industry like this at this point in time.”

That’s despite a perception of doom and gloom in supply-managed sectors over impending trade agreements such as the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which DFO general manager Peter Gould put in perspective at the meeting.

The erosion of tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under the CETA agreement will mean about 17,000 tonnes of EU cheese will be allowed into Canada over five years. That’s equivalent to about two per cent of national quota.

Supplemental import permits for butter for 2017 alone are expected to be about 12,000 tonnes — about three per cent of national quota. That butter should all eventually be covered by quota increases and produced in Canada.

The optimistic tone at the meeting comes from a storm of decision-making and renewed consumer confidence in dairy products over the past year, unlike any seen in the history of supply management — and Ontario was in the middle of it.

Ingredient strategy a game-changer

Specifically, the past year saw a strategy developed that reduced the price of milk used to make dairy ingredients in Ontario, in response to a growing mountain of non-fat solids (SNF) with few markets other than giveaway-grade animal feed.

At the same time, ironically, more highly-processed, inexpensive milk protein isolates were being imported.

Without a competitive Canadian supply of milk to use in ingredients, processors have had little impetus to invest in Canada’s aging dryer facilities, which process skim milk powder into a form that can be used to create milk protein isolates.

Dairy farmers had been working since at least 2006 to develop a national ingredients strategy, but that “just didn’t get done,” said Gould, who criticized the number of people involved in trying to negotiate the strategy — about 40 — as “too many.”

Ontario decided in late 2015 to go ahead with its own ingredients strategy, implemented in April 2016. Ontario’s board of directors was criticized from across the country, but stood firm.

By late spring, Manitoba also came on board with an ingredients strategy. The province was in a crisis with a lack of processing capacity. Quota was being reduced to farms and milk was being transported to British Columbia and Quebec.

SaskMilk also came on board, and together the groups forced national negotiations to come to a fairly quick agreement on a national ingredients strategy in July — something many people had said was impossible.

The national strategy has seen several delays in implementation since then, missing August and November deadlines. It is expected to be implemented next month, Gould said.

The ingredients strategy has resulted in a drop in the blend price  — what farmers are paid for certain classes of milk, meaning less income to farmers — although that price improved in late 2016.

The strategy has also secured three significant investments by Canadian processors. Those include a Vitalus-Gay Lea joint venture to make milk ingredients and butter in Winnipeg; an investment by Parmalat in its Winchester, Ont. plant; and a $140 million investment by Gay Lea in processing in Ontario — including a dryer at its Teeswater, Ont. plant.

Both Gould and Dietrich called the ingredients strategy the most significant change for supply management since its creation.

A renewal of demand for dairy products has also helped, stemming from research that showed higher-fat products didn’t have the detrimental health effects previously identified in now-debunked studies.

DFO received support from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission (which regulates marketing boards), provincial Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal and the Dairy Processors Association of Canada. Gould said.

The processors’ association, he added, has given its new CEO Jacques Lefebvre a new and helpful mandate.

Ontario producers, Gould said, were expected in other provinces to rebel against the ingredients strategy — but they did not and in fact were generally supportive of the DFO board.

“There has been a significant measure of conflict, which is not necessarily a bad thing when you end up with a result like the national ingredients strategy, which is an amazing outcome.

“What we’ve done is significant. We brought a commercial solution to an otherwise intransigent problem.”

The ingredients strategy could still face trade action from the U.S., where politicians, particularly in New York state, are already agitating against it.

Challenges with growth

The transition from a legacy industry to one with new investment and momentum will also create new challenges, said Gould, who retires from DFO this year after 36 years with the organization.

The largest such challenge will be how to move the dairy industry from a culture of scrambling to maintain scale, resulting in farm size stagnation, to one where there is the opportunity of growth, and indeed, under supply management, the obligation to supply the market.

That will mean significant choices for farmers, especially those in Ontario and Quebec, where older barns — mostly tie stalls, with limited ability for growth — will be challenged to fill new quota.

The sector does not want to have unfilled market demand, as farmers without the ability to fill new quota sit on 15 or 20 per cent unfilled quota that could be used by other farmers.

“The No. 1 challenge is how to keep up on the production side,” said Gould. “There are literally thousands of dairy farms facing big decisions about whether to expand, rebuild or not.”

That will require “serious dialogue,” Gould said, but questioned whether there’s a venue for such dialogue to take place.

John Greig is a field editor for Glacier FarmMedia based at Ailsa Craig, Ont. Follow him at @jgreig on Twitter.

DFO 2017 Board Executive

January 13, 2017

On January 12th, 2017, Dairy Farmers of Ontario’s Board held a Special Meeting to elect the Board Executive for 2017.

Ralph Dietrich, Board Member Region 11, was re-elected as Chair.

Murray Sherk, Board Member Region 8, was re-elected as Vice-Chair.

Paul Vis, Board Member Region 9, was re-elected as 2nd Vice-Chair.

Graham Lloyd was re-appointed as Secretary to the Board.

Patrick Hop Hing was re-appointed as Treasurer to the Board.

Holiday Office Hours

December 22, 2016

Dairy Farmers of Ontario’s (DFO) head office will be closed between Dec. 26, 2016 to Jan. 2, 2017. Producers requiring DFO services over the holiday period should contact their local field services representative. DFO will be maintaining key services for dairy farmers, transporters and processors during the holiday period. Staff will be available or on call as needed.

Maintaining your laneways during winter

December 20, 2016

Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) has experienced a high number of incidents of milk trucks becoming stuck or sliding off of laneways due to snow and ice buildup over the past week.  DFO is reminding producers to clear their laneways of ice and snow in the coming months.  It ensures timely milk pick up and a safe working environment for milk transporters.

Quota Increase and Incentive Days

November 19, 2016

Quota Increase

The P5 Boards have approved a 2% producer saleable quota increase effective December 1, 2016.

Incentive Days Conventional

Also, 1 additional incentive day will be issued per month on a non-cumulative basis to conventional producers for the months of December 2016, January 2017 and February 2017. 

Incentive Days Organic

To help meet demand for organic milk, 3 additional organic incentive days will be issued per month on a non-cumulative basis from April 2017 to March 2018.  This applies only to Board approved Ontario and Quebec certified organic shippers whose milk is marketed as organic.

Fall Incentive Days Conventional and Organic

All producers will be issued the following incentive days on a non-cumulative basis, of 2 days for August, 3 days for September, 3 days for October and 2 days for November 2017.

The table below provides a summary of all incentive days.

Market Demand

These decisions are intended to increase P5 milk production to completely fill all current demand and rebuild current butter stocks from 13,500 tonnes to the target level of 30,000 tonnes by July 2017.  Demand for dairy products is strong and continues to grow between 3% and 5% annually.

P5 Quota Committee will continue to monitor market trends and production to determine if any further adjustments are required.



Augmentation du quota négociable

Les Offices de producteurs du P5 ont approuvé une augmentation de 2% du quota négociable à partir du 1er décembre 2016.

Journée additionnelle conventionnel

En plus, les Offices de producteurs du P5 ont convenu d’émettre 1 journée additionnelle pour les producteurs de lait conventionnel, sur une base non cumulative, pour chacun des mois de décembre 2016, janvier 2017 et février 2017.

Journée additionnelle biologique

Afin de satisfaire la demande pour le lait biologique, 3 journées additionnelles seront émises par mois, sur une base non cumulative, d’avril 2017 à mars 2018.  Ces journées seront émises pour les producteurs de lait certifiés biologiques de l’Ontario et du Québec dont le lait est commercialisé pour des fins biologiques.

Journée additionnelle pour l’automne

D’autre part, tous les producteurs se verront émettre 2 jours additionnels pour les mois d’août et novembre 2017 et  3 jours additionels pour septembre et octobre 2017.

La demande du marché

Ces décisions visent à accroître la production de lait du P5 afin de combler l’ensemble de la demande et rebâtir les inventaires de beurre, de 13 500 tonnes à un niveau-cible de 30 000 tonnes d`ici juillet 2017. En général, la demande pour les produits laitiers continue d’afficher une croissance de vente entre 3% et 5% par année.

Le comité sur le quota du P5 va continuer de surveiller les tendances de marché et la production, et fournira des mises à jour si des ajustements supplémentaires sont requis.


Month/Mois Conventional Only/ Conventionnel seulement Organic Only/ Biologique seulement
December/Décembre 2016 1 3
January/Janvier 2017 1 3
February/Février 2017 1 3
March/Mars 2017 0 3
April/Avril 2017 0 3
May/Mai 2017 0 3
June/Juin 2017 0 3
July/Juillet 2017 0 3
August/Août 2017 2 5
September/Septembre 2017 3 6
October/Octobre 2017 3 6
November/Novembre 2017 2 5
December/Décembre 2017 0 3
January/Janvier 2018 0 3
February/Février 2018 0 3
March/Mars 2018 0 3

Gay Lea Foods announces investment to transform Canadian dairy industry

November 16, 2016

Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Limited today announced a significant investment of $140 million over four years to establish an innovative, nutrition and nutraceutical-grade dairy ingredients hub in Canada.

This unprecedented investment in dairy processing in Canada delivers on the Co-operative’s mission to transform more Canadian milk by building an innovative and market-driven ingredients business that caters to our customers’ needs.

As a 100 per cent Canadian owned and operated co-operative, Gay Lea Foods is committed to strong, sustainable rural communities where our members and employees live and prosper with their families. Phase one will commence in early 2017, with a $60 million expansion plan in the village of Teeswater in Bruce County, Ontario.

Phase one also includes a $3 million investment to build a Research & Development Centre of Excellence in Hamilton, Ontario. This working laboratory and innovation incubator will be the nexus between R&D and commercialization throughout Gay Lea Foods’ operations, and also service our partners in the dairy, food and health sectors.

The first phase also includes upgrades and expansion at our Toronto area food manufacturing facilities to increase our capabilities and competitiveness, improving cost efficiencies, while working to reduce our environmental footprint.


  • Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Gay Lea Foods is a leader in the Canadian dairy industry and the co-operative sector, with more than 950 employees working in production facilities across Ontario.
  • Gay Lea Foods has been growing steadily, and has made a number of acquisitions in recent years, including Stirling Creamery (2016), Black River Cheese (2016), Hewitt’s Dairy (2014), Salerno (2014) and Ivanhoe Cheese (2008).
  • In October 2016, Gay Lea Foods announced a joint venture with Vitalus Nutrition Inc. to build a new dairy ingredient and butter processing facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Gay Lea Foods also recently acquired a minority interest in Mariposa Dairy Ltd, which produces high quality goat and sheep cheeses using 100 per cent Ontario fresh goat and sheep milk for Canadian and U.S. markets.
  • Teeswater has played a pivotal role in the continuous evolution of the dairy sector in Canada, starting as the home of Canada’s oldest creamery. Teeswater Creamery joined the Gay Lea Foods family in 1981.


“As a dairy farmer and co-operative member owner, I am excited that Gay Lea Foods is driving growth through innovation and the development of new markets that will increase demand for milk from Canadian dairy farms. I am also proud that Gay Lea Foods is once again leading the way by demonstrating that rural Ontario is capable of world class innovation and food manufacturing.”

- Steve Dolson, Chair, Gay Lea Foods

“Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) congratulates and supports Gay Lea Foods in their continued commitment to growing Ontario dairy, through the construction of new, state-of-the-art processing capacity and R&D Centre, to expand markets for Canadian dairy products and ingredients.”

- Ralph Dietrich, Chair, Dairy Farmers of Ontario

“Gay Lea Foods is motivated to shape the Canadian dairy industry of tomorrow while nourishing our farmer-owned co-operative today. Our co-operative is proving that successful and continuous growth as a wholly owned and operating Canadian dairy and food processor is possible. We are pleased to contribute to a growing Canadian economy, creating middle class jobs while sustaining our local communities.”

- Michael Barrett, President and CEO, Gay Lea Foods

Gay Lea Foods Website

Follow Gay Lea Foods (@gayleafoodscoop) on Twitter

Payment options on the quota exchange

November 14, 2016

Starting with the December 2016 quota exchange the payment by deduction option will no longer be available.  The DFO Board made this decision based on the amount of quota expected to be available and the high number of producers not able to cover the full payment of their quota purchase through the deduction option.

Payment options that will remain include payment by cheque, online banking, telephone banking or bank wire transfer.

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