OTTAWA, Aug. 1, 2017 /CNW

A strong dairy industry and a competitive agricultural sector are vital to Canada's prosperity, creating good jobs, growing the middle class, and bringing high-quality products to the tables of Canadian consumers. Budget 2017 recognizes that agriculture and agri-food is a key growth industry by supporting science, innovation and the overall competitiveness of the sector, to create better opportunities for farmers and Canadians.

Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the fulfillment of a Government of Canadacommitment made on Nov. 10, unveiling details of two programs worth $350 million, aimed at dairy producers and processors.

The programs will help the sector increase productivity and competitiveness and prepare for the implementation of the Canada – European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which will establish greater access for European cheeses into Canada.

The two programs are: the five-year, $250 million Dairy Farm Investment Program and the four-year, $100 million Dairy Processing Investment Fund. For dairy producers, the new program will enable investments such as robotic and other automated systems that improve farm productivity. Similarly, for dairy processors, the new program will support investments in equipment and infrastructure, or provide access to specialized expertise to introduce new products or processes.

Quick Facts

  • The Dairy Farm Investment Program will provide up to $250,000 (per licensed dairy farm) to support cow milk producers in making upgrades to their barn technology and equipment, to improve productivity. The program will support large investments: such as the adoption of robotic milkers and feeding systems; and small investments: such as herd management and barn operation equipment.
  • The Dairy Processing Investment Fund will provide up to $10 million for each capital investment project, such as installing new equipment and infrastructure, or up to $250,000 for each project to access technical, managerial or business expertise. For example, the program could support a cheesemaker's investment in a new processing line that would allow them to increase their production or introduce new varieties of cheese to the market.
  • The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will create jobs, strengthen economic relations and boost Canada's trade with the world's second-largest market.
  • CETA will improve market access for Canada's key agricultural product exports, such as meats, grains, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables, and processed products.

Dairy Farm Investment Program

A five-year (beginning 2017-2018) $250-million program to help Canadian cow's milk producers improve productivity through upgrades to their equipment. All producers of cow's milk – irrespective of the size of their operations, are welcome to apply. This program will cover up to 50 per cent of approved project costs, up to a maximum of $250,000.

Applications from licensed producers will be assessed on a first-come, first-serve basis. The program will strive to support new investments across Canada by aligning program funding with the relative size of the milk quota in each province.

For projects submitted before March 2018, the program offers producers flexibility to seek funding for eligible activities that started on or after November 10, 2016.

The Dairy Farm Investment Program will be accepting applications starting August 22, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

Dairy Processing Investment Fund

A four-year (beginning 2017-2018) $100 million initiative that will provide funding to help the Canadian dairy processing sector make investments to improve productivity and prepare for increased competition in the domestic market as a result of CETA.

Not-for-profit organizations involved in the dairy sector can also apply for access to expertise that will result in benefits to the industry as a whole.

Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Illustration Photo: Milking Robots (credits: Oregon Department of Agriculture / Flickr Creative Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

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