Canadian Dairy Farmers Welcome Government Commitment to Strengthen Industry

OTTAWA, March 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Dairy Farmers of Canada applauds the federal government announcement yesterday to provide a total of $75 million in funding in support of beef and dairy producers under the Slaughter Improvement Program and the Agri-Flexibility Fund.

"The Government of Canada has really stepped up to the plate. This announcement confirms they heard dairy and beef producers' requests for assistance to alleviate the cost disadvantage we face in processing our cattle. We urge them to expedite the delivery of these programs as quickly as possible. The funding will help maintain slaughter capacity in Canada and meet requirements for the disposal of Specified Risk Materials. It's a commitment to innovation in our industry to help develop new technologies to generate revenues from SRM and reduce costs. In the end, all Canadians will benefit from this government action through even better quality and safety standards in the food chain," said Jacques Laforge, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Since 2007, Canada has implemented enhanced feed ban regulations to improve the safety of the food chain and eradicate BSE. Specified Risk Materials (SRM) were completely removed from animal feed, pet food and fertilizers to eliminate the potential for cross-contamination. The regulations also prohibit the exportation of animals, animal products and products of rendering plants without a certificate. A similar feed ban was adopted by the United States but with a shorter list for SRMs, putting Canadian dairy and beef cattle producers at a cost disadvantage.

"We appreciate the support we received from members of parliament from all parties on this issue. We want to acknowledge all the good work they did in hearing our concerns and looking for solutions to easing our cost disadvantages. We urge them to keep supporting the maintenance of slaughter capacity to meet Canadian demand," continued Laforge.

"The government's strong support for supply management in the Speech from the Throne coupled with yesterday's funding announcement will keep Canada's dairy industry on solid ground. These commitments further strengthen our partnership to ensure the viability of our industry," concluded Laforge.

SOURCE Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC)

For further information: For further information: Shelley Crabtree, A/Assistant Director, Policy and Communications, (613) 371-5023

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