Canadian Dairy Producers are Proud to Partner with Government in Dairy

OTTAWA, Feb. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Producer delegates at Dairy Farmers of Canada's Annual Policy Conference applauded Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz's announcement yesterday that the federal government will invest up to $10 million in dairy research and food safety initiatives.

With dairy producers' contribution of $3 million, a total of $11.7 million will be invested in research into the health and nutritional benefits of dairy products and their sustainable production, including a life cycle assessment of dairy products and improving systems for dairy cattle health and welfare. An additional $995,000 will be invested in dairy producers' Canadian Quality Milk program for on-farm food safety practices.

"This announcement was one more way the government of Canada's supporting the long-term viability of the dairy industry. Canadian dairy producers are pleased to partner with the federal government and universities across the country in the development of the dairy research cluster. It's partnerships like these that stand behind our products, symbolizing our commitment to make sure our milk is healthy, safe and sustainably produced and remains a strong source of pride for all Canadians," said Jacques Laforge, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Under this research cluster, Dairy Farmers of Canada will bring together the best scientific and technological expertise available in universities and research institutions across Canada. It will complement work undertaken in producer-led initiatives like the Canadian Quality Milk Program and the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle, industry standards set for the care of dairy animals.

Delegates also heard from government representatives addressing key priorities for the dairy industry in the year ahead like bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, and an update on policies for the discretionary fortification of food, health claims and food standards.

Dairy producers from across the country also adopted their 2010 Policy Statement giving Dairy Farmers of Canada direction for the year ahead. Among others, a motion was adopted calling for actions to promote more consistency between trade agreements like the WTO and other international treaties. In questioning the direction of the WTO, DFC believes that the current WTO text is contrary to non-trade objectives like the Right to Food. The Board will work with DFC's domestic and international counterparts to promote this concept globally.

"To sum up yesterday's outcome, including the announcement, I think the importance of the strong partnership between producers and this government was reinforced. The success of our agricultural model is built on this partnership and as a result of supply management and the stability it provides, our industry remained steady during a devastating global economic and food crisis. This stability allowed us to extend our partnership to reinvest in programs like nutrition and production research, the way we care for our animals and efforts to minimize the impact of milk production on the environment," concluded Mr. Laforge.

SOURCE Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC)

For further information: For further information: Shelley Crabtree, A/Assistant Director, Policy and Communications, Tel: (613) 236-9997, cell: (613) 371-5023

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