Wrapping up an eventful 2017

December 21st, 2017

As the year comes to a close, it is my pleasure to take the time to reflect on some of the excitement we have seen at Dairy Farmers of Canada in 2017, the year of Canada 150!

First and foremost, I want to thank Canadian dairy farmers for electing me to represent you as your President in July. It is my great privilege and honour to serve dairy farmers in every province across the country – and, although we continue to face some difficult challenges - I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment so far! After a busy first five months, I am happy to be spending the holidays on my farm and with my family who have been incredibly supportive.

In addition to attending each round of the NAFTA re-negotiations, I have spent my first few months on the job attending AGMs in provinces across the country. As President of DFC, it is critical that I get familiar with the challenges and opportunities within each province, and, perhaps more importantly, to speak with as many of my fellow Canadian dairy producers as I can directly. To those farmers in provinces that I haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet – I can’t wait to meet you! Your concerns are always important, not only to me, but to the entire staff at DFC who work 100% on your behalf.

At DFC, there has been no shortage of excitement throughout this past year. The DFC Board of Directors and staff have been focused on a number of government relations issues, including, but not limited to: NAFTA, TPP-11, the administration of the CETA transition fund, upcoming revisions to the Canada Food Guide, and the planned introduction of Front-of-Package warning labels, and restrictions to marketing to children. Additionally, we continue to work to expand the new DFC certification of origin logo. The ultimate goal is for the logo to appear on every product package that qualifies.

Partnerships with our processor community continue to be a key priority and we seek to further those partnerships and we have been in active discussions with processors of all sizes, other food product partners, retailers and food service.

In addition to these ongoing challenges, there were also many triumphs. We have seen continued and massive investments into our great industry, and we have enjoyed the public support of all parties within government for supply management – and of Canadians themselves, who have rallied around Canadian dairy farmers throughout the NAFTA re-negotiations. Whether it be standing shoulder to shoulder to confront our ongoing challenges in international trade, or working collaboratively to share our concerns with the proposed Healthy Eating Strategy, the main lesson to be learned from 2017 is that as Canadian dairy farmers, we are stronger together. We look forward to continue working in partnership with our provincial members, and all Canadian dairy farmers in 2018 and beyond.

We thank farmers, processors, government, and most of all, the Canadian public, for their continued confidence in our industry.

Be sure to enjoy your 2018 Milk Calendar and continue to cherish our Canada 150 project – Deeply Rooted for a Strong Future.

On behalf of Dairy Farmers of Canada, have a happy holidays! I look forward to everything we can accomplish together in 2018.

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