Nfld. & Labrador

No bull: Milk sales are down and N.L. dairy farmers want shoppers to buy local again

Dairy farmers across Newfoundland and Labrador says milk sales are declining to the point of crisis in the industry.

Milk sales have dropped 11 per cent over five years, says Dairy Farmers Newfoundland and Labrador

Crosbie Williams owns and operates Pondview Farms in Goulds and is the vice-chair of Dairy Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador. (Dairy Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador/Submitted)

Dairy farmers across Newfoundland and Labrador are saying milk sales are declining to the point where the industry is nearing a crisis. 

Dairy Farmers Newfoundland and Labrador has launched a No Bull campaign in response to the drop in sales, a trend the organization says is being seen across the country and internationally. 

Milk sales have dropped 11 per cent in N.L. over the past five years, according to DFNL, which says the dairy industry adds about $100 million annually to the provincial economy.

"It means an erosion of our market, so that affects our quota and everything related. Therefore our sales going out of the farm gate are less.… It has a direct impact on the bottom line, and therefore the profitability of our farms," Crosbie Williams, owner of Pondview Farms and vice-chair of DFNL, told CBC Radio's On The Go

Williams said he believes milk sales are slumping because of the province's aging population, and the DFNL believes consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador don't know that locally produced milk is antibiotic- and preservative-free, has no added growth hormones, no additives other than vitamins A and D, and is high in nutrients.

Milk sales are down in Newfoundland and Labrador. Buying local could help fix that, DFNL says. (iStock)

Enter the marketing campaign 

Williams said 100 per cent of the milk in Central Dairies and Scotsburn cartons is produced locally. 

However, he said there are a lot more products in the dairy section of grocery stores today than 11 years ago. A lot of those products, such organic and lactose-free milks, are imported.

"This campaign is to make people aware that they have a local alternative, and we'd certainly appreciate it if they chose local. I mean, local matters," Williams said.

The No Bull campaign will run until the end of the year, with advertising through radio and other media, billboards with nutritional facts, a little comedy and some serious points in hopes of convincing consumers to begin buying local again. 

"We [will] toot our horn and enhance the fact in people's minds that the product we have is second to none in the country," Williams said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from On The Go

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