PEI

Dairy Farmers of P.E.I. 'welcoming' of announcement of $1.75B compensation for producers

The chair of the Dairy Farmers of Prince Edward Island is pleased with the announcement of $1.75 billion in compensation for Canadian dairy producers negatively impacted by two trade agreements.

Funding is planned to roll out over 8 years

The compensation is expected to roll out over eight years to nearly 11,000 farmers across the country. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The chair of the Dairy Farmers of Prince Edward Island is pleased with the announcement of $1.75 billion in compensation for Canadian dairy producers.

The federal government is planning to deliver funding to producers negatively impacted by the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, also known as CETA, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP.

"We're certainly welcoming this announcement given that the federal government recognizes the impact to dairy farmers," said Harold MacNevin, chair of the organization.

The compensation is expected to roll out over eight years to nearly 11,000 farmers across the country.

About $345 million of the funding is planned to be paid out in the first year through direct payments that will be based on farmers' production.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau made the announcement Friday morning in Quebec. She said a producer with 80 cows on their farm would expect to receive $28,000 in the first year. 

MacNevin said he thinks the deal is "fair compensation."

'We are getting very frustrated about their comments about supporting the dairy industry and then at the same time, giving away our market,' says MacNevin. (Stephanie Brown/CBC News)

Bibeau also announced the federal government does not plan to make future concessions in trade deals connected with the Canadian dairy industry.

MacNevin said he and the Dairy Farmers of Prince Edward Island plan to "hold them to that comment."

"We are getting very frustrated about their comments about supporting the dairy industry and then at the same time giving away our market," said MacNevin.

'Every producer will get recognized'

The federal government began a compensation fund worth $250 million called the Dairy Farm Investment Program in 2017.

MacNevin said he thinks many Island producers did not get paid through this program because of what he referred to as a "first-come first-served" style of administration.

The $1.75 billion announced Friday will be administered by the Canadian Dairy Commission. The organization is expected to work directly with provincial groups representing dairy producers to deliver the compensation.

"That means that every producer will get recognized and compensated accordingly," said MacNevin.

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About the Author

Sean is a P.E.I.-born journalist splitting his time between Canada's smallest province and Toronto. Email him at sean.young@cbc.ca or find him on Twitter at @seanpatyoung.

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