PEI

Dairy quota increase could mean more cows on P.E.I.

Dairy quotas in the Maritimes, Ontario and Quebec are going up five per cent on July 1, and that could mean some Island dairy farms will start planning for big growth.

'It's a welcome impact': Harold MacNevin, chair of the Dairy Farmers of P.E.I.

Some dairy farmers on P.E.I. have already been investing in new facilities. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Dairy quotas in the Maritimes, Ontario and Quebec are going up five per cent on July 1, and that could mean some Island dairy farms will start planning for big growth.

This is the largest one-time increase since the five provinces started managing their milk regionally in the mid-90s.

Demand for butter and butter fat is driving the increase, which is being spurred on by changing dietary recommendations.

Demand for dairy products has been on the rise in recent years, says Harold MacNevin. (Stephanie Brown/CBC News)

"Higher fat products are now considered a healthy part of the diet," said Harold MacNevin, chair of the Dairy Farmers of P.E.I.

MacNevin said growing to meet the new quota will be a big challenge, but one that farmers are glad to face.

"That means you have to have five per cent more cows, five per cent more feed, five per cent more space available in your barn, five per cent more labour," he said.

"It's quite an impact. It's a welcome impact."

Not every farmer is in a position to expand, said MacNevin.

Those farmers will sell their excess quota to other farmers. Some farms could potentially double in size, he said.

With files from Laura Chapin

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