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THE CHANGING TOOLS IN OUR TOOLBOXBy Roger Boersen, BOARD MEMBER, FOR REGION 10, HURON AND PERTH, DAIRY FARMERS OF ONTARIO Roger Boersen
Dairying has changed a lot since I started milking with my dad in the 70s. We have gone from feeding a cow hay and a little bit of grain and hoping she milks enough to fill the pail, to a precision management system.
This kind of progress is at the crux of innovation, and it means much more than new tools and processes. It is not enough to simply add a new piece of equipment or service on the farm. True innovation comes when the tools are tested and implemented in a comprehensive way, making a positive difference in everyday use. New tools, if not implemented correctly, run the risk of impacting quality, efficiency or profitability.
On our farm, we have seen many innovations and we have worked very hard to implement them in a way that is beneficial for the long term. I started milking 45 cows in a double four parlour, with weigh jars for individual grain feeding. As the herd grew beyond 100 cows, we moved to a TMR, and lost the ability to customize grain on a per-cow basis. The innovation of milking robots, which we began using in 2019, has allowed us to feed our 450 cows on an individual level. The implementation of this technology has allowed more efficient and targeted use of feed, higher production per cow, and fewer over-conditioned animals.
Technical innovation has also advanced genomic testing and breeding philosophies, and we use them on our farm as well. We wanted to use genomic testing on our calves but were concerned about both the benefit to the farm, and the cost. We established a system in our heifer program that combines cross-breeding, culling and sexed semen to give us ample heifer replacement numbers.
When implemented properly, early testing can save $4 per animal, per day in feed costs, which easily pays for the cost of the test. Overlaying animal performance with genomics has moved our genetics forward more rapidly and resulted in a tighter “animal potential” bell curve.
More important than the technological innovation itself is the way in which it is implemented. New technologies are exciting and progressive but if they are not implemented in a way that increases quality, efficiency and profitability, they will not stand the test of time. You can have the biggest toolbox in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it, the tools are useless and expensive.
Technologies may change, but one thing always remains the same: We are still producing nature’s most perfect food.
Innovation strengthens the dairy supply chain. Advances begin on-farm where dairy producers work hand-in-hand with veterinarians and other experts to improve animal health and well-being, while increasing production e iciency and reducing environmental impact. Processors develop new products and packaging to satisfy consumer needs, and then work with retailers to promote them. The end result is the delivery of high-quality milk and dairy products consumers love.
Innovation strengthens the dairy supply chain. Advances begin on-farm where dairy producers work hand-in-hand with veterinarians and other experts to improve animal health and well-being, while increasing production e iciency and reducing environmental impact. Processors develop new products and packaging that satisfy consumer tastes, and then work with retailers to drive demand. The end result is the delivery of high-quality milk and dairy products consumers love.
DAIRY PRODUCT INNOVATION
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC upended life across the globe, from how we work to how we socialize and how we shop.
According to Numerator, which tracks consumer behaviours, nine of 10 consumers say their weekly shopping behaviours have been impacted. Consumers are more interested in eating for better health, cooking at home, and are seeking functional and indulgent foods that can benefit their overall well-being.
“At the same time, shoppers are experiencing pressure when it comes to the prices they are paying at grocery stores with many adjusting certain behaviours to relieve the impact on their budgets,” says Joel Gregoire, Associate Director for Food & Drink, Mintel. “This equates to a consumer base that expects more from their purchases, be it around health, quality of ingredients, flavour innovation, or sustainability.”
Dairy is a broadly entrenched choice for Canadians, and ticks all of these boxes. “In this context, dairy milk will remain the milk of choice for the foreseeable future,” Gregoire says.
A global market intelligence agency, Mintel is a go-to source for analysis of consumers, markets, new products and competitive landscapes that provide perspectives on global and local economies. Here’s a look at their take on innovations in the dairy case –opportunities, trends and what to watch for – in the new postpandemic environment.
At 95 per cent, nearly all Canadians eat cheese. “Cheese is a staple of the Canadian diet to the extent that nearly everyone eats it,” says Gregoire.
Like many other food categories, cheese has benefited overall from the pandemic, with more Canadians spending more time at home and looking for nourishing and indulgent snacks, like cheese. More than a third of Canadian cheese consumers state that they are “eating more cheese now compared to before the start of the pandemic”.
While cheese is popular, it isn’t immune to the impact of increases in food prices and an overall rise in the cost of living. In fact, 49 per cent of Canadians state that “right now [they’re] more willing to sacrifice on quality when it comes to cheese because of rising food prices”. The good news for dairy and cheese producers is that half of consumers are willing to pay a premium for cheese that makes their lives easier, with 49 per cent agreeing “the higher cost of cheese in convenient formats is worth it”.
Versatility is cheese’s biggest asset. The two top cheese formats Canadians eat are rooted in convenience. Sliced (62 per cent) and grated (58 per cent) are the most popular.
Canadian cheese consumers also want to see more local cheeses where they shop. It’s clear that when it comes to what Canadians eat, local matters. An overwhelming 84 per cent of cheese consumers agree that “supermarkets should have a greater range of cheeses from local producers”.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Most Canadians are skeptical that plant-based cheese is as good as dairy cheese. That’s good news for dairy producers.
It’s expected that environmental concerns will increasingly factor into purchase decisions, including cheese. Younger Canadians, primarily, are influenced by concerns around sustainability. Sustainability efforts will need to be communicated in order for cheese to remain relevant with some shoppers.
for Canadians, 11 per cent claim to consume non-dairy spoonable or drinkable varieties. This emergence means dairy producers and yogurt-makers need a plan to address this emerging space.
Canada’s evolving demographic landscape will be important for all categories, including yogurt. Mintel reports immigration will continue to be the key driver of population growth and forecasts show that Asia (including the Middle East) will be the predominant source of that growth over the next 15 years. By the mid-2030s, people from this region will represent more than half of foreign-born Canadians. Yogurt in Canada will need to adapt flavour and format offerings to meet the needs of a changing population.
The pandemic has led Canadians to prioritize health and more specifically, immunity. The result is that yogurt is well-positioned for what will be “the next normal”.
Yogurt is well-positioned to meet a variety of needs – a third of Canadians, and even more younger Canadians, express interest in yogurt with dessert flavours. While Canadians look to snack healthier, they haven’t lost their sweet tooth and yogurt is positioned to offer better-for-you indulgent options.
Dairy yogurt remains dominant, but plant-based options have a following. While dairy-based yogurt remains the option of choice
Consumer interest in new and unfamiliar flavours was heightened as a result of the pandemic, thanks to more in-home cooking. Opportunities for flavoured foods, like butter, have emerged.
Mintel reports butters have a relatively practical and commodified image as being cooking ingredients and aids, but they are also flavour carriers and need to deliver on expectations of taste.
It’s recommended producers innovate with value in mind though, because in a difficult socioeconomic environment, brands will be pressured to balance taste with quality and consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for staples.
Locally sourced ingredients, and labelling accordingly, could futureproof butter (and all dairy formats) from sourcing challenges. They can also be an effective way to communicate quality and how a company cares for its farmers and community.
WHAT MATTERS TO CONSUMERS NOW?
have changed over the last two years, with consumers focused on products with these attributes:
Source: Nielsen IQ
When it comes to ice cream, Mintel reports indulgence is being heightened through decadent flavours and textures.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Ice cream is well known for being an indulgence and a mood booster, and brands are finding new ways to reinforce the treat appeal. For example, Nightfood has created an ice cream, Nightfood Sleep Friendly Cold Brew Decaf Ice Cream, formulated with sleepsupporting ingredients. This innovation meets consumers’ emotional needs and the link to ice cream as a mood booster.
Stratford, ON 519-271-4793 DAIRY
Komoka, ON 519-666-1404 DUNDAS
Seeleys Bay 613-382-7411 NORWELL
Drayton, Woodstock, Lindsay, Brinston 519-638-3535 PERFORMANCE
Keene, ON 705-295-3247
It’s noted that modern lifestyles are elevating stress levels for consumers, and this is generating demand for products that improve mental well-being. Ice cream is well-positioned to help consumers manage their emotional well-being as 54 per cent of U.S. adults agree that indulgent foods can benefits one’s overall health/well-being. Ice cream must deliver pleasure and value, as low price is the second most important influence on purchase after flavour. Packing all of these ice cream attributes into the right package is also important. Consumers are increasingly seeking smaller sized ice cream treats convenient for on-the-go and at-home eating.
SUSTAINABILITY AND ETHICAL CLAIMS
“Issues such as COVID-19 and climate change have made us recognize how connected the world is. Our horizons are now broader and there is a deeper reflection on the ethical and environmental impact of the food we eat, both at a local level and for the good of the
“Issues such as COVID-19 and climate change have made us recognize how connected the world is. Our horizons are now broader and there is a deeper reflection on the ethical and environmental impact of the food we eat, both at a local level and for the good of the planet and its citizens.”—David Faulkner,
Director, Mintel Food & Drink
planet and its citizens,” explains David Faulkner, Director, Mintel Food & Drink.
It’s expected ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) will play a greater role in many consumers’ purchase decisions and companies (including dairy producers) will be called to greater account in how they respond to the planet’s climate emergency.
Opportunities can be found in making the concept of carbon footprint more tangible for consumers. In the next few years, brands, retailers and governments have opportunities to collaborate and create standards that make it easier for consumers to understand environmental claims. Mintel notes sustainably minded consumers will be looking for products that include details about how
agriculture, transport, processing, and other factors contribute to carbon footprint. It’s expected consumers will also want more details about whether offsets or actual reductions in emissions were used to achieve carbon-neutral or negative status.
Mintel also predicts consumers will be looking for tangible, measurable ethical commitments in areas such as animal welfare and fair pay. Detailed ethical measurements will reassure consumers that brands (and producers) are making a difference and reduce the need for consumers to confirm claims with their own research.
MEETING CONSUMER DEMANDS THROUGH INNOVATION
Dairy continues to be a go-to choice for Canadian consumers of all ages. Its familiarity, versatility and health attributes lead the list of reasons to choose dairy. The industry is also conditioned to innovating and meeting the changing tastes and demands of consumers.
“The Canadian dairy industry strives for innovation that ultimately benefits consumers,” says Mathieu Frigon, Dairy Processors Association of Canada President and CEO. “Whether innovation is defined by improved nutritional profile, better sensory properties, enhanced convenience of dairy products, or simply more efficient processes, innovation is driven by the desire to add value for Canadian consumers relative to price. Only through innovation can dairy products meet and exceed the needs and expectations of a changing consumer landscape.”
SPIRITED INNOVATION FOR ONTARIO DAIRY
Vodkow is the only alcoholic beverage in Canada to carry the Blue Cow logoBy Jeanine Moyer
Dairy Distillery, makers of the popular alcoholic beverage, Vodkow, check all the boxes when it comes to keeping pace with consumer trends and demands. The products are sourced from permeate, a byproduct of ultrafiltered milk that wouldn’t otherwise be consumed.
“Vodkow is the first spirit product in Canada with the Blue Cow logo and that’s been a marketing advantage for us,” says Neal McCarten, Co-founder and Marketing Director, Dairy Distillery. Since Vodkow is shelf stable and isn’t considered a food product, the company also has more flexibility selling into other markets.
McCarten and Omid McDonald opened Dairy Distillery in 2018, harnessing their deep respect for dairy farmers, drive to reduce food waste and their environmental footprint, and their entrepreneurial spirit.
The partners perfected a process to convert milk permeate into vodka in collaboration with the University of Ottawa. As the
company capitalizes on what would otherwise be food waste, it is also innovating with the community in mind. Its cream liquor spirits include flavours like maple, chocolate and coffee sourced from local businesses in their hometown of Almonte, ON.
McCarten says the distillery’s customers respond to the uniqueness of the product, locally sourced ingredients including 100 per cent Canadian milk, and social and environmental commitments. Their spirits, vodka and cream liquors, are available in select LCBO stores throughout Ontario and through online sales that ship across Canada and the U.S.
Opening a distillery right before the pandemic was a challenge but the company adapted,
first producing hand sanitizer. Then, as regulations changed, allowing spirits to be sold at farmers’ markets, they were able to capitalize on more direct sales channels. McCarten is a firm believer in sampling, saying customers really like to hear the company’s story and try the product firsthand. With this sales philosophy in mind, the company has established five fulltime pop-up stores in key Ontario retail locations during 2022 holiday season, including Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga and Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke.
With a bottle that reflects its dairy heritage, and combining “the best of dairy with innovation”, the company says it is “creating the future of cream liquor”.
Qualities of a good employee.
Enderby — 250 838-6455
Pacific Dairy Centre Ltd. Chilliwack — 604 852-9020
Lacombe Country — 403 782-6473
Dairy Lane Systems
Leduc — 780 986-5600
Lethbridge Dairy Mart Ltd.
Lethbridge — 888 329-6202
Dairy Lane Systems
Warman — 306 242-5850
Emerald Park — 306 721-6844
MANITOBA / NW ONTARIO
Penner Farm Services Ltd.
Blumenort — 204 326-3781
Thunder Bay – 800 461-9333
Claire Snoddon Farm Machinery
Sunderland — 705 357-3579
Conestogo Agri Systems Inc.
Drayton — 519 638-3022
1 800 461-3022
Lamers Silos Ltd. Ingersoll — 519 485-4578
Lawrence’s Dairy Supply Inc. Moose Creek — 613 538-2559
Seeley’s Bay — 613 382-7411 Brockville — 613 926-2220
McLaren Systems Cobden — 613 646-2062
Aylmer — 519 773-2740
Silver-Tech Systems Inc. Dunnville — 905 981-2350
Atlantic Dairy Tech.
Charlottetown, PE — 902 368-1719
Mactaquac Farm Equip. Ltd.
Mactaquac, NB — 506 363-2340
Sheehy Enterprises Ltd.
Shubenacadie, NS — 902 758-2002
Sussex Farm Supplies
Sussex, NB — 506 433-1699
Celebrating a Love of Milk
In early November, Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) invited Ontarians to celebrate their love for milk at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square. Consumers had the opportunity to join in a celebratory toast to milk at a larger-than-life milk tower, enjoy a free glass of fresh Ontario milk served from a customized vintage trailer with a chocolate chip cookie, and take fun and unique photos at the photo booth and post on social media using #EverybodyMilk and tagging @ontariodairy.
“Our Everybody Milk tower activation was a unique and relevant way to engage consumers, inviting them to declare and share their love for milk in a fun, high-profile setting,” says Julie Granger, Senior Manager, Marketing, DFO.
“EVERYBODY MILK” is is Ontario’s new, integrated marketing campaign inviting everyone to celebrate their love for milk. The campaign leverages high-impact creative to break through and gain consumer attention.
“’Everybody Milk’ is aimed at uncovering consumers’ emotional connection to milk and celebrating that love in a fun and meaningful way with the goal of increasing consumption,” says Rosa Checchia, Chief Marketing Officer, Dairy Farmers of Ontario.
The new creative celebrates the connection we all have with milk in a new way. From a cold glass of milk to ice cream and cheese, it’s a love that can’t be denied. Supported by TV commercials, digital ads, social media content and billboards, the campaign kicked off with an interactive experience at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square in early November and focuses on a simple, core insight: everybody loves milk and 93 per cent of Ontario households purchase it regularly.
The love for milk is universal and the campaign highlights an undeniable passion for it. Consumers are reminded of the prominence of milk in their lives, reinforcing relevancy, versatility and demonstrating the emotional connection with it.
“Everybody Milk” encourages Ontarians to celebrate their love for milk and enables future marketing efforts to integrate with this overarching message.
PUTTING ENERGY INTO INNOVATIONBy Jeanine Moyer
LAURIE STANTON PUTS A LOT OF ENERGY INTO INNOVATION.
In October, Stanton Bros. farm became Ontario’s first agriculture-based renewable natural gas (RNG) supplier, to connect with the Enbridge Gas distribution network.
“It’s a complex process that has taken us years of learning experience through other biodigester projects to get here, but we’re committed to being good neighbours, reducing our impact on the climate and closing the environmental loop by turning waste into energy,” says Stanton. “We’re proud of how far we’ve come.”
The Stanton family has spent more than 30 years improving their Ilderton, ON, farm’s environmental footprint through innovation. This latest project, a renewable natural gas plant that converts manure and organic waste into fuel, was launched in fall 2021. Producing methane from an on-farm biodigester, the farm is on track to produce more than three million cubic metres of renewable natural gas each year, enough energy to heat more than 1,300 homes. The gas, a carbon-neutral fuel, is transported from the farm via pipeline and distributed through the Enbridge network.
Stanton Bros. Ltd. is a fifth-generation Ontario dairy farm milking 950 Holsteins in a double-30 herringbone system, cropping 2,000 acres, and operating two additional businesses: Stanton Genetics (managing a total herd of 3,000 Holsteins) and Stanton Renewable Energy. Originally located in the Hyde Park area of London, ON, a growing urban population and housing development pressure created challenges, driving the move to Ilderton in 1988. The family built a new barn in 2005 where they’ve grown the business into the carbon-negative dairy operation it is today.
Over the years, Stanton has built three biodigesters. The first was built in 2007 and Stanton admits it wasn’t a successful project. He says it had too many limitations, was only designed to digest manure and didn’t have the capacity the farm required. “We walked away from it, taking what we learned and built a new digestor,” he says.
In 2017, Stanton built a new biodigester with the capacity to manage manure from his farm and organic waste from surrounding food and
“It’s a complex process that has taken us years of learning experience through other biodigester projects to get here, but we’re committed to being good neighbours, reducing our impact on the climate and closing the environmental loop by turning waste into energy. We’re proud of how far we’ve come.”
—Laurie Stanton, producer, Ilderton, ON
poultry processing plants. The digester is permitted to take 60,000 tonnes of organic matter and produces 750 kW of electricity. The second digestor was also a success, but Stanton was bothered by the fact that any excess methane produced needed to be burned by flares. He felt it was a waste to burn the methane, which could otherwise be harnessed and turned into energy. That’s when he turned his attention to RNG. “I had read some articles about similar projects in the U.S., so I did some research. It turned out we had all the necessary pieces: a pipeline that ran outside the farm gate, a heat source (methane) and manure and organics to feed the digester,” explains Stanton.
Looking back on the creation of the RNG plant Stanton says, “we didn’t realize we were trailblazing as much as we were.” In addition to building a third digestor and a clean-up facility to transition the raw biogas into pipeline-quality RNG, securing a contract to sell the RNG, sourcing a consistent supply of organic materials to fuel the digestor, and hiring skilled employees to manage the system, Stanton also had to navigate municipal, provincial and federal red tape. “This was the first on-farm RNG plant in the country and while we had tremendous support from our local officials and government, there were some steps
along the process that were frustrating,” he admits.
With an estimated total project cost of $12 million, Stanton’s first step was securing financing and a contract from Fortis Inc. to sell the RNG. Like many new ventures, Stanton felt he needed security in the form of a sales contract to undertake the construction. “I wanted to be able to sleep at night,” he confesses.
In practice, the biodigesters are fueled by the farm’s manure and organic waste, diverting 60,000 tonnes of organic waste annually from landfills and capturing more than 11,000 tonnes of methane. The system was custom-designed for the Stanton farm. The biogas produced contains about a 65 per cent mix of methane and carbon dioxide and must undergo a cleaning process to bring it up to a 98 per cent methane standard before it flows into the natural gas distribution system. Stanton relies on a fulltime employee to manage the digestors and is a shareholder in a company that sources, transports and tests organic materials for quality and compliance.
“Enbridge commends Stanton Farms for its environmental leadership and we are pleased to support this development by connecting an RNG producer to the energy grid, and in the end, to consumers,” says Steven Jelich, Director of Southwest Region Operations, Enbridge Gas. “This
tremendous made-in-Ontario opportunity that agri-RNG presents will divert emissions and enable continued provisions of affordable, reliable, and low-carbon energy for increasing energy needs, while stimulating economic growth.”
Stanton has established 20-year contracts for the sale of everything he produces from the two biodigesters – electricity to the grid and RNG to the pipeline. In fact, the RNG is transported and stored in B.C. and Stanton is required to pay for the use of the pipeline to get it there.
He is often consulted by fellow producers about his electricity and RNG operations. He’s happy to answer questions and share his experiences, helping others establish their own approach to on-farm
“We’re committed to being good neighbours, reducing our impact on the climate and closing the environmental loop by turning waste into energy.”
environmental sustainability. In fact, another on-farm dairy biodigester is currently being built in Aylmer, ON, to produce RNG and Stanton has been involved in the consultation process.
Stanton’s advice to any producer always begins with building a team of trusted partners. He partnered with Dairy Lane Systems to build the RNG plant – they helped build the digestor and designed the system – incorporating opportunities for expansion and new ideas into the layout.
“Work with smart people who you trust and respect,” says Stanton, who also advises farmers not to choose the cheapest option. “Reputation and qualifications are essential to these types of projects.”
Stanton cautions anyone considering building a biodigester to generate energy, to do their due diligence in research, thoroughly crunch the financials and be prepared for learning curves. “I learned a lot from building our first digester, mostly what not to do,” he explains. Stanton
The Stanton farm produces more more than three million cubic metres of renewable natural gas each year, enough to heat more than 1,300 homes.
supply of organic materials, like manure, but additional sources like food and organic products can be added to the operation. And finally, producers need to be aware of regulations governing biodigesters and energy generation. In many cases, building these on-farm systems is still novel, so working with local municipalities to educate them on the requirements and benefits may be necessary.
“I expect our farm is carbonnegative, something we’re all very proud of. Maybe there’s a new marketing opportunity there for renewable milk, but either way, we’re pleased to contribute to reducing our environmental footprint.”
also says the greatest challenge for any farmer is lining up all the pieces to make a project work; for example, a RNG plant obviously needs access to a natural gas pipeline. Biodigesters require a steady
With the Canadian dairy industry focused on reaching Net-Zero by 2050, Stanton Bros. Ltd. recognizes just one piece of a large puzzle. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, diverting methane that could otherwise harm the ozone into carbon-neutral energy and contributing to the betterment of our environment,” says Stanton who hasn’t skipped a beat in his innovative approach to reducing the farm’s environmental impact. Today, he’s working on plans to expand the use of organics in the digesters to divert even more waste from landfills. He’s also keeping a close—Laurie Stanton
eye on related business opportunities, like carbon credits, and hopes to conduct an environmental analysis of the farm to determine its true environmental impact.
“I expect our farm is carbon-negative, something we’re all very proud of,” he says. “Maybe there’s a new marketing opportunity there for renewable milk, but either way, we’re pleased to contribute to reducing our environmental footprint.”
DIGITAL INNOVATION IS REVOLUTIONIZING VETERINARY CAREBy Katie Duncan
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY and smartphones are positively impacting preventative medicine, fuelling progress in the Canadian dairy industry. It’s all about facilitating data, connections and rapid communications.
Smartphones help veterinarians access real-time data from wearable sensors and view rapid test results for infectious diseases. They enable instant conversations between mentors and mentees and facilitate consultations between producers and their veterinarians. The possibilities continue to grow as the technology evolves.
“Having on-the-go access to data has pushed our practice to 80 cent preventative medicine versus curative,” says Dr. Jodi Wallace, a veterinarian and dairy farmer of a 100-cow herd in Howick, QC. “That proactive nature fosters better animal welfare by preventing animals from becoming sick and gives our practice the ability to manage whole herd health.”
Smartphones and tablets are a huge difference-maker in dairy veterinary medicine, giving practitioners like Daniel Guevara-Mann, Ontario Veterinary College student, access to on-the-go data transmitted from on-farm tech like wearable devices, dairy management apps and robotic milking systems. These innovations facilitate better connections between dairy farmers and veterinarians, promoting preventative medicine and whole herd health. Photo Credit: Katherine Perry
Dr. Reg Clinton, a veterinary partner at Kirkton Veterinary Services in St. Mary’s, ON, agrees with Wallace regarding the power of smartphones, saying the growth in technology has enabled deeper mentorship of young producers. Constant connectivity builds confidence in producers to treat straightforward cases themselves, with support, he adds.
“Smartphone innovation has allowed veterinarians and producers to have that 10,000-foot view of a herd, but also deal with what’s six feet in front of them on the farm on any given day,” says Clinton.
Connectivity to data also helps veterinarians care more effectively and proactively for their patients. The Lactanet DairyComp 305 application, and others like it, are invaluable for herd management, says Dr. Henry Ceelen, who was born and raised on a dairy farm in Dundas County before being one of the first graduates of the Dairy Health Management Program at Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). As a practicing veterinarian practicing for 40 years and partner at Rideau St. Lawrence Veterinary Services near Kemptville, ON, Ceelen believes apps make it easy to track health information including milk production, health, reproduction, genetics, and heifer raising right in the barn. Apps, he adds, have elevated the relationship between producers and veterinarians, recognizing the key partnership in herd management.
“DairyComp 305 has helped veterinarians and producers get access to data for precise and intricate analysis and it’s made a
huge difference,” says Ceelen. “We’re not dealing with subjective evaluations anymore.”
With technological advancements comes an increased need for veterinarian-producer partnerships.
“Dairy veterinary medicine is more connected and data-fed than ever before, requiring new analytical skills from veterinarians and new graduates entering the profession,” says Dr. Stephen LeBlanc, Director of Dairy at Guelph and Professor at OVC, University of Guelph. “This has required veterinarians to improve their communication skills, with less emphasis on providing hands-on first aid for cows.”
Combined with other reproduction technologies, activity monitors allow the reproductive cycles of heifers to be tracked precisely. “On many farms, heifers are housed away from the milking herd, resulting in missed heats,” says Ceelen. “Activity monitoring systems have been game-changers for reproduction in heifers, making possible pregnancy rates greater than 30 per cent with conception rates greater than 60 per cent. Combined with the advancements in nutrition that allow heifers to grow to breeding size sooner, successful calving at 21 to 22 months is being achieved on many dairy farms today.”
Wearable activity monitors also help dairy farmers like Wallace reduce the need for scanning the herd visually. Monitors sort cows that need to be checked for a variety of reasons, minimizing
disruption to cows’ routines and giving Wallace more time to dedicate to other farm tasks.
Looking to innovations on the horizon of dairy veterinary medicine, Wallace is excited for the future of artificial intelligence (AI) on farms and the impact it will have on labour shortages.
“New AI technology will be used to identify modified behaviours in cows with disease or lameness,” Wallace says. “Early lameness
“Having on-the-go access to data has pushed our practice to 80 cent preventative medicine versus curative. That proactive nature fosters better animal welfare by preventing animals from becoming sick and gives our practice the ability to manage whole herd health.”Jodi Wallace, veterinarian and dairy farmer, Howick, QC
detection, in particular, is a challenge for the industry and will be a big gain for animal welfare.”
Ceelen and Clinton agree we are only scratching the surface in terms of realizing the impact data collection and interpretation will have on the industry over the next decade.
“A hot topic in veterinary medicine right now is the huge amount of data being generated on-farm from sensors, robotic milking systems, and new AI technologies,” says Clinton. “Producers and veterinarians need a way to sift through that data to get meaningful information to promote efficiency of production, sustainability, and how animal welfare and wellness is delivered. Veterinarians and producers together have to interpret that data and use it to improve animal performance.”
“It’s an exciting time with the number and intensity of young people, particularly producers, who are entering the industry,” adds Clinton. “They are keen and want to do a good job of food production. They have a tireless approach to their roles, with a willingness to adopt new technology into their personal and professional lives.”
Katie Duncan is a Communications Specialist at Ontario Veterinary College.
AGROPUR WINS WITH PACKAGING INNOVATION
AGROPUR’S OKA LINE OF CHEESE has been awarded a Packaging distinction for its new box.
The box, now 100 per cent recyclable, uses 43 per cent less cardboard than its predecessor, a feature consumers are demanding. Side openings allow the cheese to age through the box and continue to develop flavour.
“Congratulations to all of our teams who participated in this project, helping Agropur realize its vision of sustainable development,” says Antoine Binette-Pierre, Corporate Communications Coordinator, Agropur.
The award was presented by the Quebec Food Processing Council (CTAQ) at its 2022 Food Innovation Prize competition in Montreal in November.
CTAQ says the honours reward food companies who stand out for their “exceptional innovation and creativity”. Submissions were evaluated by a jury of food industry professionals.
RISING DAIRY STARS SHINE IN GROCERY AND CPG
Three young leaders recognized with Generation Next Awards
THREE YOUNG LEADERS in dairy processing were recently recognized with Generation Next Awards from Canadian Grocer. The awards were presented in November at GroceryConnex, an event for Canadian grocery executives. The awards, now in their 12th year, go to suppliers and retailers under 40 who demonstrate leadership, a commitment to working in grocery, and involvement in the industry or their community. Dairy received three of 22 awards.
LFI is proud to have developed an innovative, robust system that ties right into your robot, feeding the most palatable liquid molasses mix, having your cows coming back for more, time and time again.
LFI is proud to have developed an innovative, robust system that ties right into your robot, feeding the most palatable liquid molasses mix, having your cows coming back for more, time and time again.
LFI is proud to have developed an innovative, robust system that ties right into your robot, feeding the most palatable liquid molasses mix, having your cows coming back for more, time and
> Increases visits which is directly correlated to milk production
> Increases visits which is directly correlated to milk production
> Follows your feed table according to production and / or days in milk
> follows your feed table according to production and / or days in milk
Increases visits which is directly correlated to milk production follows your feed table according to production and / or days in milk
HOME PREGNANCY TEST KITS ARE A MODERN INNOVATION, having only been available to women for the last 40 years. Now, a similar test will offer farmers an alternative to in-person pregnancy diagnosis by the veterinarian.
IDEXX Laboratories’ Alertys OnFarm Pregnancy Test can be used cowside to determine pregnancy as early as 28 days post-breeding and 70 days post-calving. Results are available in five to 20 minutes.
Farmers must draw a vial of blood and drop it onto a test cassette, similar to a rapid COVID test. Alertys measures pregnancyassociated glycoproteins (PAGs), which only are produced in the presence of an embryo or fetus. Just like the human test, pregnancy is indicated with a reading of two pink lines.
IDEXX says the test is easier to run than alternative methods. “Since the method just requires taking a blood sample it’s less stressful for cows and farmers, allowing them to identify open animals in 20 minutes or less, reducing cow lock-up time without specialized labour,” says Brenda Halkias, Global Lead of Public Relations.
“I think technology like this will establish itself and grow. I would like to see more validation data,” says Stephen LeBlanc, Professor, Population Medicine and Director, Dairy at Guelph – The Centre for Dairy Research & Innovation, University of Guelph.
While the basic technology has been around for many years, first as a send-out blood test, and now also as a milk-based test offered by Lactanet, LeBlanc says this test is the latest generation and moves it to simpler on-farm use.
“There is economic value in identifying non-pregnant cows as soon as accurately possible to ensure timely re-breeding. There are innovations in chemical tests for blood and milk, and in ultrasound technology to pursue this goal.”
While the test is a big step forward, it may not yet be a revolution as the cost per test is greater than a vet diagnosis, LeBlanc says, figuring the cost of the test and supplies are approximately $14, versus $6 to $10 per veterinary exam. He notes that examination by veterinarians provide additional information for management of open cows and sees the test complementing, rather than replacing veterinary examinations.
As with any new innovation, economies of scale should bring prices down. Until then, the test gives producers yet another tool in the reproductive management puzzle.
DAIRY TRADESHOWS HIGHLIGHT NEW INNOVATIONS
GEA - AutoDry
BIENNIAL LIVESTOCK HUSBANDRY SHOW,
EuroTier, quenched the thirst of dairy producers seeking the latest technology and innovations for their farms.
Held in Hanover, Germany, the show, organized by the DLG (German Farmers Association), hosted 1,700 exhibitors from November 15 to 18. This is the first time EuroTier has been held since 2018 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers say more than 106,000 visitors from 141 countries attended.
In the build-up to the big event DLG presented four gold medal awards and 14 silver medal awards for new products, many of which pertain to dairy.
Dairy equipment specialist GEA won gold for its AutoDry herd management software system. The system promotes a more natural method of drying cows off while reducing the use of antibiotics. The AutoDry function is activated individually for each cow about 10 days before the dry off date. In the following period, an algorithm calculates how early the milking cluster should be removed. Each day, the milking unit is removed a little earlier, triggering the natural regression of the mammary gland, gently reducing milk production. Compared to conventional methods such as restricting feeding, reducing the number of milkings per day or ending lactation abruptly, the software module reduces farmer workload and is better for the cow.
Siliconform - Stimulor StressLess
Cows with large teats often suffer stress when teat cup liners are too tight when milking. With its wave shaped design, the Stimulor StressLess from Siliconform enables teats of different sizes to be milked using the same teat cup liner. The new, wave-shaped design of the lip responds to the difference in pressure in the teat cup liner and allows outside air to flow in. This prevents an excessively high vacuum, delays teat cup ascent and reduces tissue stress. In the same way, the wave-shaped structure regulates or closes again at the right point, keeping the head vacuum stable at an ideal level in order to hold the cup on the udder. This prevents undesired air ingress or the cups from falling off.
Hanskamp - AgroTech BeddingCleaner
Pulled by a tractor, the BeddingCleaner cleans the bedding from cow barns. The bedding material is sieved using a sieve mat, after which non-contaminated bedding drops back into the barn. Soiled bedding is easily collected by the mounting and transported into the integrated storage bunker.
Bedding material remains cleaner and drier, and can be used for longer periods.
Cowhouse International - Dreamstall
Adding comfort to cow housing, the Dreamstall cubicle bar enables cows to stand freely in the cubicles and to move more naturally. The new cubicle design forgoes the classic neck tube and dividing bars. The neck tube is replaced by two flexible, spherical pieces that guide the standing cow’s shoulder area. This enables the cow to stand freely in a “gap” and with her head raised. Conventional dividing bars are replaced by two horizontal, flexible frames that guide the standing cow to a central standing position.
Forster Technik - Clean and Fill Station
Cleaning out large, calf milk feeders can be a laborious task but the Clean and Fill Station from Forster Technik hopes to make it easier. It enables the mobile milk tank to be connected using a few steps. The cleaning program runs automatically and cleans all surfaces. Another innovation, the
Lakto Hayvancilik - Laktowash
Laktowash is a cleaning unit for mobile bucket milking systems that thoroughly cleans all surfaces which the milk comes into contact with. The mobile milking unit is connected to Laktowash using a simple adapter over the bucket lid. The vacuum pump fitted in the milking unit ensures the required turbulence while Laktowash runs through a pre-specified cleaning and disinfection cycle, ensuring the milking cluster and milk can are thoroughly cleaned. At the end of each washing process, Laktowash collects the remaining fluid in the bucket and pumps it away.
WORLD DAIRY EXPO TECH SPOTLIGHT 2022 BRINGS NEW PRODUCTS TO LIGHT
For the third consecutive year, the World Dairy Expo Tech Spotlight highlighted new ideas and innovations entering the global dairy industry. The event was hosted in September both online and in person in Madison, WI, where companies formally presented their products and services to dairy producers around the globe at World Dairy Expo.
The spotlight brought together startup dairy technology companies and dairy farmers, allowing them to meet virtually or face-to-face.
OTHER DAIRY TECHNOLOGY
Hanskamp - CowToilet
The CowToilet is an automatic and voluntary urination system that collects urine directly from the cow, separately from feces, to ensure both can be properly dealt with. Because the urine does not come into contact with the feces, Hanskamp says considerably less ammonia is formed, making the CowToilet a solution for emissions reduction. When a cow visits the walkthrough station, eats her pellets, a reservoir moves up and down behind her, stimulating the nerve and causing her to urinate. The urine is then collected in a reservoir and pumped out and stored separately. The CowToilet cubicle can be placed in any dairy barn.
“All the innovations selected propose practical solutions that solve critical problems for dairy producers and as a result help them maximize efficiencies and increase profitability,” says Aidan Connolly, President, AgriTech Capital, which hosted the event. “This was an extraordinary opportunity for them to show their products in action.”
Both the virtual and in-person components of the event included two parts: a showcase of the innovations followed by a panel discussion with industry experts Jeffrey Bewley of Cowfocused.com & Professor at Western Kentucky University; Michael Hutjens, Professor of Animal Sciences at University of Illinois; and Julio Giordana, Associate Professor at Cornell University.
Ever.Ag, Labby Inc., milc group, Nedap Livestock Management, and smaXtec Inc. were among the exhibiting companies participating, while CattleEye, EIO Diagnostics and Milk Moovement joined the virtual session.
Each startup featured digitally based technology for the dairy industry such as robots, cameras, or sensors, and addressed specific needs identified by producers like feed bunk management, cow behaviour monitoring, cow health, milk quality, manure treatment, and labour efficiencies.
“These technologies and those found throughout the tradeshow at World Dairy Expo, can help dairy producers in many aspects on the farm,” says Laura Herschleb, World Dairy Expo General Manager.
GEA - DairyFeed F4500
GEA’s DairyFeed F4500 feeding robot operates on sensor technology and can handle herds of up to 300 cows. It runs on electricity or can be recharged. No major reconstruction on the farm is needed for installation and the feed bunkers can be easily positioned and moved as required. Installation includes mapping of the farm with the help of laser scanners, including the definition of reference points and the driving route. Once the bunkers have been filled, the robot accurately weighs the optimum mix for each group of animals including additives, blends them, and feeds them at the desired times.
Faresin - Leader PF3
Italian company, Faresin Industries, launched its three-auger mixer wagon designed for large livestock farms of more than 1,000 head. The wagon is available in various capacities and three steered axles. Hydraulic steering on all axles reduces manoeuvring space in small barns. Mixing and feeding can be carried out automatically as the new system connects with all of the devices required starting from the recipe, and programs all its activities according to the raw materials that are loaded.
AN EASIER WAY TO TREAT BRD
With florfenicol and meloxicam combined into a single shot Zeleris is the simple way to get your cattle back on the road to recovery.
GEA DairyRobot R9500
R.M. Matheson Farms Ltd., Embro, ON Scott, Carley and Ian Matheson are a second-generation family farm. They milk around 50 cows with a single GEA R9500 robot.
‘‘ Since we have moved to the new GEA robot barn, the overall herd is healthier and the somatic cell count has gone down quite significantly. We were always above 200 thousand before and now we are anywhere from 70 to 120 thousand. ’’
We chose to go with GEA because we liked the pit design allowing us to go down and manually attach if we want and to perform dry cow treatment or treat foot problems.
Pacific Dairy Centre Ltd.
Chilliwack — 604 852-9020
Dairy Lane Systems
Leduc — 780 986-5600
Visit us online at: GEA.com/canada
The GEA dealer has been great for us. They toured us through a couple of different barns, they assisted us all the way and designed a barn that was right for us.
Lethbridge Dairy Mart Ltd.
Lethbridge — 888 329-6202
Dairy Lane Systems
Warman — 306 242-5850
Emerald Park — 306 721-6844
Conestogo Agri Systems Inc.
Alma — 519 638-3022
Dairy Lane Systems
Komoka — 519 666-1404
Lawrence’s Dairy Supply Inc.
Moose Creek — 613 538-2559
McCann Farm Automation Ltd.
Seeley’s Bay — 613 382-7411
Performance Dairy Centre Inc.
Embro — 519 423-9119
Wood’s Dairy Source Keene 705 295-3247
Sheehy Entreprises Ltd.
Shubenacadie, NS — 902 758-2002
Lower Queensbury, NB — 506-478-4878
Designed to prevent liquid build up and create an even cleaner, hygienic surface, all while increasing traction and grip to increase the confidence and foot health of your cows. The same legendary product, but even better for your cows.by
BIG DATA, BIG OPPORTUNITIES AS DAIRY GOES DIGITALBy Krisy Gashler
WHEN FARMERS ADOPT NEW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES, it affects far more than just their bottom lines: It can impact a web of relationships – including between farmers and workers, banks, insurance companies, veterinarians, nutritionists, and cheese and yogurt companies.
All of this raises questions about who owns the data, who has access to it, and how it can be used.
A new project, “Big Data on the Dairy Farm: Relational Transformations Across Agricultural Occupations and Organizations with the Rise of Digital Technologies,” has been awarded $1.2 million by the National Science Foundation’s Human-Centered Computing program to study this topic.
The three-year project is led by Diane Bailey, Professor of Communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Director of the Cornell Institute for Digital Agriculture; Julio Giordano, Associate Professor of Animal Science, CALS; and colleagues at Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“Big data transformed many industries in the 1990s and 2000s to streamline internal business processes and optimize supply chains,” Bailey says “but that type of transformation is just beginning to occur in many areas of farming, prompted by the generation and collection of huge amounts of new data about crops, livestock, soil, and other farm entities. We want to understand how the digital technologies
that collect, share, analyze and display these data are transforming not just farmers’ work and identity and knowledge, but also the entire organizational ecosystem around farming.”
Digital agriculture involves the integration of physical technologies, such as robots, drones and sensors, as well as advanced modeling of biology, systems engineering and economics in agriculture. It is a growing industry Grand View Research says will be worth $12.9 billion by 2027. New research has found that 87 per cent of agriculture businesses report using artificial intelligence technologies.
These kinds of technologies in farming can bestow benefits, such as higher milk production and better crop yields, but they also have the potential to negatively impact relationships in unexpected ways, Bailey says.
“It’s like the wild west of data out there: Everyone’s trying to make a name for themselves and find a spot in this burgeoning industry,” Bailey says. “Suddenly, we have this whole data ecosystem of farmers, cows, barns, milking parlors, third-party vendors and so on. Each wants to use this data to optimize their own operations. How do all of these technological innovations affect the relationships between these people and organizations,
and ultimately, how do they impact the farmer and the cows?”
“It’s like the wild west of data out there: Everyone’s trying to make a name for themselves and find a spot in this burgeoning industry.”
—Diane Bailey, Professor, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Director of the Cornell Institute for Digital Agriculture
To examine how these relationships affect cows and farmers, this project will leverage Giordano’s research in predictive modelling of cow health, reproduction and economics with data from digital tools. Giordano collects data from wearable and non-wearable sensors that monitor every aspect of animal behaviour, physiology and performance, then creates models using that aggregated data – as well as analytics techniques, such as machine learning – to automate animal management tasks and decision-making.
“Technologies for monitoring and managing cows for improved health, reproduction, well-being and performance are transforming dairy production,” Giordano says. “In this project, we will explore how the web of relationships that governs availability of data for modelling affects the performance of predictive models under real-world conditions.”
In the first year of the study, researchers will conduct fieldwork at 10 farms in New York and California, observing how work is done and conducting interviews with farm owners and employees. The study will expand to 20 farms in the second year and will include visits and interviews with third-party vendors, data aggregators, veterinarians, nutritionists, bankers, cheese and yogurt companies, and others.
In the third year, the data will be analyzed, and models built and tested to explain how the use of digital technologies is transforming dairy farming and, in turn, how dairy farming practices shape data models and modeling.
“While our primary goal is to inform the dairy industry,” Bailey says, “we hope that our work will contribute to understanding the larger picture of how digitization and digital transformation are impacting the changing nature of work and management more generally.”
Krisy Gashler is a writer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University.
Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto
Registration details available on www.milk.org
MANAGING FEED THROUGH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
A Scandinavian case studyBy Chris McCullough
Barns fitted with 3D cameras in these boxes use artificial intelligence to identify cows, estimate their weight and quantify how much they eat.
CONSUMER PRESSURE IS MOUNTING on farmers to produce food more efficiently and with less greenhouse gases while ensuring animal welfare stays at the top of the agenda.
And down the supply chain, food processors and retailers are all looking for ways to improve or change some processes while maintaining profitability on this efficiency drive.
The main questions focus on how agriculture can become even more feed-efficient and climate-friendly.
Around 60 to 70 per cent of the variable costs on a dairy or beef farm relate to feeding the cows. On average, six per cent of a cow’s energy is spent on producing methane rather than milk but this varies from two to 12 per cent depending on how efficient the cow is in converting feed into milk.
To improve feeding efficiency and reduce the global milk and meat production emissions, Denmark-based VikingGenetics has developed a Cattle Feed Intake System (CFIT), where the feed intake of individual cows on commercial farms can be monitored by
3D cameras. The bovine genetics company has spent more than a decade on data collection and R&D in this field.
The information is being collected to create what it terms a Saved Feed Index, which was launched last year. Data is currently being collected from more than 7,000 cows on 20 farms and includes milking herds using genetics from the company’s breeding programs in Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
The index will provide a genetic measure of each bull’s ability to transmit metabolic efficiency to his progeny as well as other traits like his daughter’s size.
Cows are monitored throughout lactation, without disturbing the daily routine or natural behaviour.
HOW TO QUANTIFY THE AMOUNT OF FEED
The 3D cameras and artificial intelligence identify the cows at the barn, estimate their weight and quantify what they eat. Each cow
Barns fitted with 3D cameras that monitor cows are helping dairy and beef producers save feed costs, reduce climate impact and improve animal welfare. The data generated creates a new Saved Feed Index trait on sires which has potential to save an estimated 740 thousand tonnes of CO2 per year for farmers, retailers and milk processors.
is identified from pictures of its back, with cameras recording each cow’s distinct pattern of colours and body shape.
To quantify the amount of feed that each cow consumes during a day, the cameras take pictures of the surface of the feed: one picture before the cow goes to eat, and one after she leaves. By analyzing the two images, the CFIT technology helps the farmer quantify the amount of feed that the cow consumes 24/7, year-round.
HOW EFFICIENT IS EACH COW?
“The new Saved Feed Index shows you how efficient each cow is in turning feed into milk,” says David Stenkaer Ravnkilde, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at VikingGenetics. Data from the Nordic farms tested show more than 200 Euros per cow, per year, can be saved when looking at the most efficient versus the least efficient cows. Two cows with the same milk yield can have a difference in feed intake of more than 1.2 tons dry matter intake (DMI). This has a major impact on the farm’s bottom line.
“By using the Saved Feed Index, a farmer can find out which bulls will bring the best performing and most climate-friendly cows. This will impact not only the farmer’s bottom line, but also the farm’s carbon footprint and the animal welfare because cows that feed correctly live longer, thrive better and yield more milk,” he says.
According to an Arla Foods report, a cow’s digestion and feed account for more than 80 per cent of on-farm emissions so by improving the cow’s feed efficiency, emissions can be reduced.
“For us, it makes a lot of sense to be part of the solution and contribute our know-how to this crucial effort,” says Stenkaer Ravnkilde.
out design that allows for better control and access to the front hooves. It also comes with swing out sides on each side creating a large opening for a large work area to make it much easier to reach those tough to access spots.
“By using the Saved Feed Index, a farmer can find out which bulls will bring the best performing and most climatefriendly cows.”
—David Stenkaer Ravnkilde, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, VikingGenetics
When it comes to agriculture, we get it.
For over 190 years, Scotiabank has been helping farmers and agri-businesses grow and prosper. Our Agricultural Banking Specialists are committed to serving those that feed our nation and can help coordinate practical strategies and flexible solutions that work for your unique needs.
For more information, please contact one of our Agricultural Banking Specialists or visit scotiabank.com/agriculturalbanking
DFC IN ACTION ADVOCATING FOR FARMERS
On Monday, November 14, Minister Bibeau released the details of the CUSMA compensations announced in the Fall Economic Statement (FES). The federal government announced $ 1.2 billion dollars in compensation t o dair y farmers for the impact of market access concessions granted under the CanadaUnited States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). The compensation will be delivered over six years under the Dairy Direct Payments Program.
The government also announced the creation of a $300 million fund to supp ort innovation and investment into large-scale projects to add value to solids-non-fat. Lastly, the government will establish a $105 million Supply Management Processing Investment Fund to suppor t investments in dairy, poultry and egg processing plants, to grow their productivity or efficiency through new equipment and automation technologies.
This highlights the importance of a strong and effective DFC, and speaking to government from a position of unity.
While we welcome the announcement, we would have preferred if the government had not conceded market access in the first place. On that note, upon announcing the compensation, the minister re-committed to not granting any further market access in future international trade agreements.
In addition to compensation, the Fall Economic Statement identified a number of other investments of interest to dairy farmers, including:
•An investment tax credit for clean technologies: A refundable tax credit equal to 30% of the capital cost of investments in electricity generation systems, electricity storage systems, low carbon heat equipment, and industrial zero-emission vehicles.
•Investing in skills and training for the net- zero economy: $250 million over five years starting in 2023-24 to help ensure Canadian workers can thrive in a changing global economy.
•Ensuring the resilience of Canada’s transportation supply chains: $603.2 million over five years starting in 2022-23 to ease the movement of goods in Canada’s transportation networks through new infrastructure, supply chain digitization, and reduced regulatory burden on industry.
•Launching a Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency:$1 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23 to support investments in innovation, including in the agricultural sector.
operate under strict regulations to produce high-quality milk without growth hormones or antibiotics
ENCOURAGING CANADIANS TO CHOOSE CANADIAN DAIRY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
With increasing competition from imports and plant-based products, DFC is reminding shoppers this holiday season that nutritious, high-quality Canadian dairy is unrivalled in creating magical moments with friends and family. Our holiday digital and TV campaign highlights some of the high standards behind the Blue Cow logo, helping to remind consumers to choose Canadian dairy during the busiest shopping time of the year.
ONLINE SUSTAINABILITY HUB
DFC unveiled a new ‘Sustainability Hub’ on our website, assembling all sorts of information about our stewardship initiatives in a single place. The goal is to better showcase the everyday sustainability efforts taking place on dairy farms across the country. Here, Canadians can learn how our sector is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing soil, caring for animals, embracing technology, and more about the progress that farmers have been working on for decades.
From my family to yours, I wish you all the best for this holiday season.Pierre Lampron President, Dairy Farmers of Canada Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Marie-Claude Bibeau and Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada at the CUSMA compensation announcement in Ascot Corner, QC.
WE’VE BEEN MILKING COWS FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, scientists say, and until 150 years ago, milking was done by farmers using only their hands and a bucket.
The basic concepts of milking cows remained unchanged until demand increased in the 1800s and mechanization became necessary to keep up, says tech site RoboticsBiz. The first mechanical milking machine was thought to have been introduced as early as 1870, but did not become the norm for a few decades.
Now, robotic milking is just one of many innovations that not only saves farmers time and money, as this ad from July 1961 shows, but also improves animal health and well-being, while reducing environmental impact.
DAIRY PRODUCERS GIVING BACK 2022
ACROSS ONTARIO, DAIRY PRODUCER COMMITTEES ARE
Dairy Producer Committees (DPCs) are local ambassadors for the dairy industry. In communities across Ontario, they step up and show up to support local teams and cultural events, fairs, schools, food banks, and so much more. It’s in the dairy producer DNA - core to who we are.
This booklet proudly highlights some of the work being done by DPCs to share and ignite our collective love for milk and dairy products, while giving back to the places we call home and the people we care about.
In addition to what’s in these pages, Ontario dairy producers continue to support our local children’s hospitals through the Milk & Cookies holiday campaign. Since 2019, we’ve provided more than $2 million in donations to Sick Kids, McMaster Children’s Hospitals, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre. This year’s donation of $500,000 will go toward making things a bit more comfortable for families spending the holidays in hospital.
“Giving to Sick Kids and other Ontario children’s hospitals is something our dairy producers are very passionate about, especially during the holiday season. So many of us have been helped by the dedicated teams at these important institutions, and this is just one way for us to show our support.”
—Cheryl Smith, chief executive officer, DFO
This year, DFO has created a special gift for children who won’t be home for the holidays. Inspired by the magical ritual of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa, patients will receive special Santa Milk-O-Grams. The care packages are full of festive cheer to prepare for Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve, including a customizable milk bottle, milk coupons, a holiday card to decorate, and a plush toy.
As dairy producers, we take great pride in producing high-quality milk, one of nature’s most nutrient-rich foods. It’s our nature to nourish caring, compassionate communities, and to support inclusive nutrition. Thank you to our producers and DPCs for a wonderful year of giving!
Dufferin DPC sponsored the Minto Cup, the National Junior A Lacrosse Championship of Canada, in Brampton, ON, in August. The young athletes, including winners Whitby Warriors, enjoyed milk to replenish their bodies after the games. It was the first time the championship was held since 2019.
Dundas DPC raised more than $700 for Naomi’s Centre, a women’s shelter in Winchester, ON, this summer. The DPC provided ice cream sandwiches while accepting donations at Winchester Bike Nights, a popular event where participants can enjoy food and entertainment while raising money for local charities.
When the Uxbridge Loaves and Fishes Food Bank needed to upgrade its facilities, Durham DPC seized the opportunity. With help from DFO, the committee bought a new fridge, which was delivered in September. Kawartha Dairy filled the fridge with products, giving more community members a chance to eat nutritious dairy.
Elgin DPC donated $2,400 to the Family Central Community Food Program in Aylmer to purchase dairy products such as milk, butter and cheese. The donation helps organizers prepare hot meals for less fortunate community members who also need nutritious and delicious dairy products.
Grenville DPC oversaw the Dairy Farmers of Ontario booth at the International Plowing Match (IPM) held in Kemptville, ON, in September. More than 50 volunteers kept the booth humming, sold milk and Shaw’s ice cream, and showcased dairy to community members. They also hosted DFO board members as well as Conservative Party of Canada delegates from all over the province who eagerly asked questions about farm life and milk pricing. The positive showcase of the dairy industry and willingness for open conversation was welcomed by all.
Frontenac DPC is spreading the “Dairy Done Right” message through three signs installed along busy county roads. The four by eight-foot signs include pictures of grazing cows and messages of, “Thanks for supporting Canadian dairy” and “Dairy done right in Frontenac county”.
Local producers, Grey DPC and dairy educator, Teresa Johnson, hosted a booth with giveaways and Chapman’s ice cream bars at the Agro Expo & Rodeo in Holstein, ON. A sheep shearing competition, rawhide rodeo, and lots of vendors and entertainment, rounded out the July event with proceeds going to the Mount Forest Louise Marshall Hospital Foundation.
Huron DPC participates in five local Santa Clause parades annually, handing out chocolate milk to the excited children. When the pandemic cancelled the parades, the DPC decided to deliver the milk to each school-aged child personally. Nearly 8,000 cartons of milk were donated, with DFO support, last year. The gratifying response and a return to the parades means the DPC looks forward to continuing the donation this year.
Jen and Pete Van Dieten deliver milk to St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Clinton, ON.
Manitoulin – Sudbury West
Northeastern Ontario producers got into the Christmas spirit last year, donating milk to the Anderson Farm Museum Heritage Society (AFMHS) for its 14th annual Christmas tree lighting celebration. A donation of 250 small cartons and eight bags of milk cooled off the Tim Hortons hot chocolate the revellers enjoyed.
NiagaraEach summer, Niagara dairy producers host a farm tour, called Niagara Dinner at the Dairy. Local farms open their doors, allowing community members to tour their facilities and see first-hand where their milk comes from. The event typically hosts 2,000 people who are eager to connect with local farmers who answer dozens of questions about operations and encourage consumption of dairy products.
The Simcoe Christmas Panorama, with more than 60 displays and 200,000 lights throughout Simcoe parks, was sponsored by Norfolk DPC last December. Visitors could peek into Mrs. Clause’s kitchen where elves were hard at work baking cookies and drinking milk. On the evening of December 17, Norfolk DPC handed out 70 litres of hot chocolate with whip cream and 500 chocolate chip cookies to people strolling by.
More than 900 grade four students from Oxford County participated in Dairy Days in October. Students received T-shirts and chocolate milk as they learned all about dairy farming. Oxford DPC funded the event through proceeds from the 2,000 Shaw’s ice cream cones sold at the Embro Truck and Tractor Pull in July.
PerthPerth DPC participated in the Perth County IFarm in June in Stratford. More than 520 students from 14 Perth County elementary schools took in the agricultural displays, learning about agriculture and where their food comes from. Local dairy, beef, egg, grain, and pork producers collaborated on the event which was also staffed with volunteers from Gay Lea Dairy Heritage Museum and Farm Safety Association.
Thanksgiving weekend is host to the Norwood Fall Fair in Peterborough County. As a vendor, Peterborough DPC sells milk from Kawartha Dairy, cheese curds from Empire Cheese Factory and ice cream from Central Smith. Thousands of people visit the fair, dropping by the booth for their dairy fix. Maple the cow is a favourite among the children and participates in many photo ops. DPC members take turns operating the booth and chatting with visitors about dairy. This year, DPC Chair Andrew Mann was joined by his son Caleb, who acted as the official milk sample man.
Prescott DPC sponsored the U11 Clarence Rockland hockey team near Ottawa this year. In the summer, the DPC searched for small businesses serving ice cream and partnered with them, handing out free ice cream to bring more business to local shops. It was a win-win, boosting sales and promoting dairy. Locations included Broken Kettle in Vankleek Hill, La Barouche in St-Isidore, and Patati Patata in Plantagenet.
In August, the Hammond Optimist Club organized a weekend of activities under the banner, “Hammond Together”. Russell DPC supported the family fun run with a milk donation. It was a celebration of resilience after the community was hit hard during a devastating wind storm on May 21.
Wellington DPC has a long tradition of attending the Erin Fair to teach the public about dairy and all of its benefits. Visitors line up to enjoy a serving of delicious chocolate milk and kids can see what it’s like to milk a cow by hand.
Wentworth DPC hosted a milk and ice cream booth at Binbrook Fair in September. Proceeds were used to offer 1,500 visitors a Loewith Dairy Farm tour in December, where they also enjoyed hot chocolate and poutine. More than 1,500 people were expected.
Making milk & cookies mean even more.
Proudly donating to SickKids and other Ontario Children’s Hospitals.