The Government of Canada is helping dairy farmers to find new ways to improve productivity and efficiency in their operations.

On Thursday, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, announced that starting January 7, 2019, requests for funding will be accepted under the second and final phase of the $250-million Dairy Farm Investment Program (DFIP). Dairy farmers will have until February 8, 2019, to apply for Phase II funding, valued at $98 million.

“We understand the importance of a strong dairy industry, and our Government strongly supports and is committed to maintaining Canada's supply management system," said MacAulay. "Through investments made under this program, we are ensuring that dairy farmers across the country can make important upgrades to their operations, helping them continue to contribute to our economy and middle-class growth.”

The program will now have a two-stage application process involving a pre-selection step, which, if an applicant is selected, will be followed by the submission of a full application. This new process will give all applicants an equal opportunity of being selected for funding. Projects will be eligible for a contribution of up to $100,000. Between 1,000 - 1,500 projects are expected to be funded in Phase II. A number of changes to Phase II of the Dairy Farm Investment Program were developed following consultations with industry and feedback from farmers.

DFIP will be using a random selection process instead of the first come-first served method which was used in Phase 1. This approach will give all applicants an equal opportunity to have their projects funded from the remaining $98 million DFIP budget. AAFC will undertake a structured random selection (computer generated) of all project proposals submitted by eligible applicants, rather than rank the projects based on the order in which they are received.

The Dairy Farm Investment Program, originally launched in August 2017, aims to help Canadian cow’s milk producers improve productivity through upgrades to their barn technology and equipment.

Of the 11,000 dairy farms in Canada, over 2,500 applied to the program under Phase I. Over 1,900 projects were funded, with an average of over $68,000 per project. Approximately 75% of applicants were approved for funding.

Projects received funding for upgrades such as automatic feeding systems, robotic milking systems, and herd management equipment.

The Government has also announced the formation of new working groups to develop mitigation strategies to support farmers and processors to help them adjust to the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

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