Dairies are Different than the CWB Single Desk Issue

Now that it looks like the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk is about to be extinguished, it seems that the main stream media has turned its focus to the Canadian Dairy industry.  Is the CWB situation the same as the supply mananged dairy industry?  Should the Canadian dairy industry be in Gerry Ritz’s cross hairs next?  I say no!!!

The dairy quota system is an entirely different issue than the single desk on wheat.  Gerry Ritz will not be touching dairy quota with at least a 1000 foot pole.

Outside of Ian Cummings, farmers are not pushing for a dairy industry change.  The CWB change has been led by farmers.  Granted many farmers are fighting to save the CWB, there are a large group of farmers fighting to see the destruction of the CWB single desk.  I have asked most of my dairymen neighbors and they all agree that the quota system does prevent expansion but it does create the opportunity for dairy farms of all sizes to survive.  Creating the opportunity for larger dairies does not create the opportunity for higher industry profits.  One dairyman said to me, “why would I triple the size of my dairy in a free market to have the same amount of profit.”

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Charles Adler calls the dairy industry food inflators and compares them to OPEC in a recent video segment.  Adler will lead you to believe that the dairy industry lacks innovation because of the quota system.  To suggest that dairy farmers in Canada are lazy on profits and lack the inspiration to innovate is ridiculous.

Recently the Canadian Restaurant and Food Service Association launched a campaign called FREE OUR MILK (the video with the head of the CRFSA).  Of course the restaurant lobby wants the dairy quota extinguished.  They want to lower their cost of goods.  They can say its about protecting consumers but in reality its about cheaper food and better margins for the food retail and service industry.

Although the change of the single desk will benefit farmers, the reality is that this is really about votes.  Rural Western Canada had a large role in electing the Conservatives and therefore this change is about solidifying the conservative popularity in much of Western Canada.  Gerry Ritz will forever be remembered as the man that brought down the CWB single desk.  the conservatives campaigned on this promise and they are now doing what they promised to do.  Getting rid of milk quota does not solidify votes in the Canadian countryside.  If destroying the quota system meant more votes, the Conservatives would change their strategy.  Harper campaigned on protecting supply management so I would not expect any change to this plan.

Western Canadian farmers want change so that they have marketing choice for their wheat and dairy farmers are very satisfied with the status quo.  The CWB was a single seller, and the quota system manages supply to stabilize revenue for farmers.  These things are not the same.  The CWB single desk is being changed because many farmers believe they are more profitable without the CWB single while dairymen are significantly less profitable without the quota system.

Charles Adler is misinformed and not in line with much of his rural right wing viewers.  The dairy quota is here to stay.





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