by SUSAN MANN
Ontario dairy farmers are being encouraged to vote in the upcoming mail-in ballot to establish a marketing board for veal.
Dairy Farmers of Ontario chair Bill Emmott said at the DFO annual meeting Wednesday in Toronto when the voter packages arrive in the mail, milk producers should give them “due consideration” because they sell lots of bull calves from their farms and they should be interested in supporting the veal organization by voting.
Ontario Veal executive director Jennifer Haley said during an interview at the DFO meeting the mail-in vote being conducted by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission will be held during a two-week period near the end of March.
All veal producers and all dairy farmers who sell bull calves are eligible to vote, she said, noting it’s estimated there will be 4,300 eligible farmer voters.
Dairy farmers should vote because they sell their bull calves and pay the $3 a head check off. “The commission wants dairy farmers to have a say in this vote because they’re paying that fee,” she said.
Currently the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association collects the check off money and works with Ontario Veal to establish its annual budget. The cattlemen’s association allocates money to the veal organization for its budget.
Ontario Veal wants to collect the money itself. In addition, Ontario Veal wants to establish its own marketing board regulations under the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Act that are separate from both DFO’s and the Ontario Cattlemen’s.
If it’s established, the veal marketing board won’t have the ability to control price nor will it have the same marketing board authority other groups have. “It’s not quota; it’s not setting any kind of control in the marketplace,” Haley explained.
Haley said Ontario Veal currently works through the Ontario Cattlemen’s and the provincial Beef Cattle Marketing Act but “we’re looking to get out of the beef marketing Act and be on our own under the Farm Products Marketing Act.” However, the check off amount and the name of the provincial veal organization will stay the same, she said.
Information meetings will be held at the end of February and beginning of March. Ontario Veal and the commission are also presenting information at many DFO dairy producer committee annual meetings. BF