by SUSAN MANN
Dairy Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Dairy Council will be meeting soon as the Milk Industry Advisory Committee to hash out the details of implementing the new milk ingredient class in Ontario approved by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission on Thursday.
The class will be in place for April 1 “to allow the dairy industry time to prepare for implementation,” says commission chair Geri Kamenz. Previously it was proposed to be in place for Feb. 1.
The commission still has to approve the final regulatory text for creating the new class, and that will be done within the next week.
Both Dairy Farmers and the council, which represents Ontario dairy processors, deemed the advisory committee as the appropriate forum to talk about how the new class will be implemented in Ontario, Kamenz says. The commission chairs the committee.
In Canada, raw milk sold to processors is classified and priced based on end use. The classes range from fluid milks and creams (Class 1) to milk used for further processing (Class 5, also known as the special classes). The price of milk in the special classes is based on world prices. The new ingredient class in Ontario would work the same way as the special classes and be based on world prices.
The new ingredient class in Ontario “will include skim milk solids in all forms that can be used as ingredients, including but not limited to skim milk, skim milk powder, ultrafiltered and diafiltered milk, whole milk powder and condensed or evaporated milk (not for retail),” it says in the Ontario Regulatory Registry posting that was posted Nov. 4, 2015. “In establishing this class, certain milk products will be moved from existing classes into this class.”
There wasn’t a list in the posting of which milk products would be moved into the new ingredient class.
Kamenz says the new milk ingredient class “will allow Dairy Farmers of Ontario to move forward with implementation of a provincial ingredient strategy to position Canadian ingredients to be more competitive in the domestic market. If Canadian ingredients are more competitive, then there is more stimulus for investment and growth.”
During the 45-day comment period, most of the other Canadian provinces and Dairy Farmers of Canada submitted responses urging the commission to turn down the ingredient class for Ontario. There were also submissions from other dairy industry stakeholders. Kamenz says the commission reviewed and considered all input “in reaching its decision to approve the new ingredient class.”
Meanwhile, national negotiations among provincial and national dairy industry officials for an ingredient strategy that would apply to all of Canada were ongoing this week in Ottawa. Peter Gould, CEO and general manager of Dairy Farmers of Ontario, says talks will continue “in the very near future through conference calls or scheduling another meeting.”
Gould says he can’t be specific but negotiators “have narrowed the gap on many of the issues. There are a couple of key ones where we still haven’t and we’ll see if we can.”
Kamenz says while the negotiations for a national ingredient strategy are ongoing “the commission made its decision (to approve the ingredient class for Ontario) in recognition that DFO and Ontario’s butter and (skim milk) powder processors have reached an agreement to proceed to implement an ingredient strategy.”
The Ontario class is “expected to strengthen the industry (in the province) and address needed investment,” he says.
DFO fully supports the development of the national ingredient strategy, Gould says. “That is our preferred outcome. But if we can’t achieve that, then obviously we have to consider going ahead in Ontario” with the new ingredient class. BF