by SUSAN MANN
Dairy Farmers of Ontario and a Listowel area dairy farmer have made little headway concerning a conflict over organization’s switch to direct deposit banking more than a year ago to pay farmers for their milk.
Don Verner, 74, is the only Ontario dairy farmer who hasn’t signed up to have the twice-monthly milk payments deposited directly into his account.
And the organization won’t provide the money to him by any other means.
“All producers should be treated the same,” explains Graham Lloyd, general counsel and communications director for Dairy Farmers.
Verner is now owed nearly $300,000 in milk payments. Lloyd says they want to pay Verner and haven’t refused to pay him. “I am in regular contact and have reached out on several occasions over the last two months.”
Verner, a milk producer for nearly 60 years who milks about 30 cows and holds 22 kilograms of quota, says: “I don’t like to be blackmailed into having it (the milk payments) put into my account.”
He’s critical of the supply-managed commodity organization. “It (the milk board) wasn’t brought in to help the farmer. It was brought in to take control.”
Dairy Farmers switched to direct deposit in 2012. Before that farmers received their milk payments once a month by cheque mailed to them from the organization.
Verner continues to milk his cows and the milk is still being picked up. Asked how he is getting by without his milk payment income, Verner says he was taught how get along “with what we have without having machinery. We were taught never to owe a man one cent, only for a mortgage.” BF