Media statement from Cheryl Smith, DFO’s CEO, on COVID-19

Published: April 21, 2020

Updated: April 21, 2020 06:31 PM EDT

Media statement from Cheryl Smith, Dairy Farmers of Ontario's Chief Executive Officer (CEO):

“The COVID-19 outbreak remains a deeply concerning health emergency and economic disruption both in Canada and around the world. These unprecedented times have called for unprecedented measures within the dairy supply chain, largely driven by a reduction in demand from food service providers and the hospitality industry.

“Disposing of milk is an extraordinary measure, and one that Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) has only ever considered in emergency situations. Yet, last week, we informed producers these measures would be necessary on a select and rotating basis. Producers share the costs of their lost revenue.  All producers will take lower pay for the milk so that any producer requiring to dispose of milk is still compensated.

“Ontario producers continue to do their part to nourish Canadians with high-quality milk, and we are working very closely with processors and industry groups to respond to the unpredictable market fluctuations that are now part of our current environment. The closure of most food service locations has had an unprecedented impact on demand. All dairy products have dramatically declined.

“The need to dispose of milk is an emergency measure only. The affected farmers were individually contacted April 1 and 2. DFO is constantly examining supply and demand needs and will re-evaluate our on-farm measures on a weekly basis.

“While we aim to be agile in dealing with these circumstances, we must also look ahead to the medium and long term where we expect demand to normalize. The steps we take now are vitally important to the continued strength of our food supply chain and we are proceeding with that important goal in mind.”

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