Dairy farmers dumping milk

TikTok of Ontario dairy farmers dumping milk shows what's being done to keep prices up

A farmer from Ontario has taken to TikTok to criticize the Canadian government for its dairy quota rules that keep milk prices high.

Jerry Huigen, who operates Huigen Bros Farm in Dunville, says that milk production is high during the winter months, but thousands of litres of it are dumped to maintain Canada's dairy quota.

The Canadian Dairy Commission hiked milk prices by 2.2 per cent this month, citing inflation and dairy farmers' cost of production.

"I dumped 30,000 litres of milk, and it breaks my heart," Huigen said in the TikTok, which was posted earlier this week but was deleted on Friday. He criticized Canada's laws for forcing farmers to dump surplus milk, which he believes could simply go to food banks, hospitals, or families in need.

We were able to obtain a copy of the video using The Wayback Machine. It was also shared on Twitter by Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada.

"I've been denouncing this for years," Bernier commented. "It continues because all the establishment parties are afraid of the supply management mafia."

A 1.5-litre bottle of Fairlife milk costs $5.28 at Walmart Canada right now.

Huigen has 260 milk-producing cows on his farm. He's of Dutch descent and has been in the dairy industry for 43 years, growing up on a cattle farm and working in the field "seven days a week."

The frustrated farmer complained about the lack of conversation on this wasteful practice: "I’m going public. I want the people to see the pain us growers have."

If Canadian farmers sell milk outside their established quota, they risk losing their licence due to sanctions and can rack up a hefty fine.

"Milk marketed in a month by a producer that exceeds the total quota and available incentive and credit days to that producer for the month is over-quota," states the Quota and Milk Transportation Policy document from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario website.

"For milk marketed above 100 per cent of a producer's quota and available credit and incentive days, or above such level as determined appropriate by the Board, the producer will receive an over quota penalty of $20 per hectolitre (hl) and will be subject to the normal deductions."

Commenters on Huigen's video said that overproduction was a fault on the farmers' part and that processing the excess milk could cost a lot, even if for the purpose of donating it to charity. These costs ordinarily include transportation, storage, refrigeration, and packaging.

Do you think salvaging the surplus milk is worth the effort, money, and welfare of the people? Or is dumping it the most cost-effective solution?

Lead photo by

Travis Huigen/TikTok

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