VANCOUVER, July 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Dairy farmer delegates from across the country converged in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 14th and 15th for Dairy Farmers of Canada's (DFC) annual general meeting. Farmers participated in a series of dairy industry discussions and conference sessions, and demonstrated a united and strong front for the dairy sector and supply management.
"The last few days have been productive and rewarding," said Wally Smith, DFC's president. "During the AGM, farmers truly demonstrated a strong unity and pride for the industry. All discussions have been promising, with the goal to keep up the support for supply management in this time of uncertainty and pressure."
During his address, which received a standing ovation, Mr. Smith reiterated that although the dairy industry is facing uncertainty and foreign pressure for change, there is a need to remain unified for the industry and supply management. "As I said in February, the government must never trade away the sustainable economic driver of unsubsidized supply management to participate in the unsustainable, uneconomic model of subsidized deregulated world trade."
He reminded all attendees that supply management contributes to the industry's greatest strength; it empowers dairy farmers collectively. Supply management allows farmers to plan and invest in production, while still adhering to the strictest standards for quality, the environment and animal care. It provides price stability, ensuring the industry stays viable for the long-term, and secures family farms. Supply management is a vital part of what makes Canada's dairy industry one of the strongest, most reliable, most vibrant in the world. Supply management works for dairy farmers, the economy, industry partners, consumers – all of Canada.
AGM events included opportunities for dairy farmers to meet with other farmers and industry partners. Delegates also took the opportunity at the AGM to express loud and clear their strong desire to the government to stay firm in their position on supply management because of the great benefits the dairy sector brings to Canada.
The days also consisted of various presentations and sessions, including inspirational remarks by some partners:
- Darryl Plecas, MLA, Abbotsford South brought greetings from the host province, but also strongly conveyed support for the dairy sector's contribution and viability to Canada.
- Inspirational remarks by Fuelling Women Champions ambassador and Canadian curling champion, Jennifer Jones on pursuing dreams and thanking farmers for contributing to women's sports by producing a nutritious product.
- Sponsors Adam Vervoort from the Bank of Montreal and Sharon Eistetter fromFarm Credit Canada also shared words of support for dairy farmers.
- BC dairy farmer Julaine Treur spoke about her journey in taking to social media to dispel myths about the dairy industry, particularly on animal care and supply management, and how her farm is caring for future generations.
- Heart and Stroke Foundation's CEO, David Sculthorpe, discussed his passion for the cause he works for, touching everyone in the room.
At the meeting, Wally Smith was re-elected for a third two-year term as President. At a board meeting following the meeting, four Vice-Presidents were reappointed: David Wiens, Ian Harrop, Bruno Letendre, and Reint Jan Dykstra.
Also, during the AGM, DFC delegates voted on the validation criteria for the four proAction® modules that remained to be developed – animal care, traceability, biosecurity, and environment, and the Dairy Farm Sustainability Award was awarded to Mario Lefebvre and Denise Joyal from Ferme Bois Mou 2001 inc. of St-Félix-de-Kingsey, Quebec. "Taking measures to protect the environment is not an expense to us. It is an investment," said Lefebvre in accepting his award.
SOURCE Dairy Farmers of Canada (Corporate)