‘It breaks my heart:’ Dairy farmer lashes out about practice of dumping excess milk

A Canadian dairy farmer is speaking out about the regulated practice of dumping excess milk.

In an emotional video posted to TikTok, that has since been deleted, Jerry Huigen from Dunville, Ont., points to a drainpipe while explaining how he is forced to dump 30,000 litres of surplus milk at the end of the month because of government regulation.

“So right now we’re over our quota. It’s regulated by the government and the DFO (Dairy Farmers of Ontario),” says Huigen. “It breaks my heart.”

Dairy production in Canada is controlled under a system known as supply management, which was adopted in the early 1970s to overcome production surpluses.

Dairy farmers adhere to quotas established by the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) which decides how much milk is produced each month based on anticipated demand. Farmers are only paid for the milk they produce within those quotas, so any surplus is destroyed.

Huigen says his 260 dairy cows produce more milk than is needed during the winter months, but he’s not allowed to sell it.

“They make us dump it,” Huigen says while taking a sip of unpasteurized milk from a glass.

Last November the CDC approved an increase in farm gate milk prices of about 2.2 per cent, or just under two cents per litre, effective Feb. 1, 2023. That came on the heels of a 2.5 per cent increase last September and an 8.4 per cent increase last February.

“When I go for my haircut people say, ‘Wow $7 Jerry for a little bit of milk.’ I say, well, you have to go higher up because we got no say anymore as a dairy farmer,” explains Huigen, adding that its hard to grow his business as any little bit of profit “goes down the drain.”

“How dare you guys put this milk on the market for $7 per litre and think that that’s OK, when there are single mothers with no extra income, or children at the SickKids Hospital that could use this.”

“But we’re not supposed to talk about this,” he says.

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier tweeted a response to the video, saying his was the only party willing to abolish the “costly and wasteful supply management system,” noting that all the other parties “are in the pocket of the dairy mafia.”

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