P.E.I. dairy farmers support ask for milk price hike

·2 min read
P.E.I. dairy farmers say they need a further hike in the price of milk to help cover their costs, which are rising. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
P.E.I. dairy farmers say they need a further hike in the price of milk to help cover their costs, which are rising. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)

Prince Edward Island dairy farmers agree milk prices need to go up another two to three cents per litre to help them cover increasing on-farm costs as inflation rises quickly.

Last month the Dairy Farmers of Canada lobby group asked for a rare mid-year milk price hike to keep up with the high prices of goods they need to produce milk.

That's in addition to a price hike of six cents per litre granted by the Canadian Dairy Commission in February, after its usual annual price review.

"You try to name a product that hasn't gone up in price, and most of them have gone up more than six cents a litre," Gordon MacBeath, chair of Dairy Farmers of Prince Edward Island told CBC Tuesday.

Brian HIggins/CBC
Brian HIggins/CBC

MacBeath said farmers expect a two to three cent a litre increase for the second price hike.

"You compare that to other products in the grocery store. We think that the dairy represents tremendous value for the dollar," he said, adding he hopes consumers understand the need for higher prices.

"Our costs have gone up for every single input, whether it be soybeans to feed the cows or barley or any of our import costs, they've increased significantly."

'It adds up'

Industry observers have spoken against the hike, saying the request will likely mean grocers will take the opportunity to hike milk prices even more than the six cents per litre.

Increasing food prices are already affecting residents of P.E.I., and Mike MacDonald at The Upper Room Food Bank says a hike in the price of milk would be an added burden. Food bank use is up almost 20 per cent on P.E.I. over last year.

"It will certainly affect P.E.I. families," MacDonald told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin. "Prices of every product are increasing. It's one of many products — it doesn't seem like a lot but it adds up."

It woudl be difficult for many families to see a staple like milk cost more, he said.

Raechel Huizinga/CBC
Raechel Huizinga/CBC

The food bank will continue to supply every client at least one litre of milk per visit, he said, because it is recognized as important.

"It's almost one of nature's perfect foods, the health benefits of it," MacDonald said.

MacDonald noted the Dairy Farmers of P.E.I. has been very generous with donations to Island food banks over the last few years.

The Canadian Dairy Commission is scheduled to make an announcement on the decision on the price hike in mid-June. If approved, MacBeath said there will be a 90-day grace period for processors and retailers to adapt and put any increase in effect by September.

"We still consider our industry to be very, very fortunate. It's stable, but it's certainly it's certainly tougher for dairy farmers out there than it was," said MacBeath.

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