Dairy farmers must register to get further trade compensation payouts

Expect letters soon explaining process, AgMin says

Dairy farmers wanting to get in on a three-year, $1.405 billion federal compensation program for market share lost to free trade deals must register for the program by March 31 in each of those years.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on Tuesday laid out further specifics for the Dairy Direct Payment Program, which is set to start in the 2020-21 program year with direct cash payouts totalling $468 million.

But to get their 2020-21 payments, eligible dairy farmers will have to register with the program’s administrator, the Canadian Dairy Commission, by March 31 this year — and then re-register again by the same date in 2022 and 2023 to be eligible for payments in those program years.

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Signed registrations must be received at the CDC no later than that date each year, the commission noted.

The CDC said it will collect information from provincial milk marketing boards on licensed quota holders, then calculate those quota holders’ individual payments based on the percentage of each producer’s provincial quota holdings.

These direct payments are meant to clear out a $1.75 billion federal compensation package announced in August 2019 for supply-managed dairy farmers’ market share lost in Canada’s multilateral trade deals with the European Union and Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc (CETA, CPTPP).

Following an initial cash payment worth $345 million in 2019-20, Bibeau in November last year committed to roll out the remaining funds as direct payments over three years, down from the eight-year stretch originally planned.

Beyond the 2020-21 program year, the dairy direct payments are expected to total $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million again in 2022-23.

Eligible recipients in a given Dairy Direct Payment program year must have a valid dairy quota license for cows’ milk, registered with a provincial milk marketing board or agency, as of Oct. 31 that year. That group includes producers operating with loaned quota under a new entrant assistance program, and/or whole-farm leases with loaned quota, as of that date.

There is no maximum payment per farm, the CDC said; the payment amount depends on the quota held at Oct. 31 of each program year. An eligible producer with 80 cows could expect around $38,000 in each of the program years.

The payments to eligible producers under the program will be treated as income in the year the payment is received — and income tax will be assessed on the payments accordingly, the commission said.

Bibeau on Tuesday also reiterated $691 million is still coming in the form of 10 years’ worth of programs for Canadian chicken, egg, broiler hatching egg and turkey farmers, also as compensation for CETA and CPTPP.

Those programs’ specs are to be “designed in consultation with sector representatives and launched as soon as possible,” the government said.

The government also reiterated Tuesday it “remains committed to providing full and fair compensation” for supply-managed farmers who saw further market share ceded under the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) — as well as compensation to affected processors of supply managed products. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

About the author

Editor, Daily News

Dave Bedard

Editor of Daily News for the Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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