The proAction Initiative will demonstrate sustainable dairy farming, a commitment to continuous improvement and delivers the Growing Forward 2 objective of creating assurance programs.
Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is pleased with the announcement of the federal government funding for dairy traceability and proAction Initiative today. This investment will help develop the dairy programs that confirm farmers' commitment to continuous improvement. In the last year, DFC and its members have developed a strategic road map to show their commitment a strong and sustainable future for Canadian dairy farmers. This strategy, known as proAction, will be carried out by farmers for farmers, with discussions with stakeholders and the food value chain.
"Dairy farmers are already responsible food producers, but this commitment is not always recognized," said David Wiens, DFC Vice-President. "Canadians want safe, nutritious food that are produced responsibly and farmers are investing significant sums of money on products and services that improve the care and health of animals, and ultimately improve the quality of food."
In recent years, $28 million was spent on time-temperature recorders, which help ensure milk is kept cold and water used to wash milking equipment is hot, with huge benefit to safeguarding food safety and quality. Additionally, farmers have spent over $50 million a year on products like mattresses and brushes that improve the comfort of cows in barns; and services, such as herd improvement and classification programs.
There are many ways farmers invest to also improve their environmental footprint. An estimated 70 per cent of dairy farmers in Canada already have an environmental farm plan and have made improvements that benefit both the farm and the environment. The Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), which is a method to measure the environmental footprint of a product, shows Canadian milk to be quite competitive when it comes to carbon and water footprints compared to other countries' dairy industries. Moreover, DFC was the first dairy farm group in the world to include a "social" measurement to its LCA. The dairy LCA is a snapshot in time that helps identify opportunities to enhance sustainable practices.
In February, dairy farmer leaders agreed to proceed with a significant investment in the next 10 years to bring the proAction Initiative to fruition. Conservatively estimated to be around $160 million when counting resources and time, the investment by farmers demonstrates the commitment to continuous improvement of sustainability and quality on Canadian dairy farms. You can read more about proAction at dairyfarmers.ca.