Loaner quota offered to new Alta. dairy farmers

Alberta’s dairy marketing board has unveiled a program to support new dairy farmers in the province by temporarily lending them quota until they can afford to buy their own.

Alberta Milk’s recently-announced program helps ease producers’ start-up costs by loaning quota that matches, to a maximum 15 kilograms per day, what they buy through the province’s quota exchange.

The program’s goal is to support dairy farmers who have never been licensed or owned their own dairy farms and to encourage more people to consider dairying in Alberta.

A farmer applicant must include a two-year financial plan and a 10-year implementation plan for dairy operation as part of his or her application package.

Once accepted into the program the applicant has one year to be licensed, buy quota and begin shipping milk.

The program is set to last eight years, in which the farmer uses the 15 kg/day quota for six years. At the end of the sixth year, five kg are returned. At the end of the seventh year another five kg are returned, and the last five are returned at the end of the eighth year.

Alberta Milk will only accept five candidates for the program per year. Applicants not accepted have the opportunity to re-apply in later years.

The deadline for the 2011 program is on March 31. Application forms and complete information can be found on Alberta Milk’s website.

If a participant decides in mid-program to sell quota to a point where his or her own quota drops below 15 kg/day, the participant’s loaned quota would be cut by the same amount.

Also, if a participant buys up quota to the point where his or her total (owned and loaned) quota tops 60 kg/day, his or her loaned quota would be cut to the point where his or her total quota amounts to 60 kg/day.

Dairy Farmers of Manitoba (DFM) launched its own new entrant and top-up participant programs in 2005. DFM’s program also gives 15 kg/day of quota to participants and the repayment plan is similar to Alberta Milk’s.

Since the beginning of DFM’s program 10 new entrants and five top-up producers have participated.  Currently 10 new entrants and four top-up producers are enrolled.

Alberta is currently the fourth-largest milk-producing province, generating 8.2 per cent of Canada’s milk.

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