Making Milk: The Practices, Players, and Pressures Behind Dairy Supply Management

The Conference Board of Canada, 38 pages, November 23, 2009
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Making Milk examines, in practical and accessible terms, how Canada’s dairy supply management system works, as well as its origins and effects.

Document Highlights

While almost all Canadians drink milk and eat cheese, few understand the long-standing and complex system that sets dairy prices and limits milk supply. Making Milk examines the system’s origins, how it works in practical terms, and its effects on both dairy farmers and Canadians. Understanding how this policy originally came into practice helps explain its longevity. And understanding how the system works in practice points to the pressures it faces today. These include astronomical quota costs, unanticipated dairy imports, and globally uncompetitive pricing. The report finds that milk “policy” prices provide a very high and stable return to dairy producers. But the system compromises their ability to address challenges and seize opportunities. Moreover, the substantial protection the system affords comes at the expense of the processors and consumers who buy milk and dairy products, and jeopardizes other key Canadian public interests.

This report is available in French under the title, La production laitière : Les pratiques, les acteurs et les pressions derrière la gestion de l’offre.

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