Member Profile – Dairy Farmers of Canada




What does sustainability mean to your business?

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the voice for all farmers on Canada’s 12,000 dairy farms.  DFC recognizes that every farm is unique, but that farmers have a vision for the long-term, to see their farms thrive for many generations to come.  DFC was keen to undertake an environmental and socio-economic lifecycle analysis in 2012. The LCA highlighted the strong environmental performance of Canadian dairy farms, the commitment of dairy farmers within their communities, and their excellent care of their employees and their animals.  DFC is also pleased to recognize the initiatives and innovation of dairy farmers with the annual Dairy Farm Sustainability Award.  (See a video of our 2014 winner here).

What are your main sustainability challenges?

Canadian dairy farmers are excellent managers of their farms, from the land to the animals to interactions with employees and their communities.  We are committed to ensuring that all Canadian milk meets the highest standards of food safety and quality, and is produced in a way which benefits the environment, ensures health and good care of our cows, and provides a stable return to farmers while being available to consumers at a fair price.

What changes have you implemented in the last year to address these challenges?

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is leading the development of our proAction® Initiative, which is a customer assurance program.  Every two years, on-farm actions at every farm in Canada will be validated with respect to specific sustainability aspects.  The program is being developed by farmers, with input from stakeholders such as veterinarians and environmental experts, and includes food safety, milk quality, animal care, livestock traceability, biosecurity and environment.  The modules are currently at different stages of development and/or implementation.  For example, food safety and milk quality are already in place on nearly all farms. Livestock traceability has been implemented in two provinces to date, with the remaining provinces to begin training and implementation this fall.  Animal care will also be launched on-farm starting this fall. The proAction® initiative will also allow us to measure uptake of specific actions by farmers, to ensure sustainability of milk production within Canada.