On Feb. 10 and 11, some 500 dairy farmers from across Canada participated in a virtual edition of Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC) 2021 Annual Dairy Policy Conference (APC). The conference featured industry experts and former politicians from both sides of the border discussing top issues and opportunities for the Canadian dairy sector.

The industry is facing a number of headwinds, including market access concessions in recent trade agreements, tariff rate quota challenges from the U.S., rising interest in plant-based alternatives and the increased emphasis from consumers and government on sustainability, just to name a few.

DFC President Pierre Lampron opened the conference by highlighting that the sector has a strong foundation to work from. Ours is an industry with a good track record on things like animal care, sustainability and innovation, powered by the thousands of Canadians who make their livelihoods from dairy farming.

“We have a good story to tell and need to do a better job telling it, but that is not enough,” he said in his opening address to delegates. “As we think about the threats and challenges we are facing, now more than ever we need to be ambitious. This is not the time to retrench; for the long-term future of the sector, we need to choose to work together and speak with a common voice. We must seize the opportunity to establish our own destiny, or someone else will define it for us.”

Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted opportunities for growth in the market, viable sustainability options and the importance of innovation to fuel COVID-19 recovery. A range of experts and thought leaders also provided their advice on trade relations.


The event concluded with a strategic planning session led by DFC CEO Jacques Lefebvre, providing an opportunity for farmers to weigh in on a number of issues from setting objectives and timelines on initiatives contributing to reduce climate change, to diversifying revenue streams. Insights from the session are key as part of DFC’s annual strategic planning process.

Starting on page 20, DFC has assembled a few of the highlights of the 2021 APC for those who were unable to participate.

Founded in 1934, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national organization which defends the interests of Canadian dairy farmers and strives to create favourable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry. Working in accordance with supply management principles, DFC promotes safe, high quality, sustainable and nutritious Canadian dairy products made from 100% Canadian milk through various marketing, nutrition, policy and lobbying initiatives. Driven by a strong sense of community and pride, DFC and Canadian dairy farmers actively support a number of local and national activities. Visit Dairy Farmers of Canada for more information.