Two Island dairy farms awarded gold certificate at annual meeting

Jean-Guy Seguin of Dairy Farmers of Ontario, left, gives Alex Anstice of Oshadenah Holsteins a congratulatory handshake on his Gold Quality Certificate.

LITTLE CURRENT—The annual Manitoulin-West Sudbury Dairy Producers meeting was held at the Anchor Inn this year, due to pandemic restrictions still in effect at the usual Little Current United Church venue, with four operations in attendance.

This year the Bud and Brad Wilkin operation secured a coveted Gold Quality Certificate in what has become a perennial event for the family operation, this year joined by Emiry Farms Ltd., represented by Alan Emiry.

“Milk quality, first and foremost, is something we need to be proud of,” said Jean-Guy Seguin, field service representative with Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO). “We have some of the best quality milk in the world.”

Mr. Seguin noted that the DFO farm inspection program plays a great part in insuring that quality level is maintained and constantly improved upon. “One of the great things to see in Northern Ontario is the number of young farmers who are now taking over their family farms,” said Mr. Seguin, who was particularly pleased to be handing over a gold certificate to Alan Emiry, a younger Massey farmer who falls in that category as an engaged and proactive operator.

“In Northern Ontario we are also seeing an influx of Mennonite farmers moving North,” said Mr. Seguin. “The urban sprawl taking place in southern Ontario is making it harder for them and they can go on the road with their horses safely with all the traffic down there. This is a very good trend for our industry here in the North.”

Along with the gold certificate presentations, Oshadenah Holsteins of Tehkummah was awarded general certificates of quality, along with Lamming Farms Inc. of Echo Bay, J and D Dairy Farm Inc. of Richard’s Landing and Morrell Dairy Farm Limited of Massey.

During the meeting, dairy producers were updated on challenges facing their industry, including the encroachment of international trade agreements on the domestic market. “No more trade deals,” was the strong refrain presented by Region 12 Northern Ontario representative Steve Runnalls, who gave his presentation virtually.

Other challenges facing the industry include the limitations of processing facilities for milk and the cyclical demands presented by normal market fluctuations.

Another very promising trend for the North is the major increase in producers throughout the region, with an increase of five new operations. In 2018 there were a total of 47 producers in the region and by 2021 that number has risen to 52. In the Manitoulin Sudbury West region there has been an increase of one producer to a total of seven, although Algoma saw one producer leave the market to bring their numbers down to six.

“Overall, the industry is very healthy in Northern Ontario,” noted Mr. Seguin, but both he and Mr. Runnalls stressed the importance of continuing to highlight the value and impact of milk and dairy products to the public.