The Board is once again asking for producers’ patience and understanding as we face more challenges in our ability to either pickup or have all milk processed, resulting in some farmers being asked to dispose of their milk production on farm. The unusually cold and snowy weather has caused delays in getting equipment to farms. We are also currently in the time of year where processor orders decline as demand decreases following the surge prior to Christmas. We can assure you that we are doing everything we can to have all milk picked up and processed. If we are unable to pickup your milk, you will either be contacted by BC Milk staff or your transporter. If you are contacted and advised that your milk will not be picked up, please don’t take your disappointment out on the person on the phone. BC Milk and transporter staff have worked really hard over the past few months, and the entire year, to deal with several significant industry issues. They continue to work hard for the dairy industry and your support and patience with them would be appreciated.
BC Milk works together with the other western provinces as a Western Milk Pool (WMP) to manage risks around milk processing capacity. The reality is that we’ve been lacking processing capacity for a while and that won’t change until more processing capacity is built, including current projects already underway. In the past, we had the benefit of the Plant of Last Resort (PLR) which ensured all milk was processed. Due to market changes and trade deals such as CUSMA the ability for a PLR to process (and sell) all milk is extremely challenged. The PLR has essentially evolved into a milk skimming agreement where at least the high-value butterfat is able to be marketed. The WMP continues to work with processors to attract increased processing to the west, and initiatives like DIW have created a lot of interest from processors. Until we can significantly increase milk processing capacity, we will have to manage the milk supply very closely, with periods where processors are slightly short of their requirements and other periods where all milk won’t be processed. We will be monitoring the milk supply and processing closely over the next few weeks and may need to reinstate production restrictions such as the 2-day credit limit. We again ask for producer’s understanding of the new reality we face as an industry.