Edmonton, AB – Alberta Milk has introduced a new program in June to alleviate some of the startup costs associated with starting an organic dairy farm. Similar to the New Entrants Assistance Program (NEAP), the Organic Entrants Assistance Program (OEAP) works by offering a quota loan at no cost to the successful applicants.
“We want to be sure if Albertans want organic milk, that they will have a stable supply of it from local farms,” says Chairman of the Alberta Milk Board of Directors Tom Kootstra. “We’ve had great success in our program for conventional farmers, so our organic program was a natural decision.”
The program is open to any current non-licensed dairy farm in Alberta and applications will be assessed on a first come, first served basis. You do not need to join this program to become an organic dairy farmer in Alberta. Similar to the NEAP, the process to qualify for the program consists of submitting a two-year financial business plan, a 10-year implementation plan, a risk mitigation plan, and a signed conditional approval letter from the applicant’s financial institution agreeing to finance their operation. The location of the farm will also be part of the selection criteria with the goal to minimize transportation costs.
Technical Elements of the Program
- As organic producers have increased costs, participants in the OEAP will receive a transition premium of $0.10 per litre of their milk for up to three years.
- They will receive three kilograms of loaned quota for every one kilogram purchased through the Quota Exchange, up to a maximum of 25 kilograms of loaned quota.
- The quota loan gradually expires beginning in the 11th year at a rate of 10 per cent per year and is reduced to zero at the end of year 19.
- While using the program, new entrants can expand up to 100 kg/day of total quota holdings, or about 71-100 cows (previously maximum 70 kg/day).
Snapshot: Organic Dairy in Alberta
6 certified organic dairy farms
5 organic processors
8 million litres processed yearly
2.5% consumption increase in Alberta (AC Nielson, last 52 weeks)
1% of annual milk production in Alberta
About Alberta Milk
Alberta Milk represents the province’s dairy producers. Our vision is growing a sustainable dairy industry by being a trusted source of quality milk.