By Lawrence Belanger
Local Journalism Initiative
Members of the local farming community are supporting C282, a bill that would protect Canada’s supply management system, which regulates the production of dairy, eggs, and poultry, from any trade concessions in agreements signed by the Foreign Minister of Canada. Shane Coates, one such farmer, says the legislation will protect his livelihood by ensuring his farm isn’t outcompeted by larger operations in countries like the United States.
“When the increase in the demand is taken up by imports,” explains Coates over the phone, “it makes it hard for us to grow or invest.” This negatively impacts the local economy beyond his or other individual farms. According to him, smaller and local farms create jobs not just for themselves, but at nearby hardware and supply stores when they need to buy materials, tools, and farming equipment.
“Bigger dairy farms contract directly with manufacturers and suppliers because a nearby store can’t meet their demand,” says Coates. Coates, who alongside his brother is a 4th-generation farmer, has 175 milking cows. In some States, the average share size is over 2k, says Coates.