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Manitoba Slow To Meet CQM Target

“The clock is ticking.”

– DAVID WI ENS, DFM

Manitoba dairy farmers will have to pick up the pace to meet a registration deadline for a national milk quality assurance program.

So far, only 40 per cent (146) of Manitoba’s milk producers have been fully registered under Canadian Quality Milk (CQM), a national on-farm food safety program. The deadline for registration is July 31, 2009.

Producers should act now to register rather than wait until the deadline and risk missing the cutoff, said David Wiens, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba chairman.

“The clock is ticking,” Wiens warned producers at DFM’s annual meeting last week.

A shortage of validators to handle applications could mean producers who wait until the last minute may not be served in time. If so, they’ll have to pay a penalty of $4 a hectolitre for waiting too long, Wiens said.

“There are no extensions,” he said later.

Manitoba has only five accredited validators to handle CQM registrations. On-farm validation can take a full day to complete, said Wiens.

He predicted numbers will be up significantly this winter as producers rush to complete registrations in time.

Last year, DFM developed a program giving bonus payments of $300 to $1,000, depending on the date producers became fully registered in CQM. A total of 133 farms took advantage of the program, according to figures released at the meeting.

CQM is designed to help farmers prevent, monitor and reduce food safety risks on their farms using HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) principles.

Provinces are at various stages of registration, Wiens said. Nearly all producers in Alberta and the Atlantic provinces have registered, while Quebec and Ontario, Canada’s two largest milk-producing provinces, are lagging. Manitoba is about in the middle of the pack.

The program is advancing toward implementation in stages. Producers had to file standard operating procedures (SOPs) and treatment records by July 31, 2007. Additional requirements have been added every year since then, leading up to full national implementation December 31, 2010. [email protected]

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