Organic milk finally produced in Manitoba

Homegrown organic milkwill finally be available on grocery shelves in Manitoba before the end of this year.

Organic Meadow of Guelph, Ontario plans to commercially launch locally-produced organic milk in either late November or early December, dairy farmers were told last week.

The milk will come from farms belonging to a Manitoba organic milk co-operative. Two producers are already certified organic, a third will be certified in December and at least two more are working toward certification, said David Wiens, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba chairman.

DFM ratified a policy last February allowing organic milk to be produced and marketed in Manitoba. Organic producers operate within the regular quota system and market their milk through the board. They receive a total price premium of 30 cents a litre; the net premium after transportation costs is at least 18 cents per litre, Wiens said.

A creamery in Notre Dame de Lourdes will process organic milk at separate times from regular milk to maintain the integrity of the product. The milk is currently undergoing shelf life trials, Wiens said as DFM’s annual round of fall district meetings wrapped up October 31.

It’s expected organic cheese will soon be produced, too.

Organic milk is already produced in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and recently Alberta. Organic Meadow sells organic dairy products throughout Canada but this is the first time Manitobans will be able to drink organic milk produced in their own province.

Wiens couldn’t say how much organic milk will be produced here. Nationally, organic milk makes up between one per cent and three per cent of the market.

“I think there’s a market there,” he said. “There’s producers wanting to have this alternative.”

DFM does not certify organic producers; national and provincial organic certification agencies do that. National regulations for organic products in Canada were adopted in December 2006.

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