Moving into milk

Lethbridge farmer diversifying

Mallory Clarkson
Published on August 23, 2010

After a decade of attempting to tap into the dairy market, a Lethbridge farmer finally has a quota.

Earlier this summer Jeff Peddle’s application for a milk quota was approved by the Newfoundland and Labrador Milk Marketing Board. Peddle purchased a 1,200-litre-a-day quota from the board, and he will have a herd of 50 cows.

“I always liked working with animals,” Peddle said. “I’ve visited the local dairy farms and you get to know the local guys. I just wanted to continue farming, so that’s just something I wanted to get into.”

Peddle is a third-generation farmer who works at Bayview Farms. His wife, Connie, operates Bayview Gardens: greenhouses that sell vegetables and flowers.

Ten years ago, the Peddles tried to get into the market by buying out another farmer’s quota. When that deal didn’t go through, Peddle waited and applied to get his own.

He got this quota through a new entrance program.

According to Natural Resources Department website, the Dairy Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador is, “Responsible for managing the production and marketing of milk in the province.”

It stated that milk production per cow, due to selective breeding, and the average herd size, is steadily increasing while the number of registered producers is decreasing.

Peddle said new farmers are being brought on board to try to combat that trend.

“(The) board wants to get people in because the numbers are getting smaller and farms were getting bigger,” he said. “(They) didn’t want to get to a point where there is a small number of very large farms that nobody wanted to take over.”

Peddle has experience in raising cattle, but this will be the first time he tries his hand at dairy farming. He said he’s been talking with local farmers about how to do it.

“All the dairy farmers in the area are excellent if you’re looking for something or you’re looking for information,” he said. “Everybody’s there to help you out, give you a hand (and) go through the process.”

Peddle hopes the estimated six-month building process will begin within a month. The farm will be located on a 120-acre lot across from Bayview Gardens.

Currently there are 39 registered milk producers in the province. In 2006 they produced over 48.5 million litres of milk, valued at $37.8 million.

Although current statistics weren’t available, the website did state that continued growth was anticipated.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture could not be reached for comment before deadline.

The Packet