Ontario’s advertising pullout causes headaches for DFC

The decision last June by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario to pull out of national dairy advertising is forcing change at the national Dairy Farmers of Canada.

The decision, which took effect in January, delayed the DFC 2018 budget as the national organization reworked staffing and commitments based on losing $37.5 million in 2018, the amount Ontario normally would have contributed. DFC had a budget of $89 million in 2017.

A large proportion of the DFC budget goes to national promotion and education.

Sorting out the new budgetary reality will continue with the 2019 budget, said Sylvie LaRose, DFC’s director of finance, at the DFC’s annual policy conference in Ottawa.

Ontario’s concerns with marketing and promotion at DFC started about six years ago, says Dairy Farmers of Ontario board chair Ralph Dietrich, who is also a DFC board member. There was an increase in promotion fees to producers at that time.

“There were questions on this from the producers’ perspective,” said Dietrich.

“They agreed with it, but conditionally, and one of the conditions was to see how the money was being spent and what is the return on the investments.”

The request for that information was made, but “unfortunately we did get what was required. We needed it as a board to pass it on to producers who were asking us for it.”

The lines of communication remain open and Ontario will continue to work with DFC on some promotion projects. DFO has expressed strong support for the rest of DFC’s mandate.

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