Kouwenberg Farms is the 2014 winner of the Ron Sampson Milk Quality Award.

The Millview farm, operated by Hans, Keys and Theo Kouwenberg, received the award during the recent annual meeting of the Dairy Farmers of PEI in Summerside. The family was praised in the award citation for their “exceptional management abilities” and the production of top quality milk.

The award was created by Ron Sampson, the udder health technician with the commodity board, in 2012 to recognize Island dairy producers who achieve a level of excellence in milk quality and who demonstrate leadership in their industry and community.

The meeting also heard three producers left the industry last year, leaving the total number of farms holding quota at182. By contrast, there were 199 dairy farms in 2011. There was a decrease of 2.5 per cent in Class 1A fluid milk sales—11,589,510 litres compared to 11,887,087 the previous year.

Meanwhile, Class 1B production (that includes milk used in whipping cream, table cream and blend) was up 2.74 per cent, standing at 840,732 litres compared to 818,339 in 2013.

The board’s annual report shows the volume of daily quota traded through the exchange increased last year, averaging 19.9 daily kilograms per month, compared to 17.6 kilograms in 2013. The average price of quota traded was $25,000 for the 2014 fiscal year with a total sales value of $5,974,000.

PEI is part of what is known as the P5—the milk boards in the three Maritime provinces, Quebec and Ontario jointly implement quota and other production management policies. Due to an anticipated increase in the marketplace, the P5 provinces increased producer quotas last year by 1.5 per cent to stimulate production. This year, the five jurisdictions are aiming for a three per cent increase in quota.

Board Chair Harold MacNevin said $24,200 was collected from producers for research last year and that was supplemented by $261,190 from other sources. The money was used to help fund the Atlantic Johnes Disease Initiative, a casein yield study, an organic cropping project and the Bovine Leucosis Virus study at the Atlantic Veterinary College.

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