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$1.75B aid for dairy farmers

Ottawa has announced $1.75 billion in compensation for Canadian dairy farmers to offset a loss of market share resulting from free trade agreements with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim.

Canada's approximately 11,000 dairy producers, about half of whom are in Quebec, will receive the money over eight years, with $345 million to be distributed this year.

The sums will be allocated according to producers' quotas, with an average farmer with a herd of 80 cows receiving $28,000 in the first year.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, who made the announcement Friday on a farm in Compton, Que., promised a similar program when the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement comes into force.

She said her party has committed to no longer cede market share in the dairy sector in future international free trade negotiations.

The Liberal government's March budget earmarked $2.15 billion to help farmers who lose income because of the trade deals with Europe and the Pacific Rim, both of which make it easier for foreign egg, dairy and poultry producers to enter the Canadian market.



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