Alberta Milk is a non-profit organization that represents Alberta’s dairy producers.

They are a non-profit farmer-driven organization, guided by a board of directors and delegates, whom are all dairy farmers. They are solely funded by Alberta’s dairy farmers and all dairy farms are family-owned and operated. They support dairy farmers in their work to produce safe, nutritious food in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way.

Dairy farms are in strong demand in Alberta. There is significant interest from farmers in Alberta, looking to purchase dairy farms. Our office receives multiple calls a week from existing farmers looking to run a second farm, from experienced dairy farmers who have immigrated to Canada, and from farmers in other sectors.

There are also several young people who enter the industry each year, as many are second generation farmers, following in their parents footsteps. Thanks to the stable and predictable incomes provided through our marketing system, supply management, farmers are able to plan for the future of their farms and their families.

Alberta Milk also offers a New Entrants Assistance Program. The goal of the program is to assist passionate, knowledgeable individuals and families who want to start a dairy farm by alleviating some the start-up costs of dairy farming. This program strives to accomplish this goal by loaning a small amount of production quota to successful applicants to assist them in establishing a viable dairy farm.

The Canadian dairy sector operates under a supply management system based on planned domestic production, administered pricing and dairy product import controls. The dairy industry ranks second (based on farm cash receipts) in the Canadian agriculture sector ranking just behind red meats.

In addition to being world-renowned for their excellence, the Canadian milk and dairy products are recognized for their variety and high-quality. Enforcement of strict quality standards on dairy farms and in processing plants enhances this international reputation, along with a strong commitment to sound animal welfare practices and environmental sustainability.

The table below highlights some key features of the Canadian dairy industry:

2018-2019 Highlights

Total net farm cash receipts from dairying$ 6.64 billion
Dairy cattle population (dairy cows and heifers)1.41 million head (July 1, 2019)
Number of dairy farms10,371 (Aug. 1, 2019)
Milk production92 million hl (2019)
Organic milk production1.3 million hl (dairy year 2017/18)
Processing sector
Largest processorsSaputo, Agropur and Parmalat
Dairy manufacturing shipments$14.8 billion (2019)
Number of plants523 dairy plants (2018)
Milk utilization
Fluid milk27.38 million hl (2018)
Industrial milk62.24 million hl (2018)
Production of main products (2018)Cheese (510.3 thousand tonnes)
Yogurt (387.7 thousand tonnes)
Hard ice cream (146.2 thousand litres)
Butter (116.1 thousand tonnes)
Skim milk powder (108.2 thousand tonnes)
Per capita consumption (2018)Fluid milk (65.85 litres)
Cheese (14.51 kg)
Cream (10.70 litres)
Yogurt (10.22 litres)
Butter (3.33 kg)
Dairy workforce
Manufacturing sector (2018)
Dairy farm operations (2016 Census of Agriculture)

(23,417 jobs)
(18,805 jobs)
Dairy products
Imports (2019)$948.1  million
Main products importedCheese, butter, milk protein substances, and whey products
Major suppliersUnited States, New Zealand, France and Italy
Exports (2019)$430.7 million
Main products exportedSkim milk powder, cheese, whey products, products consisting of natural milk constituents and yogurt
Major marketsUnited States, Egypt, Philippines and Algeria
Dairy genetics
Net exports (Bovine embryos, semen and live dairy cattle)$148.9 million
Major markets for Canadian animal geneticsUnited States, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation (Dairy cattle)
United States, the Netherlands, and Brazil (Dairy Semen)
Japan, Australia, and Germany (Embryos)

Source: Canadian Dairy Information Centre