By Connor Lynch
KINGSTON — When Feihe International announced its plans to source more goat’s milk for its Kingston-area plant than Canada produces, there was a lot of excitement around Frontenac County.
Much of that excitement has turned to anxiety and doubt at the producer level. Many dairy goat producers, with few visible waves from Feihe or the major goat’s milk brokers, are skeptical about their opportunity to send milk to the Chinese-owned plant.
Some have even expressed concerns that Feihe has no intention of buying milk, but plans to buy goats to run its own farm. In talks with the company, OMAFRA and Frontenac County have only ever heard otherwise.
Frontenac County’s manager of economic development, Richard Allen, who visited China while early negotiations were taking place, said that Feihe has “always indicated to us that they wanted to work with the existing dairy system.” However, they are interested in working with brokers, not individual farmers.
Horne said that Feihe has had meetings with Gay Lea and the Ontario Dairy Goat Co-op, Ontario’s two largest goat milk brokers.
“As far as we know, this is an opportunity for the Ontario dairy goat industry to grow, and for existing farmers to have more supply commitments,” he said.
According to spokesperson Bianca Jamieson from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Feihe not only participated in a roundtable with producers, brokers and industry organizations in December, 2017, but has been in contact with Quebec dairy goat producers regarding additional goat’s milk supply.