Dairy farmers are only paid for milk they produce within their quota. Their production is tracked by Alberta Milk as it is delivered every other day to the processing plant. This also holds them accountable for producing an amount of milk that reflects their quota. While farmers are expected to produce milk to their monthly quota holdings, they do have the flexibility within the month for day to day fluctuations in milk production caused by events such as changing cow numbers, weather extremes, or using different feed, for example.
When an individual farmer’s production has exceeded the amount of their monthly quota, he/she is not paid for any milk that was produced above that quota limit. However, this “over quota” milk is still sold to processing plants and the resulting revenue is shared with all of the dairy farmers in the province.
If an individual farmer produces under his/her monthly quota, the remaining quota capacity is temporarily allocated to the other dairy farmers in the province to be filled. This ensures consumers will have access to a continuous supply of fresh milk.
The quota system itself is relatively complex, so if you have any further questions, please call the Alberta Milk office at 1-877-361-1231.