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You are to be congratulated on your efforts to promote research into Scarborough's history. You obviously have put a great deal of time and effort into researching your book Neigh the Front -- Exploring Scarboro Heights and developing a variety of on-line research resources. We also appreciate your obvious interest in the dairy industry and your promotion of student research into this area.

There were certainly a number of local and regional dairy organizations that were formed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You note in your research that Alexander McCowan was involved with a milk organization in Scarborough in 1892. Some reference books we have, such as Dairy Farmers of Canada's A Hundred Years in the Dairy Industry, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food book, Dairy Branch and 100 Years of Service, document the Canadian Dairymen's Association which was organized in 1867 in Ingersoll, Ontario. They also mention the Ontario Dairymen's Association, which was organized in 1871 in Belleville.

While these national and provincial groups involved in milk marketing obviously precede 1892, that should not detract from the important local efforts by milk producers throughout Ontario during this time to form a dairy organization. The most important factor in these efforts was the dairy farmers' determination to further benefit their industry.

I have discussed the nutrition essay you mention in your letter with our nutrition department. We have enclosed two Milk wristwatches that we hope you can use as prizes for this essay contest.

Thank you again for your invitation and for sharing your information with us. We are sure that students and local groups will benefit from their own exploration of their agricultural heritage.

Yours truly,

Wes Lane, Director
Communications, Administration and Planning
Dairy Farmers of Ontario


From The Scarboro Heights Record V9 #7


PS: Well, let's check. Were the Canadian Dairymen's Association (1867) and the Ontario Dairymen's Association (1871) focused on the marketing of milk -- or on improvement of the herd through breeding? A good student research project for sure!  Careful breeding and improved livestock would certainly lead to more milk. It is quite likely that "more milk" quickly became a bit of a problem -- "now we have to be smarter about marketing and selling that greater volume of milk" may have been echoed by Alex and George McCowan and others at their 1892 milk meeting in Scarborough. Ultimately, limiting the supply became the "supply management" paradigm of marketing boards in Ontario. Had it not been for supply management, the small family dairy farm would have probably disappeared from Ontario decades ago.