Dairy Industry

British Columbia ranks first in Canada for the highest provincial herd, milk quality and average milk production according to annual national summaries and milk quality statistics.

Most of the B.C. dairy herds are located in the Lower Mainland, southeastern Vancouver Island, and north Okanagan-Shuswap area.


British Columbia’s current average herd size is approximately 140 cows. Approximately half of milk production is utilized for fluid milk sales, while the other half is allocated to non-fluid industrial dairy product sales.

Best practices and useful resources for the dairy industry have been compiled into this helpful guide:

Learn how to start a new farm, prepare a business plan, or access funding for your agricultural business:

Food Safety

As of February 1, 2013, it became mandatory that every licensed dairy be certified under the Canadian Quality Milk on-farm food safety program.  Learn more:

Pathogens may contaminate milk and proliferate during storage on-farm. Learn how to apply good milking practices to farms that produce milk for human consumption:


Under the Milk Industry Act, dairy farms are inspected and dairy farmers are required to provide facilities that ensure safe and clean milk production and handling. They must also provide adequate housing and waste handling facilities. The B.C. Government oversees farm inspection, raw milk handling and milk testing and is also responsible for dairy plant and final product evaluation.

The Food and Drug Act of Canada states that all milk from all species must be pasteurized for sale for human consumption.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has a mandate to ensure a safe food supply for everyone in Canada.  Other local, provincial and federal legislation and regulations apply.