Dairy Farm Investment Program: Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Phase 2 of the program

1. What is the purpose of the Dairy Farm Investment Program (DFIP)?

The Dairy Farm Investment Program (DFIP) is a 6-year (beginning fiscal year 2017-2018) $250-million program to help Canadian cow's milk producers improve productivity through upgrades to their equipment.

2. How much funding is there for Phase 2 (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023)?

$98 million in funding has been allocated for Phase 2.

3. Why did the program change from the first-come, first-served priority approach under Phase 1 to a structured random selection approach in Phase 2?

Under Phase 1, several concerns were raised with the limited time to prepare applications that overlapped peak workload periods for producers making it difficult for them to participate in the program. Secondly, some applicants reported difficulty in transmitting applications over the internet. To address these concerns, Phase 2 allows Project Requests to be submitted at any time during the opening of the application window and will use a random process to select from among those to be further assessed for funding.

4. How is DFIP funding being allocated?

Applicants will first be asked to submit a Project Request (see Section 4.0 of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide). Project Request will be ranked though a random selection process. Applicants whose projects are selected will be asked to complete Detailed Application forms. Those Detailed Applications will be assessed upon receipt by AAFC, until all funding has been fully committed for Phase 2.

Each Detailed Application will be assessed against the program's eligibility criteria.

Other considerations for applicants:

  • Based on demand, the program will strive to support investments in all provinces over the 6 year life of the program, approximately in proportion to their share of the total milk quota.
  • Only licensed dairy producers who did not receive funding under Phase 1 may apply under Phase 2
5. Will DFIP funding be allocated per province?

Yes, as in Phase 1, funding under Phase 2 will continue to be notionally allocated based on the provincial share of the national dairy quota. For example, if a province had 10% of the national dairy quota, applications in that province could receive up to 10% of the program funding over the 6-year life of the program. Should a province not have enough applications to use its entire notional funding allocation by the end of Phase 2, funding may be re-allocated to projects in other provinces following the overall project ranking system.

6. Who is eligible for DFIP funding under Phase 2?

All Canadian licensed cow milk producers are eligible to apply with the exception license holders who received funding assistance under Phas  1 are not eligible to apply under Phase 2.

7. Why were the maximum funding levels for small and large projects reduced from Phase 1?

The maximum project funding level of $100,000 will enable more applicants to participate in the program, resulting in greater productivity gains across the industry.

8. If an applicant’s project was not funded in Phase 1, will the project move automatically to Phase 2 for consideration, or will the applicant have to re-apply altogether?

Applicants whose projects were not funded in the first phase will have to re-apply for the second phase. Project applications will not automatically be carried forward to Phase 2.

9. Are projects that were started as of November 10, 2016 or later, but were not submitted for funding in the first round of applications eligible for the second round?

Only applications submitted for the first phase of the program are retroactive to November 10, 2016. For this second phase, applicants are eligible to have costs reimbursed on expenditures that are incurred on or after the program launch date (August 1, 2017). If a deposit has been paid before August 1, 2017 or a contract/purchase order signed before August 1, 2017, the equipment involved is ineligible.

10. Why are retroactive costs accepted only as of August 1, 2017, and not as of November 10, 2016, like in Phase 1?

The terms and conditions of the program only allow retroactivity to August 1, 2017 for Phase 2.

11. Why does Phase 2 of the Dairy Farm Investment Program require a two-stage application process?

It is expected that Phase 2 of the program may be oversubscribed. In order to reduce the burden on all applicants, only a preliminary Project Request with basic details is initially required. From these, a computerized random selection will be conducted to identify projects that fall within the allocated program funding. Only those selected will be asked to complete a full, detailed application.

12. If I am selected to submit a Detailed Application does that mean I am approved?

No, your application must be assessed for eligibility. You will be informed of the outcome of your application after your application is assessed.

13. What constitutes a complete Detailed Application?

The first step in the submission process is to complete a preliminary Project Request. There are no supporting document requirements at this stage.

For those applicants whose projects are selected at random for funding, submission of a detailed application will be required. A complete Detailed Application includes:

  • A complete and signed Detailed Application;
  • Additional requirements as outlined in section 7.5 of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide.

Note: For project costs included in the Detailed Application, applicants will need to attach a quote (for planned costs) or a receipt with proof of payment [for actual (already incurred and paid) costs]. Some exceptions apply; see section 7.4 of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide for more details.

14. Can I change my project between submitting the Project Request and the detailed application, if I am asked to submit a Detailed Application?

No, the equipment must remain the same and the total estimated costs cannot be increased.

15. How can I be sure the random selection process is fair?

The random selection method will be computerized and will use a recognized randomization algorithm. The process will be overseen by an independent third party.

16. How long will it take to get the results of the random selection process?

AAFC is aiming to inform applicants whether or not their projects are within the Phase 2 funding allocation within 20 business days of the close of the Project Request submission window.

17. Can I find out what my ranking is out of all the applications?

The national ranked list has been subdivided into 10 provincial lists. Projects are either within a province’s share (based on their percentage of the national milk quota) of the Phase 2 budget or they are not. All applicants will be advised whether their projects have fallen within the funding available. Should funding become available through the assessment of projects, additional projects not originally assigned funding will be notified that those applicants may be eligible for funding. At that point, the applicant will be asked to complete a Detailed Application.

18. Is there a deadline for program applications for Phase 2?

Project Requests submitted to the program will be accepted for a 5 week period. Applications will not be accepted prior to the opening of this submission window or after it has closed.

19. How accurate should my budget be in the Project Request?

Although quotes and/or invoices are not required at this step, suppliers, installers and/or shippers should be consulted to have an accurate and realistic budget as well as planned project financing. Note: Quotes and invoices will be required for applicants selected to submit a detailed application to the program.

20. How many projects can I submit?

Applicants may only submit one project per dairy license under Phase 2.

21. Can projects, activities and budgets span over multiple years?

Project activities and costs may span over multiple years; however, under Phase 2, projects must not begin before August 1, 2017 and must end by March 31, 2023.

22. Is there a maximum funding limit for projects that will be considered?

The maximum DFIP contribution per project under Phase 2 is $100,000.

23. Is matching funding required?

Eligible costs are to be shared 50:50 between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the applicant.

When including funds from other government sources to meet the applicant's 50% share, the maximum level of total government funding shall not exceed 85% of eligible costs per project.

24. What are the eligible activities?

Eligible activities include:

  • Hiring of external expertise (consultants) to assess how the dairy farm enterprise can improve efficiencies and productivity;
  • Purchasing, shipping, and installing eligible equipment (that is, barn equipment, commercial-off-the-shelf software and IT infrastructure, please see Annex A of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide for a list of eligible equipment types);
  • Training necessary to operate eligible equipment; and
  • Retrofits of current facilities within the existing barn footprint related to the installation and operation of eligible equipment.
25. What types of costs are eligible?

Please refer to section 3.4 of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide.

26. Can I expand my barn?

Yes, but the cost of the expansion is not covered by the program. Only the eligible equipment cost and the cost of installing it (including any related retrofits) are covered.

27. Is new construction eligible?

No, the cost of the new construction such as a barn is not covered by the program. Only the eligible equipment cost and the associated costs are covered.

28. I have purchased equipment that is outside the barn. Is it eligible?

No, only equipment that is installed or used in the barn is eligible for funding.

29. Are costs incurred before an application is submitted eligible under the program?

Under Phase 2, the program offers applicants flexibility to seek funding for eligible activities that started on or after August 1, 2017.

Please note: while the program allows for retroactive activities and costs to be submitted, the applicant assumes the risk of not being reimbursed should:

  • the project not be approved
  • the costs are deemed ineligible
  • funding has been exhausted

Please refer to the Phase 2 Applicant Guide for more details.

30. Are there any ineligible costs?

Yes, for example, costs for equipment outside the barn, barn extensions and used equipment are ineligible. A complete list of ineligible costs can be found in section 3.5 of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide.

Please refer to section 3.0 of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide for more details.

31. Why is used equipment ineligible?

The program seeks to help dairy farmers to modernize and increase their competitiveness through investments in new farm technologies and upgrades.

32. I am having trouble getting quotes and invoices for my Detailed Application, can I submit my Detailed Application without them?

No, only applications deemed complete will be assessed by AAFC. Incomplete applications may result in rejection (See Section 7 of the DFIP Phase 2 Applicant Guide).

33. Why do I have to register for GCKey or provide my banking information to apply online?

As a first step in the submission process, you will be asked to sign in using the same credentials you use for online banking. This is made possible by the secure and confidential SecureKey Concierge Online Access system. Neither your bank nor AAFC will have any record of the identification information applicants use in this case to sign-on to DFIPOS.

Alternatively, you may register for GCKey. A GCKey is a confidential access tool to government services that is unique to the applicant. It lets you securely access the Government of Canada’s online services.

For more information about GCKey, please visit Government of Canada's GCKey.

34. Why should I apply online using DFIPOS?

As the primary method to submit Project Requests, Detailed Applications and Claims, Phase 2 will use an online system called DFIPOS. The online system will simplify these processes for applicants as they will be able to enter information and use dropdown menus to select responses. It will reduce errors in transmission as well as transcribing information. Applicants will not have to print, sign, scan and send the signature page of documents separately as using DFIPOS is considered a unique identifier equivalent to a signature. It will make it faster for information to get to the program. This will also expedite processing of applications. Submissions made through DFIPOS may be given priority in going through the assessment process.

35. How can applicants improve their chances of receiving project approval when preparing a complete Detailed Application?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to follow the Dairy Farm Investment Program Phase 2 Applicant Guide. Do not use the original Applicant Guide for Phase 1.

Common application mistakes to avoid include:

  • Use the Dairy Farm Investment Program only. Do not use the Dairy Processing Investment Fund forms.
  • Complete all required sections of the forms.
  • For retroactive projects, ensure that dates fall within the date limitations outlined in Section 4.1 of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide.
  • All equipment in the project must be used and/or installed in the barn.
  • Ensure the equipment in your application is included in Annex A and/or Annex B of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide.
  • If you do not receive an acknowledgement from AAFC when you submit a Project Request or Detailed Application, it has not been received.
  • Ensure that all information in your application is clearly legible and complete. Applications that are illegible or incomplete may be rejected.
36. How do I submit my Detailed Application?

See Step 10.0 How to Submit a Project Request, Detailed Application or Claim in the DFIP Phase 2 Applicant Guide. Only those identified through the random selection process as having projects within the Phase 2 funding allocation will be asked to complete a Detailed Application.

37. Will a Project Request or Detailed Application be acknowledged?

Yes. Once an application has been submitted, an acknowledgment notice will be forwarded to the applicant. If you do not receive an acknowledgement notice from AAFC within 3 business days (except in the case of mailed applications), your submission has not been received.

38. How long will it take to review my Detailed Application?

Our goal is to send an assessment decision within 100 business days of receiving a complete Detailed Application package. Update: Due to the high volume of applications, AAFC will contact applicants once the application assessment begins.

39. When will applicants know if their projects are approved?

All applicants will be notified if their project has been selected to complete a Detailed Application, once the random selection process has been completed. Once selected applicants have submitted a complete Detailed Application, the goal is to send a status report letter within 100 business days. Update: Due to the high volume of applications, AAFC will contact applicants once the application assessment begins.

General inquiries

1. Considering the volume of applications in Phase 1, will the government consider increasing the total funds available?

The budget authority for the program is $250 million over six years.

2. What happens to the money from any approved project which claims less than what they were approved for? Are those amounts added to subsequent years?

Funds that are not used from an approved project will be allocated to projects on the waiting list. This approach will help to ensure the program funds are fully committed.

3. What happens in the event of project delays (that is, if projects are unexpectedly pushed back and are completed after the end of the 6-year program)?

Program authority ends on March 31, 2023. Accordingly, any eligible costs incurred after that date will not qualify for a program contribution.

4. What happens to projects that remain in the queue at the end of the second phase?

Projects that remain in the queue at the end of the six-year program will not be funded since the program authorities end in 2023.

5. Are purchases from suppliers outside Canada eligible?

Yes. New and commercially available barn equipment is eligible under the program (see Annex A Eligible equipment types of the Phase 2 Applicant Guide).

6. Is there a plan to broaden the scope of acceptable projects to those outside the barn (such as manure spreading equipment or irrigation equipment)?

The objective of the program is to improve productivity through upgrades to barn equipment pertaining to dairy production.

Given the wide variety of eligible equipment, the popularity of the program and the fact that the first phase was fully subscribed, there is no plan to broaden the list of eligible equipment to include equipment outside the barn.

7. Will there be a third phase of the program?

No, the budget remaining in the program is $98 million. If it is fully allocated through Phase 2, there will be no openings for further applications.

8. What happens if there is funding remaining at the end of Phase 2?

In the event there is funding remaining in the Program at the end of Phase 2, a new application window will be opened. All dairy licenses will be able to apply including those allocated funding earlier in the Program.