Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph have united to provide a strategic roadmap to support Canada's dairy sector.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is the Director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University.

"We are seeing an erosion of the number of farms," he said. "It doesn't necessarily mean that we'll produce less milk, it's just that fewer farmers will be producing the milk that we need. The focus has very much been about managing decline, the focus hasn't been about growth at all. That's a problem. That's why we think it's important to look at markets abroad as a country and see how we can actually expand."

Charlebois says they've been in touch with Dairy Farmers of Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada about their findings.

The purpose of the report released by both Dalhousie and Guelph Universities is to outline a 20-year plan for modernizing supply management, fundamentally changing it to allow the Canadian dairy industry to become more competitive. The universities are calling this plan Supply Management 2.0.

Supply Management 2.0 comprises four steps:

1. Create a voluntary program for dairy farmers to exit the industry.
2. Make significant changes to the Canadian Dairy Commission.
3. Remove interprovincial trade barriers on dairy products and create an innovation fund for the sector.
4. Initiate a 20-year plan to reduce general tariffs, develop an exporting strategy, create a Canadian brand and provide incentives for innovation.