Dairy Farmers of Canada: Dairy Production Research Funding Program 2023


Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC)


Dairy Production Research Funding Program



DFC’s Dairy Production Research Funding Program offers financial support for research projects in the area of dairy farm sustainability and animal health, care and welfare. Projects are peer-reviewed and evaluated by an expert committee comprised of renowned researchers, technical experts and dairy farmers.

The objective of the Program is to foster innovation, increase farm efficiency and sustainability, and enhance animal health, care and welfare practices. Research projects submitted should aim to solve problems/issues that have a national perspective.

Research Priorities

Research priorities targeted in the 2022 Call for Proposals:

Dairy Farmer Sustainability 

  • Design crop rotation systems and study complex forage mixtures adapted to the region and soil type, intercropping, interseeding, double cropping and cover crop practices to improve soil health, control weeds, optimize yields and maintain nutrient value throughout entire season. 
  • Improve forage quality, yield and resistance (drought, flooding, winter survival) through breeding and management practices (for cropping and conservation), such as increasing the nutritive value, extending productive longevity and reducing fall dormancy of alfalfa and increasing the yields of grasses (regrowth) during the summer. 
  • Optimize best management practices for manure, nutrients, and pesticides in various cropping systems. 
  • Identify strategies to mitigate GHG emissions (primarily from cows and manure management) that take into consideration the practicality, impact/effectiveness versus costs, using transdisciplinary approaches (e.g., living labs or open innovation). 
  • Investigate synergies/trade-offs between climate change adaptation and GHG emissions mitigation strategies.
  • Assess and demonstrate the short- and long-term benefits and impacts of increased biodiversity on dairy farms. 
  • Investigate the potential of strategies such as pasture lands, complex crop mixture, use of plants in intercropping or on uncropped land (riparian zone, wetland restoration, woodlots, etc.), and other initiatives (e.g., bat boxes) to promote plant and animal biodiversity and pollinating insects.  

Animal Health, Care and Welfare

  • Explore actions that could be taken at the farm level to bring the Solids Non-Fat to Fat ratio (SNF/F) closer to the Canadian market needs.  
  • Develop targeted reproductive strategies that minimize interventions while maintaining/improving fertility.
  • Design quick, accurate, consistent, cost-effective means for routine locomotion assessments on farm (using Artificial Intelligence and other automated means) and easily accessible data monitoring systems to improve early detection, treatment and pain management of lameness in individual dairy cows and younger dairy cattle. 

Note: Economic impacts of new strategies, tools, practices, and technologies to be implemented on Canadian dairy farms must be assessed as part of the Project.


Researchers from Canadian universities and from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research and development centres are eligible to apply to the Program. Non-Canadian researchers could be considered as co-investigators or collaborators. 

The Principal Investigator (the “Principal Investigator”) is responsible for the complete direction of the approved Project (the “Project”) and other activities associated with its efficient execution. The role of the co-investigator(s) in the Project must be clearly defined. Students and trainees are normally not eligible to act as co-investigators. Postdoctoral fellows may act as co-investigators, but the payment of their salary will not be eligible under the Program in such a case.

A researcher cannot simultaneously have two projects under this Program for which they are the Principal Investigator. However, a Principal Investigator can be a co-investigator for no more than one additional project.

DFC encourages networking. Projects should, when possible, involve complementary teams of researchers from across Canada. 

Commercial product research and development is not eligible.

Funding Availability

DFC's available envelope for this call for proposals is approximately $400,000.

Maximum Project Value

Value and Duration 

The funding provided under this program is for one (1) to three (3) years. The amount requested from DFC can be up to $50,000 per year and represent up to 50% of the total project costs.

Matching funding/other sources of funding 

The funds that will be requested from other sources must be described in the Budget Section of the PDF form. Principal Investigators must have verified with the funding agencies/partners if the Project complies with the research priorities and guidelines of the agency/partner.

Principal Investigators must submit their projects to the funding agencies/partners for matching funds no later than 90 days after the receipt of the conditional approval of the Project by DFC. 

Indirect Costs

DFC will pay no indirect costs.

Special Notes

Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Please submit your LOI, along with an OR-5 Form to research.services@uoguelph.ca.

External Deadline

Applicant to submit LOI form to DFC.

Internal Deadline

For those invited to full-proposal, submit a copy of your application to research.services@uoguelph.ca.


External Deadline

Funding proposal submission deadline (by invitation only).

How to Apply

The Letter of Intent Form and DFC Dairy Production Research Funding Program Guidelines can be found on the program webpage

For Questions, please contact


All inquiries for additional information pertaining to any of the above points should be directed to dairyresearch@dfc-plc.ca.  

Office of Research

Kristin Zimmermann, Senior Grants & Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x56257

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