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young Dairy Leaders Consistency in Change
   Mariah Schuurman B.A., Trinity Western University
Michael Haak is a fourth generation dairy farmer in Enderby, BC. It was Michael’s great-grandfather who began Northview Dairy Farm in 1948 in Abbotsford, BC. Prompted by the opportunity to grow, the cows were moved to Enderby in 1997. After graduating high school, Michael excitedly jumped into farm work with
his father.
Family Focused
Michael was just 28 when his dad passed away in a farming accident. Grief, he says, took its time, but the community around him was generous and supportive, noting that it was neat to see farmers coming together.
“It felt like a good base to land on.” He is grateful to his community for the support they provided his family during the loss. Losing his father, he conveys, changed his perspective on what matters to him, reminding himself to hold his loved ones closer.
Michael and his wife, Shawna, were married in 2001. Together, they have four daughters, Cheyanne, Emmersen, Isabella, and Brunelsia; and two sons, Mason and Darvens. Brunelsia and Darvens joined the family in October 2021, and they are excited to continue their journey forward.
Cheyanne, Shawna, Michael, Emmersen, Isabella, Mason and in front, Brunelsia and Darvens.
 Local Leadership and Industry Involvement
  A dedicated member of his local community, Michael has been active on church boards and coaching his daughters’ fastball teams. He enjoyed the opportunity to develop new, dynamic relationships and work as a team in these active settings. His approach to coaching? Let kids be kids. “We go as deep as they want to go,” he smiles, but what he likes to see is that the kids have fun.
Michael has served with the Kamloops Okanagan Dairy Association (KODA) for nine years
Challenges/ Opportunities
Mentioning his frustration surrounding the uncertainty in the industry, Michael says, “We continue navigating supply management alongside a rising import market.” He suggests that the amount the government has compensated the dairy industry
and has had the opportunity to work on Breakfast on the Farm initiatives, implement food bank donations, and organize local dairy meetings.
His interest in marketing spurred him to join BC Dairy’s Marketing and Community Engagement Committee. Relatively new to the position, he remarks that it’s important to have producer voices at the table. As one of the BC Delegates for Agrifoods, he affirms that these opportunities allow him to continue educating himself on niche areas of the industry.
does not offset the long-lasting effects of the recent trade deals. “I think this will negatively impact all three pillars of supply management and has set a precedent,” says Michael, “Farmers will have to adjust how they manage their farms.” With the summer drought and the disruption of the supply chain caused by COVID, farmers are experiencing higher input costs including feed. “There are things going on beyond our control,” he asserts.
Michael Haak’s experience in community leadership has taught him to be open to people’s concerns and foster relationships. He loves farming and is always curious to learn more about the industry and the people involved at every level. Frustrated by the uncertainty caused by CUSMA, Michael continues to be reassured by the reliability of his dairy community. “The industry is full of good, smart, innovative, and caring people,” he professes.
Opportunities will present themselves for producers as the government strengthens their support for supply management. Confidence in the government’s support of the dairy industry plays a major role in what the producer and the processor invest in. In the meantime, continued consistency in producing high quality milk while adapting to changing markets will ensure dairy continues to be a stable, supply-managed commodity.
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