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New plans to grow the dairy goat industry in ON

Mississauga, Ontario – (January 19, 2016) Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd today announced two new initiatives to grow and strengthen the burgeoning goat industry in Ontario.

At the Gay Lea Foods’ Annual Meeting, delegates approved by-law changes to expand the open membership to include dairy goat producers as producer members of the co-operative. As one of Canada’s leading dairy co-operatives and the largest dairy co-operative in Ontario, Gay Lea Foods is leading the way as the first Canadian co-operative to have both licensed dairy cow and dairy goat members.

Gay Lea Foods’ commitment to supporting Ontario dairy goat producers extends to ensuring there is a destination for the milk, the Co-operative has also made a further investment in goat processing with the purchase of a minority share in one of the premier goat cheese makers in the North American marketplace, Mariposa Dairy Ltd.

In addition to the goat milk processing that Gay Lea Foods is already doing under its own brands, this also further demonstrates Gay Lea Foods commitment to be an active investor and partner to develop the dairy goat value chain in Ontario.


  • On November 1, 2014, Gay Lea Foods acquired Hewitt’s Dairy in Hagersville, Ontario.
  • The Hewitt’s Dairy plant produces dairy cow products including milk, cream, sour cream, cultured beverages, yogourt and a full range of dairy goat products including all-natural yogourt, sour cream, ice cream, and organic goat milk.
  • Gay Lea Foods also assumed the Hewitt’s Dairy relationships with goat producers in the province, managing approximately 40 per cent of the goat milk produced in Ontario through brokering and processing initiatives.
  • Since the 2014 acquisition of Hewitt’s Dairy, Gay Lea Foods has worked closely with dairy goat producers creating two dairy goat producer advisory committees to advise Gay Lea Foods on current policies and procedures and held consultations with dairy goat producers.
  • Mariposa Dairy Ltd, located near Lindsay, Ontario produces high quality goat and sheep cheese using 100% Ontario fresh goat and sheep milk. Mariposa Dairy Ltd cheese is marketed in the United States and Canada under the brand names of Celebrity and Lenberg Farms Classic Reserve by Celebrity.


“As a Canadian dairy co-operative, Gay Lea Foods has been committed to working closely with Ontario dairy goat producers to build an innovative, growing, and prosperous goat industry. I am pleased to announce that delegates have approved new by-laws, offering Ontario dairy goat producers the opportunity to become a member of the co-operative, empowering them with a voice on the dairy goat industry from farm to processing. As producer members of the Co-operative they will also benefit from the co-operative principles that underpin our goat strategy, including voluntary and open membership, education and training, and concern for community”
– Paul Vickers, Chair of the Board

“As a dairy co-operative, Gay Lea Foods is well positioned to understand both the goat farming priorities and the need for development of innovative, high quality and safe products to meet the tremendous demand and market opportunities for goat milk products. Welcoming new dairy goat producer members and the investment in Mariposa Dairy Ltd. further strengthen the position of Ontario agri-food as a leader in both domestic and international markets.”
– Michael Barrett, President and CEO


In 1958 a group of farmers came together with a common vision – to better the lives of Ontario farming families and co-operatives. Gay Lea Foods is 100% Canadian owned and operated, with 1200 dairy farmer owners who produce 35% of Ontario’s cow milk, and more than 3800 members making it the largest dairy co-operative in Ontario. Gay Lea Foods has now opened its membership to include licenced dairy goat producers in Ontario and processes goat milk into a range of dairy products as well as serving as a broker in the sector. Gay Lea Foods is driven by innovation and growing the market for Canadian cow and goat milk. Our products include the consumer favourite Spreadables; North America’s first SmoothTM Cottage Cheese; and the introduction of an innovative snack made with 100% cheese, Nothing But Cheese.

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