Who's Who: Alberta – Tara deVries

Who's Who: Alberta – Tara deVries

Hands-on chicken farmer and dedicated transparency Ag-vocate

CPRC: Smart agriculture in the poultry industry

CPRC: Smart agriculture in the poultry industry

Smart agriculture is one of several terms used to refer to the expansion of precision agriculture.

Talking emission control at EuroTier

Talking emission control at EuroTier

Poultry production generates dust, ammonia and odour emissions that have the potential to impact air quality

Aviagen demonstrates commitment to Canadian poultry industry with new hatchery

Aviagen demonstrates commitment to Canadian poultry industry with new hatchery

The opening of a new broiler breeding stock hatchery by industry powerhouse Aviagen

Hilltribe Organics: Helping Thailand communities build egg businesses

Hilltribe Organics: Helping Thailand communities build egg businesses

In the November 2016 issue of Canadian Poultry magazine, we published a story on building inclusive businesse

August 3, 2017, Brussels, Belgium – The European Union says a pesticide-contaminated egg scare in some EU countries is under control.Dozens of farms were being checked in the Netherlands, and Belgium's food safety agency was probing how the anti-tick and flea pesticide Fipronil might have entered eggs destined for supermarkets. Fipronil is banned in products for treating animals like chickens that are part of the human food chain.European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said Thursday that ''the eggs are blocked. The contaminated eggs have been traced and withdrawn from the market and the situation is under control.''Belgian food authorities say suspect eggs have been destroyed and there is no danger to public health given the small amounts of the pesticide that might have entered any eggs that reached the market.
August 3, 2017, Shoreview, Minn. - There’s nothing like a complete, balanced layer feed. But what happens after your chickens are finished pecking away at the feeder?“Few of us consider the events after we bring a bag of chicken feed home; we just know our birds like us to keep the feeder full,” says Patrick Biggs, Ph.D., a flock nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “Have you ever thought about what happens between when a hen eats at the feeder and when she lays an egg 24 to 26 hours later?”To help answer this question, Biggs recently discussed bird anatomy with two bloggers: The Chicken Chick, Kathy Shea Mormino, and The Garden Fairy, Julie Harrison. During a tour of the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Mo., he explained once a crumble or pellet is consumed by a bird, it travels through a unique pathway for digestion with each ingredient serving a specific purpose.“Chickens are excellent converters of feed, channeling those nutrients directly into their eggs,” says Biggs. “Laying hens need 38 different nutrients to stay healthy and produce eggs. Think of a complete chicken feed as a casserole - it’s a mixture of ingredients where each part adds up to a perfectly balanced whole. Each ingredient is the digested by the hen, with many of them working together for bird health and egg production.”Ready to find out where chicken feed goes once eaten? Follow the journey beyond the feeder:Eating on the goWhile chickens need to eat to stay healthy just as people do, a bird’s digestive anatomy is quite different than ours.“Chickens don’t have teeth and they are a prey animal, so they can’t waste much time chewing,” explains Biggs. “Instead, they swallow food quickly and store it away. The crop, a pouch-like organ meant solely for storage, is the first pit stop feed will encounter.”Within the crop, very little digestion occurs. Feed will combine with water and some good bacteria to soften food particles before moving through the system. The feed in the crop will be released to the rest of the digestive tract throughout the day.The chicken stomachThe next stop in the feed journey is the proventriculus, which is equivalent to the human stomach. This is where digestion really begins in the bird. Stomach acid combines with pepsin, a digestive enzyme, to start the breakdown of feed into smaller pieces.“For birds, feed doesn’t spend much time in the proventriculus,” Biggs says. “Instead, it quickly moves to the gizzard where the real fun begins. The gizzard is the engine of the digestive system - it’s a muscle meant for grinding food particles. Since chickens lack teeth, they need a different method of mechanically digesting food. Historically, this is where grit would play a big role; however, many of today’s complete layer feeds include the necessary nutrients without a need for grit.”Absorbing the magicNutrients are then absorbed through the small intestine and passed into the bloodstream. These absorbed nutrients are used for building feathers, bones, eggs and more. Many of these essential nutrients must be provided through the diet.“For example, methionine is an essential amino acid, that must be provided through the diet,” explains Biggs. “Like all amino acids, methionine comes from protein sources and is needed at the cellular level to build specific proteins used for feathering, growth, reproduction and egg production.”This is also where calcium and other minerals are absorbed into the blood stream to be stored for bone strength and shell production.Building an egg“In addition to absorbing nutrients to stay healthy, hens also channel feed nutrients directly into their eggs,” says Biggs.The yolk is formed first. The yolk color comes from fat-soluble pigments, called xanthophylls, which are found in a hen's diet. Hens may direct marigold extract from the feed to create vibrant orange yolks and omega-3 fatty acids to produce more nutritious eggs.Next, the shell is formed around the contents of the egg in the shell gland. This is where shell color is created. Most shells start white and then color is added. Breeds like Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Marans, Ameraucanas or Easter Eggers, will apply pigments to transform white eggs to brown, blue or green.No matter the shell color, calcium is essential at this stage. Calcium travels to the shell gland via the bloodstream. Hens channel calcium first into their eggs and then into their bones. If a hen doesn’t have enough calcium, she will still form the eggshell but her bone strength may suffer which could lead to osteoporosis.“There are two types of calcium chickens need: fast release and slow release,” Biggs explains. “Fast release calcium is found in most layer feeds and breaks down quickly. This quick release is important for bird health, but can leave a void after hens have eaten and are forming eggs at night.”“Slow release calcium breaks down over time so hens can channel the calcium when they need it most for shell development,” continues Biggs. 
Seventeen-year-old high school student Bertin Cyr was working at the local chicken processing plant in northern New Brunswick when opportunity came knocking.
July 11, 2017 - Significant economic losses are attributed to immunosuppression in the poultry industry worldwide.Exposure to stressors in the poultry production environment, along with infectious diseases (viral or bacterial) that impair immunity, contribute to an overall reduction in flock health, causing a decrease in productivity.Among the different viral diseases, infectious bursal disease (IBD), Marek’s and chicken infectious anemia (CIA), are the mainly recognized and implicated viruses, causing direct negative effects on the immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to other diseases and interfering with vaccinal immunity.In immunosuppressed birds, vaccine take can be decreased or post-vaccine reactions can be excessive, allowing secondary bacterial infections, like E. coli, to enter and manifest, thus requiring antibiotic treatment.It is therefore imperative, to reduce immunosuppression to enhance the immune system, and to establish barriers to the most common routes of infection by avian pathogens. And this can only be done by building a good and solid immune foundation.How to establish a good foundation? A solid immune foundation not only enhances the immune system, but also prevents entry of other pathogens by establishing barriers. This can be done by passively protecting the progeny through breeder vaccination programs and by protecting growing chickens against immunosuppressive diseases, and their economic consequences.Many of the vaccinations performed in the field are being moved to the hatchery, which can be done either in ovo, as early as 18 days of embryonation, and at day-old of newly hatched birds. READ MORE
July 7, 2017, Langley, B.C. – Approximately 2,000 wildfires occur each year in British Columbia. The effect of wildfires on the province’s agriculture community can be devastating and costly.More than half of the wildfires in 2016 were caused by humans.With the wildfire season upon on us in B.C., there are measures that ranchers, farmers, growers, and others who make their living in agriculture can do to protect their workers and their property. Addressing potential fire hazards will significantly reduce the chances of a large-scale fire affecting your operation.Controlling the environment is important. Clear vegetation and wood debris to at least 10 metres from fences and structures; collect and remove generated wastes whether it is solid, semi-solid, or liquid; and reduce the timber fuel load elsewhere on your property and Crown or lease land to help mitigate the risk.In the case that you have to address fire on your property, have a well-rehearsed Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place. The ERP should also include an Evacuation Plan for workers and livestock.“Having a map of your property, including Crown and lease lands, and a list of all of your workers and their locations is extremely helpful for evacuation and useful for first responders,” says Wendy Bennett, Executive Director of AgSafe. A list of materials and a safety data sheet of all liquid and spray chemicals and their locations should also be made available to attending firefighters.Bennett suggests checking the Government of BC Wildfire Status website regularly to report or monitor the status of fires in your area.For over twenty years AgSafe has been the expert on safety in the workplace for British Columbia’s agriculture industry and is committed to reducing the number of agriculture-related workplace deaths and injuries by offering health and safety programs, training, evaluation and consultation services.For more information about agriculture workplace safety or AgSafe services call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca
July 4, 2017, Athens, GA - Avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is a highly contagious coronavirus found in chickens worldwide that costs the U.S. poultry industry millions of dollars annually. Although it’s largely a respiratory disease, some strains of the virus can also cause kidney lesions resulting in nephritis, and in hens, the virus can replicate in the reproductive tract causing egg quality and production losses.IBV exists in the field as many different types, defined as serotypes or genetic types. In addition, the term “variant” is often used to describe a newly identified but not yet characterized type of the virus.Currently, the best strategy for managing the disease is the use of modified live IBV vaccines. However, because different serotypes or genetic types of IBV don’t cross-protect, the disease is very difficult to control. Selection of appropriate vaccines requires knowledge about the virus type that’s causing disease in the field. READ MORE
June 26, 2017, Ontario - Infectious bronchitis infections continued to increase this year in the Ontario broiler, broiler breeder and layer sectors. Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) can be spread by aerosol, ingestion of contaminated feed and water, and contact with contaminated equipment or clothing. The IB virus is not transmitted directly from the hen to the embryo in the egg. Variant virus strains, very different to the commercial vaccine virus strains, continue to be isolated. Clinical signs can include: increased mortality with or without respiratory signs, stall in growth rate, decrease in egg production in laying birds, and increased condemnations. The virus is fragile, easy to kill if exposed to warmer temperatures or disinfectants, but it will survive longer if protected in organic material. Properly implemented biosecurity is the poultry producer’s first line of defence against IBV. Your farm biosecurity protocols should be well thought out, stringently implemented and continuously followed. The following is a list of suggested biosecurity measures for Ontario poultry farms: Each farmer, employee and every person entering any poultry barn must put on clean footwear, protective clothing and follow all biosecurity protocols. Minimize visits to other poultry production sites and avoid any commingling of birds. Avoid exchanging equipment with other poultry production sites. Ensure all vehicles/farm equipment that access the barn vicinity are clean and that the laneway is restricted/secured. If possible, have a pressure washer or a hose available to wash tires and equipment, and make this available to all service vehicles and visitors. If possible, “heat treat” the barn/litter after cleanout and introduction of new bedding, and in advance of bird placement (to 32˚C or 90° F for a minimum of 2-3 days). Note the floor under the bedding must reach 32° C for this technique to be effective. The temperature should be measured with an appropriate thermometer (consider an infrared thermometer) at multiple locations along the inside perimeter of the barn at least three times a day. Although commercial IBV vaccines are not directly protective against variant strains, they may provide some local immunity; therefore, it is recommended to use a robust vaccination program in accordance with your veterinarian’s recommendations. Industry is investigating regulatory requirements to import vaccine to protect against the new strain that has been isolated. Should you suspect any health concerns in your flock, talk to your veterinarian to determine best health management measures. Additional information on IBV is available at: http://oahn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Dec-2016-OAHN-special-report-on-IBV-FINAL.pdf http://oahn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/OAHN-Producer-Report-Q1-2017-FINAL.pdf
June 8, 2017, Quebec, QB - Extensive planning was required when poultry companies like Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson Foods announced they were going antibiotic free in their operations.“Removing antibiotics completely is still a challenge,” said Shivaram Rao of Pilgrims Pride.It is essential to have treatment options available when early signs of increased deaths are observed, he said at the animal nutrition conference of Canada held in Quebec City May 10 to 11.In 2013, less than five percent of chicken produced in the United States was antibiotic free but by 2018 about 55 percent is expected to be raised that way, said Rao.Many companies remove antibiotics from chickens at 35 days of age and have adopted new health practices that start at the hatchery. READ MORE
April 25, 2017, Columbus, OH - Keel bone health is increasingly seen as an animal welfare metric in alternative housing systems. A new research study shows the majority of keel bone damage originates from collisions with perches inside the layer house.Dr. Maja Makagon, assistant professor of applied animal behavior at University of California, Davis’ Department of Animal Science, discussed the results of a study conducted to analyze keel bone damage in a layer environment. Makagon, who spoke on April 19 as part of the Egg Industry Center Egg Industry Issues Forum in Columbus, Ohio, said the study utilized accelerometers and 3D imaging technology to study the force of the collisions and measure their effects on the keel bone.The keel is an extension of the sternum that provides an anchor for the bird’s wing muscles and provides leverage for flight. As laying hens are being removed from a conventional cage environment, Makagon said, keel integrity is increasingly seen as an indicator of animal welfare. Damaged keels are associated with increased mortality, reduced egg production and egg quality, and keel damage is likely associated with pain for the animal. READ MORE
April 17, 2017, Dufferin County, Ont. – On behalf of the four feather boards, the Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC) is issuing an Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) Disease advisory to all poultry industry service providers operating in a 10-km zone in Dufferin County southwest of Shelburne. FBCC has been alerted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) that birds from a small backyard “dual purpose” chicken flock in Dufferin County have tested positive for Infectious Laryngotracheitis. The lab submission came through the Small Flock Surveillance Project administered by OMAFRA and the University of Guelph. OMAFRA staff are providing advice to the small flock owner and his veterinarian to ensure proper biosecurity and disease control measures are implemented. This advisory status is anticipated to last until late May. READ MORE
Increased pressure on the poultry industry to produce antibiotic-free chickens remains a challenge, as rearing birds without antibiotics results in an increased risk of pathogen contamination. The Canadian poultry industry is faced with an increased risk in the development of necrotic enteritis, known to be caused by Clostridium perfringens bacterium.  
March 30, 2017, University Park, PA — Poultry and animal disease experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are urging commercial poultry producers to ramp up their vigilance and biosecurity in the wake of recent outbreaks of avian influenza in several states. In early March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) announced that a commercial flock of breeder chickens in Tennessee tested positive for highly pathogenic avian flu, or HPAI. Since then, USDA-APHIS has revealed another case of the same H7N9 virus at a second Tennessee farm, and Alabama agriculture officials announced an outbreak of suspected low-pathogenic avian flu affecting three premises in that state. In addition, low-pathogenic avian flu was reported in a Wisconsin turkey flock and a Kentucky broiler breeder flock, and routine surveillance has found the presence of low-pathogenic avian flu in wild waterfowl in various states. The pathogenicity of a virus refers to its ability to produce disease. Some H5 or H7 viruses have the capacity to mutate into "high-path" strains under certain conditions, according to Eva Wallner-Pendleton, senior research associate and avian pathologist in Penn State's Animal Diagnostic Laboratory. "Low-path AI viruses can go undiagnosed because they often produce very little illness or death," she said. "The time needed to mutate into high-path viruses varies considerably from weeks to months, or it can occur rapidly." Infection with North American strains of low-pathogenic avian flu is a common natural occurrence in wild birds, such as ducks and geese, which usually show few or no symptoms, Wallner-Pendleton explained. "But if these strains get into a poultry flock, they can mutate and become highly pathogenic, causing significant mortality," she said. She noted that poultry flocks infected with low-pathogenic H5 or H7 avian flu subtypes often will be culled to stop the spread of the virus and to keep it from becoming more virulent. The recent Tennessee outbreak occurred within the Mississippi flyway, which is one of four paths taken by wild birds when migrating in the spring and fall in North America. During the 2014-15 outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian flu that led to the loss of about 50 million turkeys and laying hens in the Midwest, the Atlantic flyway – which connects with the Mississippi flyway – was the only migratory flyway not affected. "In Tennessee, one of the affected poultry houses was near a pond, which may have attracted wild waterfowl," Wallner-Pendleton said. "In cool, wet weather, bird droppings can contain viable virus for a long time, and the pathogen can be spread to poultry flocks on people's shoes or on vehicle tires and so forth. So a key biosecurity recommendation is to prevent any contact between waterfowl and domestic poultry and to take steps to ensure that the virus is not introduced into a poultry house on clothing or equipment." Gregory Martin, a Penn State Extension poultry science educator based in Lancaster County, pointed out that state and federal agriculture officials are strongly urge producers to develop an HPAI flock plan and augment it with a comprehensive biosecurity plan. "These plans may be required for producers to receive indemnification for any losses resulting from an avian flu outbreak," he said. To assist producers in developing a biosecurity plan, Martin said, Penn State poultry scientists and veterinarians have developed a plan template that can be customized for various types of flocks.
August 14, 2017, U.S. - The company has implemented the U.S. meat industry’s most extensive third-party remote video auditing (RVA) system, is fielding what is believed to be the world’s largest team of animal well-being specialists and is introducing a pilot project for controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) at two of its poultry facilities this year. “Ensuring the well-being of the animals in our care is a core part of our broader sustainability journey and these initiatives are the latest examples of our leadership in this important area,” said Justin Whitmore, chief sustainability officer for Tyson Foods. “We’re also piloting other potential innovations as we become the world’s most sustainable producer of protein.” “Animal welfare is part science, part compassion, and it requires management commitment to learning, training and constant monitoring,” said Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and a member of Tyson Foods’ Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel. To help monitor live bird handling, the company has rolled out the industry’s largest third-party RVA program in the U.S., covering 33 poultry plants. The company is using Arrowsight, a leading provider of remote video auditing technology and data analytics services, which has extensive animal welfare monitoring experience. Video from cameras in Tyson Foods’ chicken plants is analyzed by trained off-site auditors and data feedback is provided daily, weekly and monthly to plant management to deliver excellence in animal welfare practices. Tyson Foods also is launching an innovative RVA pilot project to assess on-farm catching of birds for transport to processing facilities. Video will be audited and analyzed by Arrowsight for adherence to humane treatment of animals, allowing immediate follow-up if any concerns are identified. In addition to video monitoring, Tyson Foods is also the first in the industry to employ animal well-being specialists across all its beef, pork and poultry operations. The company has trained and deployed nearly 60 dedicated fulltime animal well-being specialists. This includes at least one at every processing facility that handles live animals, to work collaboratively with our Office of Animal Well-Being and our plants to ensure best-in-class training and 2 practices. Half of the specialists are also involved in supporting animal well-being on the poultry farms that supply the company. The specialists have experience in either processing plant or live chicken operations and will have continual training. They have participated in animal welfare webinars and a week-long summit. They are also taking a certification course through the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). Tyson Foods also will launch two pilot projects within the next year to test a process called controlled atmosphere stunning. Support of the use of gas as a more humane way to render the bird unconscious before processing has increased over the past several years among scientists, veterinarians and animal welfare advocates, since it eliminates the handling of conscious birds. The company will evaluate the results of the pilot program to determine if CAS is a reasonable alternative to the existing method before it makes decisions about deploying it at other facilities. Tyson Foods is also piloting research into chicken house lighting and enrichments for the birds (e.g. perches). In addition, the company continues to work with its poultry breeding suppliers on the important relationship between breeding and bird health. It has also conducted work on enhanced poultry nutrition and ventilation.
One of the things I’ve been most impressed by during my first few months with Canadian Poultry is how invested the industry is in animal welfare. Researchers pour countless dollars and resources into ensuring birds are treated as humanely as possible.Farms, the vast majority of which are family owned, adhere to rigorously developed welfare standards. And producers often pack educational events to learn how to better care for their livestock. “The true welfare advocates are the farmers,” one egg producer told me.It’s understandable, then, that many producers are fed up with being unfairly demonized by activists whose main agenda is to eliminate animal agriculture altogether. It’s particularly irksome when  they use misleading footage.Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) called out one such case of deception this spring. After careful analysis, CFC concluded that one activist organization was using footage from a U.S.-based propaganda video to misrepresent Canadian farming practices.“Canada’s chicken farmers are appalled by the inaccurate and irresponsible portrayal of Canadian chicken production that is being used to target retail and foodservice companies,” CFC said in a press release. It then detailed factors that set Canadian chicken producers apart. Namely, that farms must adhere to a third-party audited Animal Care Program.The messaging is part of a broader communications effort the organization recently launched. “It’s a new approach for us where we’re facing accusations directly to ensure people know the truth,” says Lisa Bishop-Spencer, CFC’s manager of communications.By educating partners and the public about its Animal Care Program, the organization wants to avoid unnecessary regulatory duplication. “We started working with our partners to make it clear – you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to animal care,” Bishop-Spencer says.As part of that effort, CFC also created a brochure that discusses “replacing gossip with facts.”What’s more, CFC hosted a Facebook live video from a farm where a producer defended Canadian farmers and talked about the Animal Care Program. The video received over 100,000 views. In addition, CFC recently launched letstalkchicken.ca, a website that educates the public on how birds are raised.The organization now wants producers to get involved. “It’s important farmers and families play a role in promoting their own practices,” Bishop-Spencer says.Consider Tara deVries, for example. The Alberta-based chicken producer is a transparency advocate, regularly hosting barn tours and teaching youth at agriculture events. We’re exciting to share her inspiring journey (see page 30) and that of several other producers in this our annual Who’s Who issue!A few bad actorsWhile it’s important to confront unjustified complaints, it’s also necessary to speak out firmly when there’s evidence of wrongdoing. That’s what CFC did when a disturbing video surfaced in June allegedly showing members of a contract chicken-catching crew abusing birds inside a B.C. broiler barn.The secretly recorded video, which made national headlines, led Elite Farm Services to fire five employees. A barn supervisor was let go as well. “We are strongly supporting the BC SCPA in their efforts to bring justice and pursue the people who’ve allegedly committed these acts,” Bishop-Spencer says. “It’s not just about standing up to activists; it’s also about doing the right thing and taking a leadership role for the birds in our care.”
In the U.K., free range eggs have outsold those laid by caged hens for the first time.Major supermarkets are committed to ending sales of caged eggs – and official figures show consumers are backing the move.From October last year to June 35 million more free range eggs were produced by UK farmers than eggs from caged and barn-raised hens.READ MORE
August 2, 2017, Lucknow, Ont. - The optimally balanced feed and current environment are often not sufficient to satisfy the animals' need for activities during forage and feed intake. This leads to restlessness in the barn and misguided pecking activities. Restlessness, plumage damage and injuries or even cannibalism are commonly the result. "Manipulability materials" are intended to give the animals the opportunity to live out their natural behavior. Such activity materials have an effect when the treatment of the beaks is given up.PECKStones provide laying hens, turkeys and broilers from the first day of life, the possibility and the incentive to deal with the material. They work on it by picking and wearing out the beak tip in a natural way. When using PECKStones, stress-triggering interactions between the animals can be avoided and the risk of feather pecking can be minimized. In addition, the animals have the possibility to add to their diet, magnesium and sodium according to their individual requirements. As these elements play a role in nerve activity, this can help to calm the animals. PECKStones are also an added, individually accessible source of calcium. This is particularly important in the evening hours when filling the calcium storages for egg formation at night.Application: Chicks and broilers from the first day of life – place the stones directly on the ground Pullets and young turkeys, laying hens – place the stones on the inverted bowl Larger turkeys depending on the age – place the stones at the activity level by means of the hanging element (can be supplied) For 500 to 800 animals, at least one PECKStone should be provided PECKStones can also be stored, they have a long shelf life when kept in a dry and rodent-free storage Key points:PECKStones... Reduce stress-triggering interactions between the animals Secure active preoccupation by consuming the material Prevent behavior deviations Promote activity and agility Satisfy the animals' need for individual intake of minerals Contribute to calcium supply for a strong egg shell Support natural beak wear The stones are manufactured in Germany by VILOFOSS. 
July 31, 2017 - Canadian egg production has risen 4.4 per cent in the past year, according to data released by Statistics Canada.Canadian egg producers generated 64.5 million dozen eggs from May 2016 to May this year, said StatsCan.Placement of hatchery chicks on farms rose four percent to 65.5 million birds from June 2016 to June 2017 and stocks of frozen poultry in storage decreased 9.3 per cent to 86,453 tonnes, from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017.Manitoba produced 6.196 million dozen eggs in the May-to-May period, valued at C$10.641 million, compared to 3.084 million dozen (C$5.559 million) for Saskatchewan and Alberta produced 5.668 million dozen valued at C$10.574 million.
July 26, 2017, McKinney, TX - Global Re-Fuel is an energy technology company that is poised to make a significant impact on poultry farming. Its PLF-500 biomass furnace offers a pioneering farm technology that addresses financial, health and environmental issues facing the agriculture industry.Global Re-Fuel’s warm-air biomass furnace – now in use on a farm in Texas – converts raw poultry litter into energy, providing heat to broiler houses while creating a pathogen-free organic fertilizer.“A ton of litter has the equivalent energy content of 67 gallons of propane. Extracting that heat and using the ash as fertilizer is a really good situation, which not only helps farmers, but is also beneficial to the environment,” says Glenn Rodes, a farmer who has used the technology on his Virginia poultry farm.As the number of poultry operations in the U.S. increases, so do the attendant problems. Today, there are more than 110,000 broiler houses in the country, with that number expected to exceed 131,000 by 2024, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growth projections of the industry. More than 32 billion pounds of poultry litter were generated in 2015. That number is expected to grow to more than 37 billion pounds per year by 2024, which will exacerbate the soil nutrient overload that contributes to runoff pollution into US waterways.In addition, poultry farms require a great deal of propane to heat broiler houses, with the average broiler house using about 6,000 gallons of propane each year. In 2015, more than 8.5 million tons of CO2 were emitted from burning propane to heat broiler houses, and that number is projected to grow to almost 10 million tons by 2024, according to the USDA. Global Re-Fuel’s technology eliminates nearly 100 percent of propane usage, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 70,000 lbs/yr/house.“The Global Re-Fuel PLF-500 increases farmers’ operating margins, decreases pollution, eliminates propane usage – which reduces CO2 emissions – and improves poultry living conditions,” says Rocky Irvin, a founding member of Global Re-Fuel and a poultry grower for more than 10 years. “It’s good for the family farm and the environment.”
July 25, 2017, Gainesville, GA - Cantrell, a poultry processing equipment, parts and service company, recently made an upgrade to its CWCS-8400 Wing.The Cantrell Wing Segmenter now features stainless steel doors which offer better visibility of machine operation and easy access for adjustment. The stainless steel doors can be retrofitted to older machines.The Cantrell Wing Segmenter is capable of processing up to 185 wings per minute on a processing line or as a standalone application. The Wing Segmenter properly orients the wing at various line speeds for accuracy on each individual cut. The shackle transfer eliminates misfeeds. Processors can cut tips, flats and drummettes at one location. The CWCS-8400 is capable of handling varying sizes of wings.When run in cone line operations, the only person who touches the wing is the employee who cuts it off the bird. This is a labor savings for processors. When configured with a cone line, the track and shackles run in front of the employee who hangs the wings in the shackle. The shackle line is routed overhead to the cutting head of the machine, which solves the problem of transporting the wings away from the cone line.In an offline situation, Cantrell’s wing system can be loaded on both sides and configured with a cutting wheel on each end, making it possible to double the cutting capacity to 340 wings per minute.The Segmenter is designed to allow adjustments during operation and easy access for blade replacement. The CWCS-8400 is energy efficient and the open design makes for easy cleaning.For more information, please contact Cantrell at 800-922-1232, 770-536-3611, or visit the website at www.cantrell.com.
July 21, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Portuguese barbecued chicken restaurants in Toronto are struggling with a supply shortage of the younger, smaller chickens they cook on charcoal barbecues or rotisserie spits.“Where is all the chicken?” asks Guiherme Salera of the Portuguese Chicken Guys, a downtown restaurant. “We are calling all our suppliers, scrambling.”The eateries, called churrasqueiras (a Portuguese word that translates to barbecue restaurant), have over the decades become a popular dining option in Toronto; dozens of the family-owned shops thrive across the city and the suburbs. But several restaurateurs say that for the past few months they have been unable to find the 1.1-kilogram chickens that taste the best.At its heart, their beef seems to result from a clash between taste and efficiency.Canadian farmers prefer to raise heavier chickens, because they get paid by weight. Abattoirs have set up their shackle lines — where workers slaughter, defeather, eviscerate and chill the chickens — to process the bigger birds. It takes about as much time to process a small bird as a big bird. READ MORE 
Smart agriculture is one of several terms used to refer to the expansion of precision agriculture. Poultry producers have adopted some precision agriculture tools, particularly as they relate to the in-barn environment and monitoring barn conditions.Smart agriculture is the combination of precision agriculture and big data to provide livestock producers with online, continuous and automatic monitoring of animals and their environment to support optimal management. It uses a broad range of components – big data, robotics, drones, sensors, etc. – that have to be harmonized to provide real-time measurement or estimation. This allows farm managers to immediately react to data and information. Livestock processing and input sectors are also adopting smart management features in their businesses. However, the poultry sector has been slower than other livestock industries to adopt them. Part of this delay is because very little research and innovation needed to develop poultry sector-specific technologies has been conducted in Canada. Also, poultry producers may not fully recognize how these tools could enable their sector to generate higher efficiency and productivity. Applying smart agriculture tools to a cow or sow is easier to understand than how they might apply to a chicken or turkey. It is easier to apply monitoring and decision-making systems to large animals that have significant value and that can be fitted with individual monitoring devices.Yet, there are a few Canadian universities conducting research on smart agriculture applications for poultry. Dr. Martin Zuidhof of the University of Alberta is developing a precision feeder system for broiler breeders to ensure more consistency in bird condition when egg laying begins in order to improve flock production. What’s more, the University of Guelph’s Dr. Suresh Neethirajan is developing rapid diagnostic tools for use at the point of care, such as within the poultry barn, to identify disease outbreaks without the delay required for laboratory analysis.  The Canadian Poultry Research Centre (CPRC) recently added smart agriculture tools to the list of categories for its annual call for Letters of Intent (LOI). It is also investigating methods to identify potential industry issues that might be addressed using this comprehensive approach to management information and decision-making systems.CPRC 2017 Board of DirectorsCPRC’s full board returned for 2017 and has been busy working on the 2017 call for LOIs. It has also been hard at work preparing for the expected Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s call for proposals for a new Science Cluster program under the 2018 to 2023 Agricultural Policy Framework and issues that arise from the ongoing administration of the 38 active research projects. CPRC is grateful to its member organizations for their continued support of its operations and its appointees to the board of directors. Board members include: Tim Keet, chair and Chicken Farmers of Canada representative; Helen Anne Hudson, vice-chair and Egg Farmers of Canada representative; Erica Charlton, representing Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council and the third member of CPRC’s executive committee; Murray Klassen, representing Canadian Hatching Egg Producers; and Brian Ricker, who represents Turkey Farmers of Canada. CPRC also appreciates the ongoing support and input from staff appointed by member organizations to support their representatives on the board of directors.CPRC, its board of directors and member organizations are committed to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities.  For more details on these or any other CPRC activities, please contact The Canadian Poultry Research Council, 350 Sparks Street, Suite 1007, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 7S8, phone: (613) 566-5916, fax: (613) 241-5999, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.cp-rc.ca.The membership of the CPRC consists of Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors’ Council. CPRC’s mission is to address its members’ needs through dynamic leadership in the creation and implementation of programs for poultry research in Canada, which may also include societal concerns.
July 18, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Following the successful elimination of Category I antibiotics for disease prevention in Canadian chicken production, Chicken Farmers of Canada has established timelines to further its strategy to eliminate the preventive use of antimicrobials of human importance.The antimicrobial use (AMU) strategy eliminates the preventive use of Category II antimicrobials by the end of 2018, and sets a goal to eliminate the preventive use of Category III antibiotics by the end of 2020.Chicken Farmers of Canada's policy will maintain the use of ionophores (those antimicrobials not used in human medicine) along with antibiotics for therapeutic purposes to maintain the health and welfare of birds."Chicken Farmers of Canada has been a leader in antimicrobial stewardship, and this strategy provides continued confidence to consumers, customers, and to governments," said Benoît Fontaine, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada. "This strategy provides a sustainable means of meeting consumer expectations, while maintaining the ability for farmers to protect the health and wellbeing of their birds."Consumers can be assured that Canadian chicken is free of antibiotic residues, and has been for decades. Canada has strict regulations with respect to antibiotic use and withdrawal times to ensure that chicken reaching the marketplace does not contain residues, which is monitored by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.This decision builds on the objective of eliminating the preventative use of antibiotics of human importance, guided by a comprehensive strategy that involves reduction, surveillance, education, and research.The AMU strategy is consistent with the Canadian government's Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance and Use.Chicken Farmers of Canada is responsible for ensuring that our 2,800 farmers produce the right amount of fresh, safe, high-quality chicken and that our farmer's views are taken into account when important agriculture and policy decisions are made.
July 17, 2017, Developing and implementing biosecurity protocols for feed mills can be challenging. People and trucks from different farms consistently come and go, and equipment is difficult to clean.Pathogens that enter a feed mill can be disseminated to other locations, creating the potential for an animal-health issue.Enforcing a biosecurity plan is necessary to minimize adulterants and produce feed that is safe to distribute. For tips on evaluating a feed mill biosecurity plan. READ MORE
July 12, 2017 - Biosecurity needs to be approached as a comprehensive process, not as a series of segregated actions, according to Jean Sander, DVM, senior technical services veterinarian for Zoetis.For example, people about to enter a poultry house will put on their boots, coveralls, hair nets, but then remember they need a piece of equipment that’s in another house. They quickly retrieve it and bring it into another building without cleaning it first.That’s a breach of biosecurity, Sander told Poultry Health Today.The intent is to try and do the right thing, but too often biosecurity isn’t viewed holistically, continued the veterinarian, who primarily works with layer producers. READ MORE 
For as long as he can remember, Dan Kampen has been in poultry barns. “My mom introduced me to the barns before I was two years old,” the Abbotsford, B.C. turkey and egg farmer recalls.After going to university to take teacher training and spending a year in Japan, Kampen returned to the family farm, taking over management of the egg farm with his brother in 1996. “My dad believed in education,” he says. “He even offered me flying lessons.”Rough startIn 2000, Kampen bought his dad’s turkey farm. Four years later, he bought his present farm with the intent of moving both the turkey and egg production to the new location. It was not exactly the start he had imagined. “Four months later, I had a newborn child and Avian Influenza (AI) hit the Fraser Valley,” the producer says.Although his flocks were not infected, he was in an AI hot zone and among the first wave of farms to be depopulated. Eventually, all commercial poultry farms in the Fraser Valley were depopulated, destroying about 18 million birds in the highest-density poultry production region in Canada. “I had a year of downtime,” Kampen states. AI has hit the Fraser Valley several times since but Kampen has not had to endure any further depopulations.When he purchased his farm in 2004, he joined the Fraser Valley Egg Producers Association (FVEPA) and the BC Egg Producers Association boards, serving as FVEPA president for over eight years until stepping down in 2016. It was also when he started growing specialty turkeys for J.D. Specialty Poultry.Specialty turkeys“(J.D. owner) Jack (Froese) had talked to me about growing specialty birds for him when I bought my dad’s turkey farm in 2000, but I wasn’t ready and he found another grower. When I bought my new farm in 2004, he talked to me again and I agreed.”Kampen now grows about 8,000 birds per year for J.D. Although not organic, they are raised without antibiotics and fed an all-vegetable diet. “The flocks are grown for the four main holidays: Easter, the Canadian and American Thanksgivings and Christmas.”In 2009, he built a new 190-by-48-foot turkey barn. The facility is big enough to grow his quota in two flocks – one for Easter and the other in the fall. “I think RWA (raised without antibiotics) works because I have so much downtime between flocks,” Kampen states, adding the key to such production is to maintain good water and litter quality.With that in mind, he reduces the pH in his water to reduce challenges, adds Gallinet+ (an organic acid) to the feed and often top-dresses the litter to keep it dry.Between flocks, the barn gets a full floor wash. When Kampen built the barn, he put a three-inch drop on the floor to the side doors so the rinse water automatically flows to the side. “I am so happy I did that because it reduces the work,” he says.If turkey quota increases in future, Kampen hopes to grow a third flock in the summer rather than build a brand new barn.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria314621aa81 High tech conventionUnlike the turkeys, his egg farm is a conventional caged layer operation. When he built a new egg barn in 2009, it was 15 per cent larger than he needed. However, with all the quota increases egg producers have since received, he has already expanded it to accommodate about 25,000 layers.The new layer barn has tunnel ventilation, which Kampen says has made a huge difference. “On hot July days, birds were panting in the old barn but I’ve never seen an open mouth in this barn.”It is also fully metered, with real-time data available on his smartphone. “I was at a meeting in Calgary and noticed lower feed consumption so I asked my worker to check the feed bin. It was plugged. Having that information available makes leaving the farm less stressful.”He has not decided how and when, or even if, he will transition out of conventional cages but notes he did build an “adaptable” barn. “It was designed so the beams can be removed to create a floor system. It can also be divided into four zones so I can have an aviary in one or more zones.”Supply management praiseKampen is a fierce proponent of supply management, saying the future is bright for the Canadian poultry industry if the system is continued and producers can convince consumers of its benefits. He feels that is easier than many believe. “I was involved in a focus group with adult consumers a few months ago. They liked the camaraderie between growers and that we don’t have to compete with each other. They didn’t fully understand supply management but grasped that with it I wouldn’t be forced out of business by a bigger farm.”He believes one way to sell supply management is to compare it to fair trade in coffee. “People understand the concept of fair trade and if we can associate that with supply management they will support us.”
August 2, 2017, Alberta - As a child, poultry researcher Sasha van der Klein didn’t beg her parents for a puppy, but for pet chickens. By eventually fulfilling her request, her parents put her solidly on the path that has led to a Vanier Scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious award for PhD students.Van der Klein’s award is one of 10 Vaniers earned by University of Alberta students for 2017, and the only one for the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, where she is studying under the supervision of Martin Zuidhof, an expert in poultry precision feeding.Her thesis is investigating how day length during the rearing period of broiler breeders and controlling their body weight affects their reproductive success and nesting behaviour.“When you give them too much light, it prevents the birds from becoming sexually mature and laying eggs in the year they are hatched,” said van der Klein.Broiler breeders, the parents of the meat-type chicken, have to get short day lengths when they grow up, to mimic the winter season, just as most birds get in nature, she said.“This helps the chances of survival of the offspring—it’s essential for the offspring to be hatched in favourable conditions. In nature, the parents sexually mature in spring, and that increases the chicks’ chance to survive. The cue is day length, as winter days are shorter than summer days.”By answering such questions as how long the hens who had light controls during rearing look for a nest, how long they sit on the nest, and how many eggs they finally produce, she hopes to offer the poultry industry solutions for an array of concerns. These include the high percentage of unusable floor eggs broiler breeders are prone to lay, the poor overall productivity of broiler breeder hens, and also how producers can be most efficient with feed.Vanier Scholarships are worth $50,000 per year for three years and are difficult to attain because selection criteria includes not just a student’s academic excellence and the research potential of their project, but also the leadership the students demonstrate in their community or academic life.Although van der Klein is an international student who moved from the Netherlands to pursue her PhD at the University of Alberta, she quickly became immersed in assisting with complex student affairs on campus. For the past two years, she has been the vice-president of labour for the Graduate Students’ Association, assisting graduate students with compliance issues in their research or teaching assistant contracts. This year, she will be negotiating a new collective agreement for graduate students at the university.The Vanier Scholarship definitely relieves some of the many challenges a PhD student must cope with, and that’s especially welcome when a thesis project involves responsibility for the welfare of more than 200 chickens, said van der Klein.“I’m thankful to have a great team and many volunteers that helped me during my experiments, but even then the commitment to being a farmer at the same time as being a student is an intense responsibility,” she said.Van der klein’s research will take advantage of a new feeding system developed at the University of Alberta that minimizes variation in broiler breeder body weights, said Zuidhof“By controlling this variable, we have already had important new insights into sexual maturation that have not been possible previously,” he said. “Ultimately, commercial application of Sasha’s precision feeding research could decrease nitrogen, phosphorus and CO2 emissions by the broiler breeders by 25 per cent, which is transformational for the poultry industry.”
It’s difficult to sum up Tara deVries’ involvement with the poultry industry. That said, one thing is certain – her passion for farming and for supporting agriculture is strong.Growing up, she lived with her family near an urban golf course in B.C. DeVries met her first husband, a dairy farmer, in high school, igniting a fire inside her for agriculture that has never gone out.Shortly after they married, the couple left to seek their fortunes in the wide-open prairies of southern Alberta. “Although we would love to have farmed right away, financially it was not possible so we took our savings and started a manure-hauling and highway trucking company,” she remembers.In early 2000, they had an opportunity to try their hand at chicken farming when the owner of a poultry operation had to unexpectedly go back to Holland. The realtor involved knew they wanted to be part of the poultry industry and asked if they would be willing to manage the farm for a time. “We were so thankful for the opportunity to get our feet wet,” she says.Just before shipping out their first flock, however, deVries’ husband was severely injured in a farm accident. She found herself not only a wife and mother to their three young children, but a nurse and farmer as well. “We had committed to three cycles and, with help from friends, we fulfilled our commitment,” she says proudly. “Then, the new owners of the farm arrived and I was now teaching them. It was an emotional day when we realized we had to step away from something we had begun to love.”In 2005, the couple was able to purchase a poultry farm in Coaldale, Alta. “We were so excited to be back at it!” she remembers. “As the years progressed, we built up a feedlot. I managed the poultry and, together, we managed the cattle and land.”In 2009, tragedy struck. DeVries’ husband took ill, and by 2011, had died of cancer. It was only with the support of family, her local church and her farming neighbours that she was able to keep her family and her farm going. “Although the months after his passing were sometimes quite overwhelming, I was committed to running a successful operation,” she says.“I learned more in those months about mechanics and furnaces, inlets and actuators, bearings and motors than I had ever known before. The feed salesman and local livestock service company were the top two numbers on my phone’s favourite list. They and others were always willing to come to my aid when I couldn’t find my own way through a problem.”DeVries married again, and her new husband’s clients were all in Edmonton. So when a farm became available in the area, they purchased it with the intent of moving there after her youngest child graduated high school. It was a great fit, as her two older children had settled there with grandchildren already born, and her youngest deciding after his graduation that he wanted to move to B.C.DeVries and her husband now farm 58,000 birds in three barns on the farm’s 25 acres. “I know this farm has been here for many years, alternating between turkeys and chickens,” she relates. “It’s about a 40-minute drive to Edmonton, and 15 of our acres are cropped by a neighbouring dairy farmer.”DeVries and her husband – who is a graphic designer with a full-time career in his field, but also helps out daily in the barn – have upgraded almost everything. “Some of the bigger changes were adding computer systems in each barn, replacing furnaces and exhaust fans, and adding stir fans to be able to create a better environment for the birds,” she says. “It’s important to me that I am able to monitor what is happening inside the barns when I am not there.”It’s also important to deVries and her husband that their children get a post-secondary education or trade outside of farming, and while both their older son and son-in-law are apprenticing in the electrical trade, they also help out at their parents’ farm with weekend chores, barn clean-outs and maintenance. “Words can’t describe how wonderful it is to work together as a family on our farm,” she says.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleriaf20dd5cb36 Ag-vocacyFor 10 years while on the Coaldale farm, deVries had hosted a farm tour for second-year agriculture students from Lethbridge College. But at the new farm near Edmonton, she hadn’t done any tours at that point.“One day a senior lady from our church mentioned she knew where we lived because she had driven through our farm,” she remembers. “At first the alarm bells went off, but then I got to thinking maybe she was just curious. I think it’s important to be transparent in our industry, so I thought what better way to educate people on where their food comes from than a farm tour.”DeVries started the day by serving 10 lovely senior ladies pastries and coffee and talking about the farm. “And then we headed to the barn to put on our coveralls and booties and have a look at the chickens,” she remembers. “They were so excited! They absorbed everything that I shared with them and when it was time to leave, they really didn’t want to.” Two days later, deVries got a text from a woman from another seniors’ group, requesting a tour. And so, she began regularly hosting tours.DeVries has also hosted the Alberta Chicken Producers (ACP) booth at Aggie Days in both Lethbridge and Calgary and found it very enlightening. “I was naive when I thought everyone knows what a farmer does!” she says. “It was so good to be able to share our industry with everyone that came through both young and old.” Most recently in terms of advocacy volunteering, deVries worked alongside ACP staff at a three-day Amazing Agriculture event in Edmonton, where 1,500 grade four students learned about where their food comes from.Transparency is a must, in her view. “There are widespread misconceptions of our farming practices in all sectors of agriculture and this places a lot of pressure on farmers,” she notes. “A recent consumer study conducted for the Alberta chicken industry, for instance, revealed that a vast majority of consumers believe that chicken in Canada is raised with hormones and steroids – both of which have been banned in Canada for over 50 years! The study also revealed that most consumers cannot differentiate between hormones and antibiotics.”She believes that while many farmers are uncomfortable with social media and other forms of public communication, there are other ways every farmer can do his or her part. She says it’s been “an incredible experience” to see how the act of hosting a farm tour or participating in a trade show immediately transforms perceptions of farming. In the fall of 2017, deVries hopes to join the Classroom Agriculture Program and attend more ACP seminars. She eventually would like to serve on the ACP board.DeVries sees a current industry challenge to be the possibility of allowing more imports into the Canadian market. “Canadian farmers are local farmers and they have been providing safe, high-quality food to Canadians for years,” the producer notes. “I know this because I grow chicken under audited, mandatory Animal Care and On Farm Food Safety Assurance Programs. Being audited every year by a third party means that I and all chicken farmers across Canada are accountable for our practices.”She believes opening up the markets to more imports will also undoubtedly place the livelihood of Canadian farming families at a great risk as well as compromise the supply of fresh, Canadian grown-products for consumers.“I’m proud to be a Canadian farmer and to be able to pass a strong and sustainable profession onto future generations,” she says. “We as farmers, along with all members of the supply chain, have a responsibility to tell our story and do our best to ensure Canadians understand how and why we do what we do and what’s at stake. If we don’t tell our story, others will.”
July 24, 2017, Lexington, KY - Connecting the farm to the lab through research is critical for agricultural innovation. Illustrating its commitment to encouraging student research, Alltech presented the 34th Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award to Matthew Aardsma of Purdue University during the 106th annual Poultry Science Association meeting, held in Orlando, Florida, July 17–20.The Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award is given to a student who is the senior author of an outstanding research manuscript in Poultry Science or The Journal of Applied Poultry Research. Aardsma’s winning paper titled, Relative metabolizable energy values for fats and oils in young broilers and adult roosters, focused on developing a bio-assay where feed-grade fats and oils were evaluated for their relative metabolizable energy content quickly and accurately. The paper showed results for several fats and oils that are commonly fed in the poultry industry, and that the results obtained for adult roosters are the same with young broiler chickens."Research is an integral part of Alltech and the poultry industry's success to date," said Dr. Ted Sefton, director of poultry for Alltech Canada. "Alltech is proud to sponsor the Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award to encourage students to publish their research in peer-reviewed journals and communicate new technologies and discoveries being made in the lab that can have a direct impact on the farm."Aardsma grew up in Central Illinois, where his parents encouraged him to explore his interests in agriculture and animal production. He received his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2013 and his master’s degree in animal sciences with an emphasis in poultry nutrition in 2015, working with Dr. Carl Parsons. After a summer internship at Southern Illinois University working in aquaculture nutrition, he began a Ph.D. program in animal nutrition at Purdue University. Aardsma is currently studying with Jay Johnson and focusing on nutrition-based stress physiology in poultry and swine.Alltech has sponsored the Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award since 2000, recognizing young leaders in scientific innovation for their commitment to publishing and sharing their work within the poultry sector.
Passion, relevant experience, commitment, dedication and time – these are just a few of the qualities that successful boards look for in their directors. When it recruited egg and pullet farmer Catherine Kroeker-Klassen, Manitoba Egg Farmers was rewarded with all of these qualities and more. She is the first woman to join the board and in March was elected vice-chair.A strong advocate for the industry, she hopes her position will help her to improve the industry for producers and consumers alike.Kroeker-Klassen is a fourth-generation egg farmer who grew up on her parents’ farm in rural Manitoba. She left for the city after high school and returned in 2002 when her father asked if she wanted to keep the farm’s books part time. Back then, she had two young children at home, so the part-time role fit her schedule well.Gradually, she took on a bigger role on the farm, eventually looking to her brother, James Kroeker, as a potential partner. “We both recognized that we had certain skills and character traits that complemented each other,” she says. “When we approached mom and dad, they were quite happy to have another generation step in.”In 2008, the siblings began to expand the family farm. “Up until that point it had been just one family, but now we were looking at supporting two or three families on one farm,” Kroeker-Klassen explains. Together, they bought more quota – both layer and pullet – and actively sought out more land to rent or buy. Eventually, the siblings took over the farm and their father took on the role of company president.Today, the pair raise 16,600 laying hens and 34,000 pullets, and crop 1,400 acres of corn, soybeans, canola and wheat near Landmark, Man., which sits 30 minutes southeast of Winnipeg. The layers and the pullets are raised in conventional barns with the hens producing white omega-3 eggs for the Omega program.On the farm, the duo is responsible for the day-to-day chores. Kroeker-Klassen’s husband, Ed Klassen, works for the Manitoba government, which takes him off farm and into the city of Winnipeg.The couple has two children, daughter Talia and son Adam. Talia and her husband, Jeremy, have an egg farm as well. Jeremy was one of the Manitoba new entrants winners, an award that gave the couple 6,000-layer quota. They’ve been in production for just over a year now.Adam is still in high school. He spends a lot of time on the farm and has a lot of mechanical skill, his mother says. Although he talks about one day farming as well, he has plans to take a welding program in the fall.As most producers will attest to, working with family on a daily basis can sometimes be tough, and farming is often isolating. Occasionally, time off the farm rejuvenates the spirit and offers a fresh perspective, which is why when it was first suggested that Kroeker-Klassen would be a great fit as director on the Manitoba Egg Farmers board she strongly considered it. But, when the idea first came up, she admits that she was not ready. “At the time, discussion here on the farm was that it wasn’t the right time – that I was still too hands-on involved in everything that was going on with the farm,” she says.A year later, another opening came up on the board, a shorter, one-year term. Although the timing still wasn’t perfect, the board’s requirements were reasonable enough that she felt she could take on the role. “My husband was probably my biggest encourager to pursue something outside of the farm,” Kroeker-Klassen says. “In his words, he thought I was kind of stagnating a bit and not using some of the skills that I had gained from my other career choices and other jobs that I had had.”Those accomplishments include administrative skills gained through work at one of Winnipeg’s largest hospitals, and the social finesse that comes with working as a real estate agent. “I guess he thought that I should probably try to branch out a little bit,” she continues. “A farm can be isolating. He was a good encourager on that.”   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria63175d967e It turned out he was right, as Kroeker-Klassen found she enjoyed working on the board. Since then, she has taken on an even more active role. In March, she was elected vice-chair of Manitoba Egg Farmers with the idea that she could possibly fill the role of chair in the future. “We work very much for Manitoba’s egg farmers, as far as developing policies and procedures to ensure that our Manitoba egg and pullet farmers are kept up to date with changing markets and consumer trends, and making sure that we are staying at the forefront of that,” she says.Those who serve on the board must be active farmers. “Because we are all active farmers the decisions we make impact us as well,” she said. “I think that’s important.”Manitoba Egg Farmers also promotes eggs and agriculture to the general public through events like the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon, Touch the Farm at the Red River Ex in Winnipeg and Agriculture in the Classroom throughout the province. “All of these are places where we can actually talk to the general public and consumers about eggs and how eggs are produced in Manitoba and Canada, and put a face to farming,” Kroeker-Klassen says.“I find that very rewarding to be able to have a conversation with somebody and show them how farming is done,” she continued. “If we can open people’s eyes to that, that’s a win in my books.”As the only woman on the board, Kroeker-Klassen brings with her a unique perspective. Her earlier, off-farm employment also comes in handy, as it enables her to see a bigger picture – one that includes both producers and consumers. It also helps that she is an active farmer at the forefront of the farm operation. “I guess I would be in a unique position in that my husband has nothing to do with the farm,” she adds. “It’s my thing. It’s my job, my career.”As someone who is goal driven, Kroeker-Klassen finds her role on the board to be deeply fulfilling. “To be able to sit in a room where we can brainstorm and plan together and see a plan executed – for me, there’s huge satisfaction in that,” she says.Keeping in line with her personality, she has also set goals that she’d like to accomplish while on the Manitoba Egg Farmers board. “I would very much like to see a national pullet agency,” she said. “Being both an egg producer and a pullet producer, I just see so much value in having a regulated agency for pullets.”Perhaps her most important goal, though, is to make the industry as good as it can be. “Not just for farmers, but for all of Canada,” Kroeker-Klassen says. “We need to protect our food supply and anything I can do to help that along, I want to try and do that.”“I like being a farmer and knowing that we’re providing safe, nutritious and economical food products, and I want to protect that for the whole country because I think it’s important for everybody,” she concludes.
As we say goodbye to 2017 this December, Baildon Hutterite Colony in Saskatchewan will begin shipping out the first organic eggs produced in the province. It will be an achievement that is the culmination of much research, discussion and planning.Baildon Colony was established in 1967 and is located just south of Moose Jaw, Sask. Colony members currently farm about 19,000 acres in a continuous rotation of wheat, barley, canola, lentils, chickpeas, peas and soybeans. “Our land is a little bit rolling, but some of it is very flat as we are near the Regina Plains,” notes layer manager Paul Wipf. “Some of our cereal crops are used for our livestock, as we have a large hog operation, dairy, layers and also some turkeys.” Feed-grade grain goes for that purpose, with additional feed grain purchased as needed, and higher quality grain is sold.Free-run transitionWhen the colony started in 1967, members built a barn for 7,000 layers and maintained that number of hens until 1983, when another Hutterite colony was established in the province. At that point, colony members bought a 20,000-layer farm and split the quota in half so, in total, each colony had about 12,000 birds.“All the hens were housed in conventional cages at the time as this was the going trend,” Wipf explains. “However, in 2009 we decided we needed to build a new pullet barn as our existing one was not big enough to produce all the pullets for our layer operation, and we decided to completely rebuild the layer barns too. The question was what kind of a layer barn do we build, as the growing concern was about whether conventional cages will be good enough in the future.”To answer this question, Wipf approached Star Egg in Saskatoon to see if they were in need of free-run eggs to fill provincial demand. The company told him there was only one small free-run producer and that, yes, free-run eggs were sometimes in short supply. After a lengthy discussion, all the colony members agreed to pursue the challenge. They also decided that they would convert the old layer barn to a free-run pullet barn, and selected Hellman Poultry for the equipment needed for this and the new layer barn.Then, in 2016, Star Egg approached Baildon to ask if the colony would be interested in turning half their free-run barn into organic production. There was no commercial organic egg producer in the province and demand was growing.“Again, after a lengthy discussion, we decided rather than convert half our barn that we would build a completely different barn, as we had some layer quota that we were having to lease out anyway,” Wipf recalls. “This January we started talking with Pro-Cert, an organic certification company out of Saskatoon, to find out what was involved to produce organic eggs and built the organic barn accordingly.”The colony again went with Hellman, and decided to situate the new organic barn close to the free-run barn. He notes that a lot of the construction of the new organic barn is made out of stainless steel, which he considers a must in free-run production.The heating system is a hot water delta tube design from Europe, which Wipf believes should be both very efficient and also easy to clean. The ventilation system is Hotraco from Holland, chosen because the colony already has this in the layer barn and it is working very well.The lighting, however, is different. Baildon went with LED lighting for the organic building because of the higher energy efficiency it provides and also because the LED fixtures are placed on the ceiling. What’s more, chickens sometimes break fixtures that hang down by flying against them.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria1eda129457 Barn design and placement aside, the colony also had to answer the question of where the organic layer feed would be sourced. The answer was considered in light of the fact that this spring, Baildon had also decided to replace its existing centralized hammer mill used to grind feed for the hogs, dairy cattle, turkeys and layers.“It had always served the colony well, but we felt it was time to change over to a disc grinder mill, as they are now more common,” Wipf explains. “The organic regulations would have allowed us to use the new mill for both organic and regular feed, but we would have had to flush the system every time we switched from one type to another, so we decided we will produce organic feed with our old hammer mill. It’s still in good-enough shape, and we’ll be making our organic layer feed with purchased organic grains.”Baildon will achieve organic certification in January 2018. The colony members had gone into the January meeting with Pro-Cert with plans to have their first organic egg layer pullets arrive in early May. However, Pro-Cert informed them of a new organic regulation that had come into effect in December 2016. The new rule requires that the free-range pasture attached to the organic layer barn be monitored for a year before certification is granted. Wipf says it was a bit disappointing to learn about this new regulation, but there is nothing that can be done to speed things up.In terms of the biggest challenge facing egg producers today, Wipf names hen housing. “The egg producers here in Canada will have to spend a lot of money in the next 15 years to change from conventional cages to enriched housing,” he notes. “However, the system has been good to us in the last 30 years, so it makes it a lot easier to accept that change.”Once organic egg production is rolling in 2018, the colony will look at its degree of success and consider expanding and growing organic feed grain in the future.
July 19, 2017, Swaziland - The Project Canaan egg farm in Swaziland has been up and running for more than a year and a half, providing a high-quality protein to children and supplying eggs to the local community, but that does not mean its supporters’ work is done.The initiative continues to grow and expand, supplying eggs and expertise to an ever-wider area, transferring skills to allow people in need to help themselves, and setting its sights on expanding horizons.The farm itself was the first step of the project, said Julian Madeley, managing director of the International Egg Foundation (IEF), which is supporting lead partners Heart for Africa and Egg Farmers of Canada.Capacity at the farm has doubled through construction of a second house, and this means that, in addition to supplying the orphanage, 4,000 children can now be supplied with an egg, which is done via 31 church feeding stations. READ MORE
July 17, 2017, Trenton, Ont. - When retired master corporal William Hawley met Prince Charles on Friday, it was a chance to say thank you — and to talk a little turkey.Hawley is a graduate of the Prince's Operation Entrepreneur program, one of Charles's charities in Canada that helps veterans transition to civilian life. In Hawley's case, that transition has led him from the battlefield to the farmer's field — his own organic poultry and vegetable operation.Hawley and his wife, Carolyn Guy, were among the beneficiaries of the program who met the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in Trenton, Ont., during the royal couple's three-day tour of Canada. READ MORE 
July 14, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - The Canadian Federation of Human Societies (CFHS) held its 60th anniversary event at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa this past April.The CFHS was attended by nearly 200 individuals, mainly those associated with animal shelters across Canada, as well as members of various animal welfare and animal rights groups (CFHS, SPCA, US Humane Societies, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Mercy for Animals).Morgan Ellis, farm animal care co-ordinator with Farm & Food Care Ontario, attended. On the first evening of the conference, there was a 60th Anniversary Awards Gala with guest of honour David Suzuki.The two-day conference was extremely worthwhile. A sincere thank you to the Canada Mink Breeders Association for giving Morgan the opportunity to attend. It was a reminder of how extreme some animal rights activists can be and what the differences are between animals rights and animal welfare.Sentiments from Catherine Moores of CMBA who also attended the conference summed it up best when she stated, “I realized that even though they may not always have the loudest voice, there are other animal welfare advocates around the table with views that are not that different than ours. The majority are likely somewhere in the middle”. Reducing the “us-vs-them” notion is important to find common ground with like-minded organizations as agriculture continues to strive to promote animal welfare.
July 7, 2017, Saskatchewan - Most agricultural research is aimed at improving crop yields and making animals healthier. Sometimes, however, work intended to make farms more productive can have consequences that reach far beyond the home quarter.One such example is Roy Crawford, a longtime University of Saskatchewan poultry scientist whose discovery of a mutated gene that caused epileptic seizures in chickens helped guide research into the seizures suffered by many humans.Crawford is also credited with developing poultry products for consumers, which according to Saskatchewan Agriculture: Lives Past and Present increased demand for birds and returns for producers on farms across the province. READ MORE
June 29, 2017 - When we think about school subjects, the usual suspects come to mind: math, English, science, and perhaps art, among the others. And while curriculums vary from province to province, there is one fundamentally important subject that is too often conspicuously absent: agriculture.Our partner, Agriculture in the Classroom Canada, is looking to change that. This national organization is working hard to enhance young people’s understanding and appreciation of the sector. And thanks to a new partnership between Egg Farmers of Canada and Agriculture in the Classroom Canada, more Canadian children will learn about eggs and egg farming.I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with the organization’s executive director, Johanne Ross, about why it’s an exciting time for young people to get involved in agriculture and egg farming. Now that the organization is reaching over one million students across the country, it might be time for even more students and teachers to sit up and take notice.How did Agriculture in the Classroom get its start?It’s evolved out of many years of provincial organizations working together.Before Agriculture in the Classroom Canada was formalized, there were 8 functioning provincial Agriculture in the Classroom organizations. We would get together to share best practices, teaching tools, and programs, so we had a really great network going.Within the last five years, we started to realize that a national voice was something that would be very useful for bringing our work to the forefront. There’s been a real shift with the general public—this includes schools—in that people really want to understand where their food comes from and how it gets to their plate.There are a lot of groups that may not be as close to our sector that would love to tell the Canadian agriculture story for us, but it’s our story to tell, to ensure we are having a conversation that is genuine, true and accurate. We’re very proud of the national structure we’ve developed. Part of the magic of it is that the provincial organizations stayed intact and are able to keep their uniqueness, participate in national initiatives, and work together to create one voice when we are speaking about agriculture education in Canada. The national Board now consists of nine provincial Agriculture in the Classroom organizations.What are the central goals of Agriculture in the Classroom?Of course, we have our number on goal, which is to engage with schools—teachers and students. What we’re trying to do is to really open their eyes to what the agriculture industry is.We want to engage them in inquiry-based learning, and for them to understand where their food comes from and how it gets to their plate; to have the knowledge and appreciation of that so they can make informed decisions.But then we take that further because we have a role to play within the industry: to be the voice of agriculture. So we try to inspire our industry partners and stakeholders, and this includes private industry and beyond, everyone to participate! Academics, universities, government—everybody needs to find their voice and join the conversation about agriculture and food.What are the benefits of Agriculture in the Classroom becoming involved with Egg Farmers of Canada?Egg Farmers of Canada and their provincial and territorial partners across the country are already doing great work and developing great materials, and our role is to become a vehicle for those materials.Agriculture in the Classroom can help Egg Farmers of Canada enhance their materials even more. We’re talking to teachers all the time about what they need, and what they want to bring to their classrooms—we can communicate that back to partners and help them to develop the right teaching tools that will be useable in a classroom.We can also help give their farmers a voice. Obviously we’re not the experts in everything, so we love bringing the people we work with into the classroom to help them tell their personal story and share their passion for what they do.How are students reacting to these resources?There are a lot of a-ha moments!We’re taking them beyond their supper plate or the grocery store, so they can understand what this sector is all about. For younger kids, it’s exciting for them just to understand what food comes from what crops and animals. As you get into the older age groups, you can take them through all the careers and discuss how dynamic the industry really is. There’s so much beyond the farm gate—not that the farm gate isn’t important; that’s where it all begins.This knowledge really opens up student minds to what could be available for them—they can work outside, in downtown Toronto, or wherever. We have so much to offer, and this industry is going to continue to need bright young people to take an interest in the agriculture and food sector as a career choice because we will always have the need to feed more, and to produce food sustainably.There are jobs coming up for young people that we don’t even know about yet—that’s how quickly it’s moving. Agriculture is just exploding with opportunities for young people.What do your future plans for Agriculture in the Classroom look like?We’ve just had some exciting news in that the federal government is going to be extending funding to AITC Canada over the next year, and so we’re ramping up our educational offerings.Among other initiatives such as a national Agriculture Careers Program, the funding will be going towards the development of something that we’re calling the Canadian Educator Matrix, an online tool for teachers. For example, let’s say I am a teacher in Toronto—I can go on the matrix and say that I’m a grade 10 teacher in Toronto, teaching science, and I want to know what’s available and related to my specific provincial curriculum. After customizing my search with filters and themes, all related agriculture resources will appear for me to investigate.It will be a one-stop online shop for teachers to find out what agriculture and food resources and opportunities are available to them.
June 29, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Yorkshire Valley Farms is pleased to launch its organic pasture-raised egg program for the 2017 season.In addition to following organic practices, farmers in the pasture-raised program provide an enhanced pasture area for hens to forage outdoors. As with all Yorkshire Valley Farms laying hens, the pasture birds enjoy organic non-GMO feed and a cage-free environment in which to lay their eggs.Since ‘pasture-raised’ is not a defined labelling term in Canada, Yorkshire Valley Farms set about to create a set of standards to which all participating pasture farmers must adhere.These pasture-raised criteria incorporate the organic standards, while also requiring that hens spend a minimum of 6 hours outdoors per day, weather permitting, in an organically-managed pasture that offers at least 20 ft2 (1.85m2) per hen.The realities of the Ontario climate mean that this enhanced pasture access can only be ensured for a limited period each year. The pasture program generally runs from late May to October and the eggs are offered as a special seasonal offering.When consumers buy a Yorkshire Valley Farms product labelled ‘pasture’, they are getting a product that comes from animals that have truly spent time outdoors, foraging on pasture.In 2016, CBC Marketplace conducted nutritional analysis of a range of eggs and found that eggs from hens that spend time on pasture have higher concentrations of fat-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. In particular, eggs from Yorkshire Valley Farms growers had more than double the amount of vitamin D, 3.5 times more vitamin E, and were the lowest in saturated fat compared to other eggs included in the sample set.
Half of Canadians are unsure about whether our food system is going in the right direction. It’s with this as the backdrop that the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) launched last summer. Its goal is to help Canada’s food system earn trust through research, dialogue and forums.Understanding consumer concerns and questions is the important base everyone in the food system needs to set benchmarks for success in communicating with Canadians about our food and how it’s produced.  Success will only happen if there are shifts between consumer expectations and industry practices – the two must be more closely aligned. New public trust research by CCFI aims to help bridge that gap. It shows the rising cost of food and access to healthy, affordable food as two top concerns for Canadians, above concerns for health care or the economy. But with 93 per cent of Canadians saying they know little or nothing about farming, determining fact from fiction about our food continues to be a growing issue. The study, which polled 2,510 Canadians, shows two-thirds want to know more about how their food is produced. Overall impressions of agriculture and trust in farmers and researchers are high.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria6d61e9202c However, when asked specific questions on topics like antibiotics, environmental stewardship or GMOs, the support shifts significantly from positive to close to half being unsure.   When people are unsure, it’s easiest to be against something. Advocating for scientific advancements in general requires significant planning, strategy and resources to be effective. Advocating for scientific advancements related to food requires even more effort and investment.   After studying lessons from losing social licence and public trust in other sectors like oil and gas and forestry and agri-food sectors in other countries, we clearly need to be proactive and transparent about how our food is produced in Canada. The CCFI research shows it’s an opportune time to open up more dialogue with Canadians. Let’s bridge the gap between farm gates and dinner plates!Crystal Mackay is president of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, which represents a coalition of farmers and associated food and agri-businesses proactively working together to provide credible information on food and farming. She is a dynamic presenter who has delivered hundreds of presentations to a broad range of audiences from farmers to university students to CEOs across North America. Visit www.foodintegrity.ca for more information on the organization’s work and a summary of key research findings. Look for new work on public trust in food and transparency to be released at the CCFI Public Trust Summit Sept. 18-20, 2017 in Calgary.
July 28, 2017, Qingdao, China – Experts from agricultural colleges and research institutions throughout China joined together to discuss agricultural and environmental challenges, including how to reduce waste and making farming operations more sustainable, at a recent Alltech China Research Alliance meeting, held in Qingdao.Alltech China has built long-term cooperative research relationships with 10 well-known universities, research institutes and leading feed and food enterprises.“The Alltech China Research Alliance is focused on building toward a green agriculture future in China,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president and head of Greater China for Alltech. “The roadmap to this future requires practical solutions, which will be developed through advanced scientific research and technology and the powerful partnership of these leading agricultural minds.”Defa Li, professor at China Agricultural University and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Kangsen Mai, professor at Ocean University of China and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, along with more than 30 other professors from agricultural colleges and research institutions, attended and spoke at the meeting, sharing the results of their latest research.“This meeting of the alliance explored how to reduce antibiotic residues in food, how to effectively use limited resources in the midst of population explosion, and how to reduce water and soil pollution,” said Karl Dawson, vice president and chief scientific officer at Alltech.A new mycotoxin detection methodThe Institute of Agriculture Quality Standards and Testing Technology for Agro-Products of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IQSTAP) has established a method for the simultaneous detection of 21 mycotoxins, or their metabolite residues, in the plasma of animals. These include toxins such as aflatoxin B1. This testing is expected to become the agricultural industry standard for the detection of mycotoxins in China.Recently, Alltech and IQSTAP published an article entitled "Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Simultaneous Determination of 21 Kinds of Mycotoxins or Their Metabolites in Animal Plasma." Dr. Ruiguo Wang of IQSTAP, who introduced the study, says that it established a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method that simultaneously detects animal plasma aflatoxin B1 and 21 other kinds of mycotoxins or their metabolite residue.Existing mycotoxin detection methods have very complex sample treatment operations, and high detection costs make it generally difficult to do a variety of simultaneous determinations of mycotoxins. The QuEChERS method (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, Safe) is a fast, sample pre-treatment technology developed for agricultural products. It uses the interaction between adsorbent filler and the impurities in the matrix to adsorb impurities to achieve purification.In this study, 21 samples of mycotoxins and their metabolites in animal plasma were developed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) based on the QuEChERS principle. The method is simple, rapid, low-cost and accurate. It can be used for combined mycotoxin animal exposure assessment and mycotoxin toxicokinetic study. Wang said this method has been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China for review and is expected to pass as a fungal detector by agriculture industry standards.Functional ingredients for better pork qualityAnother breakthrough came from collaboration between Alltech and Jiangnan University to improve food safety and quality. A Jiangnan University research project showed that the addition of rapeseed selenium in the diet can improve the quality of pork, increasing its water-holding capacity and tenderness. An article published based on Alltech and Jiangnan University’s study confirmed that the additions of flaxseed oil and sesame selenium to the diet can improve pork quality, reducing drip loss by 58–74 percent. The organic selenium diets increased muscular selenium content up to 54 percent. Flaxseed oil and selenium can be used to alter the fatty acid structure of pork, increase omega-3 fatty acids and reduce the proportion of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids in meat, which can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in consumers.Minerals matter: How trace minerals can impact pollutionImproper sewage treatment and greenhouse gas emissions are leading to heavy pollution of water, soil and air, and some small-scale farms have been closed because of this pollution."This will require improved feed conversion, which will reduce damage to the environment without affecting the performance of the animal," said Li.Inorganic trace minerals in feeds have contributed to this environmental pollution. Due to their low absorption rates, 80–90 percent of inorganic zinc and copper will generally be excreted by the animal, contaminating water and soil.Organic trace minerals, however, are absorbed more readily. Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology™ is a groundbreaking approach to organic trace mineral nutrition. It features products such as Bioplex®, which includes copper, iron, zinc and manganese, and Sel-Plex®, which includes selenium. Compared to conventional inorganic minerals, these formulations are better absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal and are thus able to meet the higher nutrient needs of modern livestock for rapid growth, maximum reproductive performance and animal health. Additionally, because they are absorbed more readily, less is excreted into the environment.Some Chinese feed companies are already using Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology. In addition to aiding in animal performance and health, many customers have noted it improves the smell of pig farms.
July 26, 2017. Madison, NJ - Recently, Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) hosted its High Quality Poultry Congress (HQPC) for Europe and the Middle East in Prague, Czech Republic. The main theme of this HQPC was “Broiler Production in the face of the Changing Consumer Landscape.” The Congress brought together experts from all over the world, who spoke about antibiotic free (ABF) production, nutritional health, hatchery management, animal welfare, and intestinal and respiratory disease control. Attendees also had the opportunity to hear about the role of INNOVAX-ILT and INNOVAX-ND vaccines for control of Marek’s, Newcastle disease and Infectious Laryngotracheitis, including a customer presentation about their experience with the products. “We are very proud to have had this opportunity to serve the poultry industry and support our customers as they adapt to an evolving marketplace and new consumer demands,” said William Vaughn, Global Poultry Marketing Director at Merck Animal Health. Speakers at the High Quality Poultry Congress included: Pavel Mikoska (AHOLD Central Europe) – Consumer & Retailer Perspective Jeff Courtney, DVM (Pilgrim’s Pride) –  Antibiotic Free Production: USA Industry Perspective Dr. Atle Lovland (Nortura) – Managing Production and Broiler Health in the Norwegian ABF Programme Ron Meijerhof (Poultry Performance Plus) – Managing for Chick Quality Using Management Techniques in Hatchery & Brooding Ellen van Eerden (Schothorst Feed Research) – Nutritional Perspectives for ABF Programs Daniel Dring (PD Hood Hatcheries) – Managing Antibiotic Free Production and Bird Welfare in a UK Integration Florence Humbert (FlowBio-Veto) – Food Safety Implications of ABF Richard Currie (x-OvO) – Next Generation Sequencing: Validating the Protectotype Concept Merck Animal Health also introduced at this Congress, its first High Quality Poultry Science Award. This Award was established to offer students of poultry science the opportunity to share their research with a large global audience of poultry industry specialists. The 2017 award was presented to Dr. Vishi Reddy, a post-doctoral scientist at The Pirbright Institute, who presented on “Novel Insights in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Laryngotracheitis and Bronchitis Viruses in Chickens.” On behalf of the attendants of the High Quality Poultry Congress, Merck Animal Health also made a donation to the International Egg Foundation (IEF) in support of their mission to help famers in developing countries sustainably produce eggs to give more people access to a high-quality source of protein.
July 20, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - A new poll conducted by NRG Research Group shows nine out of 10 Canadians want food companies to commit to greatly reducing the suffering of chickens in their supply chains, even if it results in higher prices.To view the poll results, visit bit.ly/CanadaChickenSurvey.The poll surveyed consumers on improving each step of a broiler chicken's life, from genetic selection to slaughter. Key findings include the following: 90% oppose using chickens bred to grow so fast they often become crippled under their own weight and support switching to breeds with higher welfare outcomes 88% support ending live-shackle slaughter in favor of less cruel systems that eliminate the suffering caused by shackling, shocking, and slitting the throats of conscious animals 88% oppose extreme crowding by which each chicken is provided with less than a square foot of floor space 86% support banning these conditions even if per-pound cost of chicken meat increases Respondents also strongly support measures such as keeping chicken litter clean enough to prevent eye sores, flesh burns, and respiratory distress; providing environmental enrichment, such as straw bales and pecking objects, so chickens can engage in natural behaviors; improving lighting standards, including at least six hours of darkness each day to avoid further accelerating the chickens' growth; and implementing third-party auditing programs to ensure laws and commitments are not violated.The poll was conducted just days after the release of an undercover investigation exposing sadistic animal abuse at more than a dozen Lilydale chicken supplier farms. The investigation revealed workers ripping chickens' legs off, hitting and kicking chickens, and performing crude sex acts with the birds.Many leading food companies, including Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Boston Pizza, have already adopted meaningful welfare standards to address these issues. But the nation's largest restaurant conglomerate, Cara Foods, which operates brands such as Harvey's, Milestones, and Kelsey's, has yet to commit to a comprehensive broiler welfare policy like its competitors.The online survey of 500 Canadian consumers was commissioned by Mercy For Animals and conducted by NRG Research Group June 15–20, 2017.
July 11, 2017 - Proponents of the slower-growing broiler movement claim that the meat product from those chickens has a superior flavor. However, Dr. Eilir Jones, CEO of Poultry Nutrition Limited, questions the validity of those claims.Why is chicken flavor often masked? Jones, who spoke at the recent Alltech Ideas Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, wondered about how important flavor really is to chicken consumers.He stated that about 50 percent of all chicken meat sold is either further processed or part of packaged meals. Those products include sauces, gravies, spices and vegetables that “mask the flavor of chicken.”He even quipped that the night before, he ate some chicken wings that were covered in a sauce so strong, “he was still tasting it today,” and he didn’t think he even could taste the chicken when he was eating it. READ MORE
June, 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Results from the newest Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) report Canadians are consuming more of their calories from protein than they did over a decade ago. Fat consumption amongst adults increased slightly and there was a small decline in carbohydrates consumption.According to Dr. David Ma, PhD, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph: "While there are some differences in consumption since the last survey in 2004, the data shows Canadians are generally consuming carbohydrates, fats and protein within recommended ranges. We need to eat these in the right proportions of total energy to reduce risk of chronic disease and to provide enough essential nutrients."The report notes that for children and teenagers, the percentage of daily energy intake from protein increased one per cent (from 14.6 per cent in 2004 to 15.6 per cent in 2015). For adults, it edged up from 16.5 per cent to 17.0 per cent. This still lingers at the lower end of the acceptable range of 10 to 35 per cent of calories set by the Institute of Medicine."The data is encouraging as the previous national survey showed Canadians were consuming protein at the lower end of the acceptable distribution range," said Dr. Stuart Phillips, PhD, Director of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE) and McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Research. "Protein is essential for all tissues in the body, providing amino acids that are important for growth and development. Protein is particularly important for older people to help slow muscle loss.""Based on my research, consuming even more than the recommended amount of high quality protein, from nutrient-rich sources such as pork, beef, lamb, dairy products and eggs throughout the day, combined with regular exercise, helps prevent the loss of muscle tissue as we age," he adds.Many Canadians consume an abundance of foods, but many do not obtain the nutrients they require for good health. Meat, for example, is a compact source of many nutrients that are essential for good health and life. These include: protein, phosphorus, zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12, thiamin, vitamin D, niacin, and riboflavin."Research shows that diets with increased protein and reduced carbohydrates may help prevent type 2 diabetes by facilitating weight loss through increased satiety, increased thermogenesis, and muscle retention," said Mary Ann Binnie of the International Meat Secretariat Nutrition Committee and a Canadian Meat Council spokesperson. "This is especially important given the number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes has tripled in the past 20 years."
June 23, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - According to a recent Ipsos poll on food insecurity, health, and poverty in Canada commissioned by Community Food Centres Canada, a national nonprofit that increases access to healthy food in low-income communities and promotes food skills and civic engagement.According to the poll, 91 per cent of Canadians think food insecurity is a persistent problem in our country, a problem that 41 per cent believe has worsened in the last decade. And Canadians want to see solutions: 74 per cent believe that government has a responsibility to take action to ensure everyone has access to healthy, affordable food."Canadians are telling us loud and clear that we need to do better," said Nick Saul, President and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. "We know that the best way to reduce food insecurity is to increase people's incomes. We currently have National Food Policy and National Poverty Reduction Strategy processes unfolding in parallel at the federal level, and we need to make sure that they both speak to this issue – and to each other."According to the PROOF Food Insecurity Policy Research project, four million Canadians are food insecure. Food insecurity negatively affects physical and mental health, and costs our health-care system significantly. Lack of household income is the most important predictor of food insecurity.Increasing access to affordable food is one of the four focus areas of the National Food Policy. The others are improving health and food safety, growing more high-quality food, and conserving our soil, water, and air. The public consultation phase of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy, which is being led by Employment and Social Development Canada, is wrapping up at the end of June. The timing for the development of a strategy and implementation plan has not yet been announced."We need to ensure that reducing food insecurity and improving the lives of vulnerable Canadians stays at the forefront of both of these important conversations," says Saul. "At the same time, with so many ministries involved in the National Food Policy, there is an important opportunity to surface new solutions that can break down silos and address the complex issues affecting different parts of our food system – solutions that could include community responses to food insecurity, a national school lunch program, and support for small farmers."The Ipsos poll also asked Canadians about areas where this type of multi-sectoral approach could be useful -- for example, addressing Canadians' declining levels of food literacy and finding innovative approaches to promoting healthier diets and reducing chronic disease. It showed that Canadians are interested in new approaches, including solutions that would put more affordable fruits and vegetables on the plates of low-income individuals. 91 per cent of Canadians said they would support a government subsidy program that would provide fruit and vegetable vouchers to people living on low incomes as a way to address diet-related illness.These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between March 29 and April 3, 2017, on behalf of Community Food Centres Canada. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online via Ipsos' online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. The poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would be had all Canadians been polled.
June 22, 2017, China – Scientists have identified three mutations that, if they occurred at the same time in nature, could turn a strain of bird flu now circulating in China into a potential pandemic virus that could spread among people.The flu strain, known as H7N9, now mostly infects birds but it has infected at least 779 people in outbreaks in and around China, mainly related to poultry markets.The World Health Organization said earlier this year that all bird flu viruses need constant monitoring, warning that their constantly changing nature makes them "a persistent and significant threat to public health".At the moment, the H7N9 virus does not have the capability to spread sustainably from person to person. But scientists are worried it could at any time mutate into a form that does.To assess this risk, researchers led by James Paulson of the Scripps Research Institute in California looked at mutations that could potentially take place in the H7N9 virus's genome.They focused on the H7 hemagglutanin, a protein on the flu virus surface that allows it to latch onto host cells.The team's findings, published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, showed that in laboratory tests, mutations in three amino acids made the virus more able to bind to human cells - suggesting these changes are key to making the virus more dangerous to people.Scientists not directly involved in this study said its findings were important, but should not cause immediate alarm."This study will help us to monitor the risk posed by bird flu in a more informed way, and increasing our knowledge of which changes in bird flu viruses could be potentially dangerous will be very useful in surveillance," said Fiona Culley, an expert in respiratory immunology at Imperial College London.She noted that while "some of the individual mutations have been seen naturally, ... these combinations of mutations have not", and added: "The chances of all three occurring together is relatively low."Wendy Barclay, a virologist and flu specialist also at Imperial, said the study's findings were important in showing why H7N9 bird flu should be kept under intense surveillance."These studies keep H7N9 virus high on the list of viruses we should be concerned about," she said. "The more people infected, the higher the chance that the lethal combination of mutations could occur."
June 15, 2017, Austin TX - Global Animal Partnership (GAP), creator of North America’s most comprehensive farm animal welfare standards, has provided a grant-in-aid of research to the University of Guelph, Ontario for a two-year research project that will determine and evaluate the parameters necessary for assessing the animal welfare needs of different genetic strains of chicken breeds.In 2016, GAP announced its intention to replace 100 percent of chicken breeds that result in poor welfare outcomes by 2024 with breeds meeting specified welfare outcomes within its 5-Step®Rating Program. The Guelph research project will help determine which genetic strains are best suited for commercial production under the new standards GAP is creating. GAP will provide public updates throughout the duration of the project.University of Guelph researchers Dr. Tina Widowski and Dr. Stephanie Torrey are leading the project. They will begin by running pilot studies over the summer, and the formal research study is due to begin this fall (Fall 2017), and will take approximately two years to complete (Fall 2019). All results will be published upon completion of the study.“The research team is excited about the scale and scope of this research grant,” said Dr. Widowski. “GAP’s commitment to developing a scientific and robust methodology for assessing chicken breeds will allow us to explore in a comprehensive way, a large number of factors important to both the bird and producers.”Dr. Widowski, a researcher and faculty member in the Department of Animal Biosciences, is the University Chair in Animal Welfare and director of the internationally recognized Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW), which has a reputation of hosting the largest animal welfare graduate program in North America. She is also the research chair of Poultry Welfare for the Egg Farmers of Canada.Dr. Torrey is a senior research scientist in Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare, with an expertise in applied animal welfare. Her team of graduate and undergraduate students focuses on fundamental and applied research with broiler and broiler breeder chickens and turkeys.Currently, fast-growing chicken breeds resulting in poor welfare outcomes represent 98 percent of all commercially available chicken meat in North America. Modern chickens have been genetically selected for their fast, efficient growth and higher yield of breast meat. However, this has had detrimental impacts on the welfare of broiler chickens, including immune and musculoskeletal problems, resulting in limitations to the birds’ ability to express natural behaviors like perching, flying, and even walking.This study will help create a way to objectively evaluate different genetic strains using a comprehensive list of parameters related to behavior, growth, health and production with the end goal of improving chicken welfare and specifically address the many issues resulting from fast-growing breeds.More than 600 chicken farms currently use the GAP standard, affecting the lives of 277 million chickens annually and making it the most significant higher welfare farm animal standard in the country. Retailers, foodservice companies and restaurants have committed to adopting GAP’s new chicken standard and moving away from breeds of chickens that result in poor welfare outcomes by 2024, including Whole Foods Market, Compass Group, Quiznos, and Boston Market.The Global Animal Partnership is a global leader in farm animal welfare that has established a comprehensive step-by-step program for raising animals that requires audits of every single farm. GAP makes it easy for consumers to find meat products that reflect their values. A nonprofit founded in 2008, GAP brings together farmers, scientists, ranchers, retailers, and animal advocates with the common goal of improving the welfare of animals in agriculture. So far, the 5-Step program includes more than 3,200 farms and ranches that range from Step 1 to Step 5+ and now raise more than 290 million animals annually.
June 13, 2017 - A new international cooperation has been created to develop and establish guidance concerning new animal feed ingredients and new uses for existing feed ingredients.The International Cooperation for Convergence of Technical Requirements for the Assessment of Feed Ingredients (ICCF) was launched by animal feed and feed ingredient associations from Canada, the European Union and the United States including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the European Commission (DG SANTE), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC), the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures (FEFANA) and the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF).“The ICCF is the result of a concerted effort to bring together feed regulators and industry feed associations to work together to develop common guidance documents for technical requirements needed in the assessment of feed ingredients,” said ICCF Chair Melissa Dumont.The ICCF Steering Committee will define the priorities and activities of the project. ICCF expert working groups will develop specific technical guidance documents. READ MORE
June 12, 2017, St. John’s - Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, Joël Lightbound, announced that Health Canada is launching a public consultation on restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children. The proposed approach aims to protect children from marketing tactics that encourage them to eat unhealthy foods, and support families in making healthier food choices.In addition, Health Canada is launching a public consultation on the revision of Canada's Food Guide, which will be used to develop new consumer messages, tools and resources. This follows broad consultation on the Food Guide in 2016, which resulted in nearly 20,000 submissions during the first consultation in fall 2016 on the revision of Canada's Food Guide, and are summarized in a What We Heard Report.The announcement was made at the Dietitians of Canada national conference in St. John's, Newfoundland. Both consultations run from June 10 to July 25, 2017.These initiatives are part of the Government's Healthy Eating Strategy. In addition, the Healthy Eating Strategy outlines how Health Canada will achieve the Government's commitments on sodium, trans fats, sugars and food colours.The Healthy Eating Strategy is a component of the Vision for a Healthy Canada, which focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind. I‎t is complementary to A Food Policy for Canada, which, as one of its four themes, seeks to increase Canadians' ability to make healthy and safe food choices.‎
June 9, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - A&W Canada has announced that it will support the University of Saskatchewan to expand an important research project that will examine lighting enhancements and related health and welfare outcomes for broiler chickens.The project's broader research focus is to determine lighting effects on the mobility, behavior and physiological welfare of poultry by measuring the impact of the various wavelengths of barn lighting.A&W is providing $45,000 in funding to the University of Saskatchewan's Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner to expand the data collection on the impacts of energy efficient LED lighting on broiler chicken welfare and production this fall. They will examine the differences LED lights make on poultry behavior, welfare and health outcomes. Incandescent lighting has been phased out and much less is known about the welfare and behavioral impacts of LED lighting."Through our research, we are always looking for ways to improve food quality and production while maintaining high animal care and welfare standards. Partnerships in research like this allow us to find the sustainable caring solutions we need to feed a growing world," says Mary Buhr, dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources.Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner is a global leader in poultry barn lighting. Her work is internationally cited and has helped to establish international standards of practice for lighting. She served as the Chair of the Scientific Committee for the Canadian Poultry Code of Practice, as well as being a member of the Poultry Code Development Committee through the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). NFACC's Code of Practice development process ensures credibility through scientific rigor, stakeholder collaboration and a consistent approach."At A&W we are constantly impressed with the leadership work Karen Schwean-Lardner and the University of Saskatchewan are doing in poultry welfare. We are proud to make a financial contribution to this research to allow the research team to further their understanding of LED barn lighting," says Trish Sahlstrom, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, A&W Canada.Dr. Schwean-Lardner says, "The University of Saskatchewan is committed to research that will continue to reinforce Canada's leadership in poultry welfare. Partners like A&W share a commitment to new research that can contribute to the development of new best practices."
August 15, 2017, Winnipeg, Man. - The controversy over Manitoba Chicken Producers’ (MCP) new annual specialty quota program has been resolved with both sides satisfied they were treated fairly by a ruling from the Manitoba Farm Producers Marketing Council (MFPMC).In a ruling in early July the council told MPC to postpone charging administrative fees for 10 years among those participating in the program, recognizing the financial impact the additional fees would have on existing participants. At the same time its ruling stated support for MPC’s move to adopt new policy seeing a need to modernize and update the manner in which chicken is regulated. READ MORE 
When you think about the connection between chickens and history you might think about how feed efficiency has increased or how birds have changed through genetic selection. But for Benoît Fontaine, his version of the connection of poultry to history goes a lot deeper than that.Rooted in historyFontaine, a second-generation turkey and chicken producer, was at one point in his career a Canadian history teacher. For 10 years after graduating from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1998, he taught high school, rising to become the principal for two years while still actively farming.This Quebec poultry producer is now the chair of the Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC), elected in November 2016, only the second chair to hail from La Belle Province.Now, whether he’s at a poultry industry gathering or talking to politicians, he is able to connect by talking history and entertaining. As a history buff, he manages to find a local story to tell wherever he goes.“Do you know why the carpets in the House of Commons are green?” he asked. The green carpet is the same as that used in the House of Commons in England for over 300 years, representing the colour of fields; a red carpet would symbolize royal power. “The MP’s appreciate this information,” Fontaine says.Youth on the farmThat green carpet is a long way from his farm where he grew up in St-Ignace de Stanbridge. Benoît’s chores after getting off the school bus included feeding and watering turkeys at their home farm, cultivating an appreciation of both birds and work involved with farming. His parents had been raising turkeys since 1970. Thus, when he later found himself with an empty barn and an opportunity to obtain quota it was an easy decision to go ahead.Thriving businessWhen Fontaine stepped down from his teaching job he began farming full time. Ferme Avicole B. Fontaine Inc. is nestled in the winery region close to Lac Champlain, an area Fontaine claims is the warmest spot in Quebec. One farm in Notre-Dame de Stanbridge, that Fontaine purchased in 2005, sits so close to the American border that he can see the U.S. from his window; another farm, purchased in 2010, is in nearby Pike River.With the help of seven employees he will produce 1.8 million chickens per year and one million kilograms of turkey in a total of eight three-storey barns. With no family of his own, Fontaine relies on one 24-year-old manager, Pascal Monnier, to look after the farm while he’s on the road. “He has his diploma in agriculture and has his own quota,” says Fontaine, who rests easy knowing that the farm is in good hands while he may spend up to 150 nights a year away from home as the CFC chair.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleriade0c60cfa8 GlobetrotterThat may seem like a lot of time to spend on the road, but Fontaine does enjoy travelling. In addition to the CFC miles, this year he will visit Finland; last year it was Kenya for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, where he got to visit the house used in the filming of Out of Africa. Before that it was Hawaii on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) business, allowing him to visit Pearl Harbor, an experience that helped him to understand the involvement of the U.S. in World War II. “Everything is linked with history,” says Fontaine, who is already eyeing up retirement trips that will involve the study of human history.Back at home Fontaine will talk to his parents, his mentors, Marcel Fontaine and Lucille Gagné, once a week. Their answers will guide him in questions of what to say or not to say or how to   manage the farm. As he humbly admits, “You cannot buy experience. I have some, but my father has more.”The farm issues they both face have changed, with Fontaine listing animal welfare along with the new ways of rearing chickens, with the ‘new norms’ involving issues such as changing bird density or new water systems.Industry engagementHis rise through the ranks of industry boards began six months after he bought his first quota, starting with his local district, moving quickly through to first vice-chair, then provincially to second vice-chair in 2012. Fontaine has been heavily involved in the Union des producteurs agricoles since 1999 and has served on both CFC’s policy and production committees.Now, as CFC chair, he knows he must remain neutral, speaking on behalf of all Canadians, not just Quebec. He also knows that policy discussions will always go down better with a good story. Fontaine’s command of the English language is already good but he continues to improve through taking courses. With his teaching background he brings communication and teamwork skills to his board positions; his two years as a school principal taught him leadership skills and how to bring forth new ideas with an open mind and an open ear.At the national board level, he sees free trade as the number one issue. Fontaine points to 14 free trade agreements that have already been signed with 51 countries as proof that supply management is stronger than ever. “They haven’t touched supply management yet; even with the TPP we got a great deal. The government was listening to us.”As he looks to the future he predicts the greatest challenge will be for chicken to remain a Canadian favourite with consumers. With Olympic enthusiasm, he says he wants poultry to remain on the top step of the podium. “Keep the flame burning; keep the love of Canadian products. As long as we stay there, we succeed.”
August 14, 2017, Washington - Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland released Canada's list of key demands Monday for a new North American Free Trade Agreement as talks get set to begin in Washington later this week.Freeland's list, which is much shorter than the U.S. wish list of more than 100 items, includes: Protect Canada's supply-management system for dairy and poultry. Canada does not have free trade in these areas, and regulates imports and prices. A new chapter on labour standards. The original NAFTA included a labour section as an addendum, inserted into the agreement after Bill Clinton was elected and insisted on a few changes. Some officials in Canada and the U.S. have identified a goal of tougher labour rules: Increasing Mexican wages, to make auto plants in the other countries more affordable. A new chapter on environmental standards. This was also added as an afterthought to the original NAFTA, placed there after Clinton's election. Freeland says she wants a chapter that ensures no country can weaken environmental protection to attract investment. She also says it should support efforts against climate change. A new chapter on gender rights. A new chapter on Indigenous rights. Reforms to the investor-state dispute settlement process. Specifically, Freeland referred to Chapter 11, which involves companies suing governments. She said she wants reforms so that ''governments have an unassailable right to regulate in the public interest.'' This is not to be confused with Chapter 19, which regulates disputes between companies over dumping, in cases like softwood lumber, and which the U.S. administration might seek to eliminate. Expand procurement. For years, Canada has wanted to kill Buy American rules for construction projects at the state and local level. It could be a tough sell. U.S. lawmakers are demanding even more Buy American rules, which is something President Donald Trump campaigned on. Freeland said: ''Local-content provisions for major government contracts are political junk food: superficially appetizing, but unhealthy in the long run.'' Freer movement of professionals. NAFTA includes a list of professions where people can easily get a visa to work across the border. It's an old list, it mentions land surveyors and range conservationists, but not computer programmers. International companies want this list expanded to make it easier for employees to move between offices. Protect cultural exemptions. Canada insisted on protections in the old agreement for cultural industries, like publishing and broadcasting. The U.S.'s annual report on international trade barriers lists this as an irritant. Maintaining a process to regulate anti-dumping and countervailing disputes, like the one over softwood lumber. Freeland noted that Canada briefly walked out of the original talks in 1987, as this was a deal-breaker. The U.S. says it now wants to get rid of the resulting Chapter 19. Some observers say it might simply be modified.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found "systemic" inspection and sanitation problems during its most recent audit of Canada's meat, poultry and egg inspection systems, issues American officials say "raise significant questions about the Canadian system." The most "significant" concern, U.S. auditors said, was that Canadian government plant inspectors were not checking for residual feces and digestive waste materials on each carcass in slaughterhouses prior to export.READ MOREREAD MORE
August 3, 2017, Snowbird, Utah – Young agricultural communicators are the voices of the future, and helping these passionate leaders join the global conversation is key to educating the world’s consumers about where their food comes from.Alltech is proud to support young agricultural journalists at the Ag Media Summit through the Livestock Publications Council Forrest Bassford Student Award and, new in 2017, the American Agricultural Editors’ Association Alltech Cultivating Young Ag Journalists Awards.The 2017 Livestock Publications Council Forrest Bassford Student Award, sponsored by Alltech, was presented to Topanga McBride, a senior at Kansas State University who is majoring in agricultural communications and journalism as well as agricultural economics. McBride was presented with a $2,000 scholarship and a plaque during the Ag Media Summit.Born in Phoenix, Arizona, and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado, McBride grew up showing Milking Shorthorns for her 4-H dairy project. While she initially had no intention to stay in the agriculture industry, her peers’ lack of knowledge regarding their food sparked her passion for agricultural communications.“When I realized that my teachers’ and friends’ sole connection to agriculture was me, I knew that I had to use my voice,” said McBride. “Agriculture is an industry that touches everyone’s lives, and we cannot afford to sit out on the conversation.”McBride is currently a media relations intern for Monsanto Co. She will return to her role as a communications intern at the Kansas Department of Agriculture in the fall. Previously, she served as a public relations intern for Look East and the Center for Food Integrity.In addition to her intern experiences, McBride is heavily involved in collegiate and national organizations. She serves on the Agriculture Future of America Student Advisory Team along with nine other collegiate agriculture leaders. She is an active member of Sigma Alpha, a professional sorority for women in agriculture, a Kansas State University ag ambassador and editorial director for Kansas State University’s chapter of Spoon University.The Forrest Bassford Student Award honors excellence, professionalism and leadership among students. Each year, following a competitive application process, the LPC Student Award Program provides travel scholarships for four students to attend the Ag Media Summit. In addition to McBride, this year's travel award winners were: Katie Friedrichs, Oklahoma State University Taylor Belle Matheny, Kansas State University Jill Seiler, Kansas State University During the Ag Media Summit, the four finalists’ portfolios were reviewed, and each was interviewed by a panel of professionals.2017 marks the 32nd year of the LPC Student Award Program. In 1992, Forrest Bassford's name was attached to the LPC Student Award in honor of his contribution to LPC and his particular interest in furthering the Student Award. Alltech has co-sponsored the award since 2012.“Alltech is proud to support young agricultural communicators as they share the stories that need to be told within the agriculture industry as well as educate the urban population on where and who their food comes from,” said Jenn Norrie, on-farm communications manager for Alltech.2017 also marked the first year of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association Alltech Cultivating Young Ag Journalists Awards, providing the opportunity for active AAEA agricultural journalists 35 years old or younger with a travel stipend to attend the Ag Media Summit as well as an invitation to attend ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (ONE18), May 20–23, 2018, in Lexington, Kentucky.The 2017 American Agricultural Editors’ Association Alltech Cultivating Young Ag Journalists Award recipients were: Ann Hess, AGDAILY/Carbon Media Anna McConnel, Successful Farming/Meredith Agrimedia Kasey Brown, Angus Media Shelby Mettlen, Angus Media “The American Agricultural Editors’ Association believes it is vital to provide professional development and education opportunities for its younger members to attend the annual Ag Media Summit,” said Samantha Kilgore, executive director of AAEA. “The Cultivating Young Ag Journalists Awards, made possible by Alltech, will help reach that goal of continuing to provide development and education for the nation’s leading ag communicators.”The 19th annual Ag Media Summit hosted more than 600 agricultural communicators, media professionals and students at the Snowbird resort outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, July 22–26, 2017. The Ag Media Summit is a joint meeting of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), the Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and the Connectiv Agri-Media Committee, and it offers opportunities for professional development and industry networking.
August 2, 2017 – Huntsville, Ala. – Aviagen announced that it has signed an agreement to purchase Hubbard Breeders, the broiler genetics division of Groupe Grimaud. The agreement between the two companies was signed on July 31, 2017, and will be concluded later this year. As part of the agreement, Hubbard will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviagen Group, under the direction of Aviagen CEO Jan Henriksen. It will remain an independent broiler breeding company with separate breeding and commercial activities, and will continue to be headquartered in France.“We welcome Hubbard into the Aviagen family,” says Aviagen CEO Jan Henriksen. “Hubbard’s diversity of genetic products and in-depth expertise in the different segments of the broiler breeding market will greatly contribute to Aviagen's expanding product line offerings. We look forward to leveraging the full strength ofthe Aviagen group to further enhance Hubbard's position as an important player in the global broiler breeder market.”Hubbard CEO Olivier Rochard agrees that the close association with Aviagen will add great value to Hubbard's global customer base.“My management team and I are delighted to become part of such a world-class organization as Aviagen. We are looking forward to utilizing the strengths of both organizations, particularly in the areas of technology, R&D, production efficiencies and distribution capabilities,” he says. “We share with Aviagen the ultimate goal of continually advancing the genetic potential of our birds and safeguarding the security of supply to global markets, which will profit our valued customers all around the world.”The two companies will continue to operate and support their customers independently, with no disruption to their customary products and services. At the same time, customers will benefit from the combined best practices, experience and knowledge, as well as the strong dedication to customer success shared by both companies.
July 31, 2017, Winnipeg, Man. - Direct Farm Manitoba is pleased with a ruling by the Manitoba Farm Products Marketing Council (MFPMC) earlier this month that orders Manitoba Chicken Producers (MCP) to not charge extra administrative fees for a decade among those participating in its new specialty chicken quota system.DFM co-ordinated an appeal on behalf of three specialty chicken producers who would have been affected by the additional expense.DFM voiced numerous concerns with MCP’s new program after it was rolled out last year, but ultimately launched an appeal on the specific grounds that the program’s new fees for participation would force those already raising specialty chicken to either pay more to keep producing, or produce less. READ MORE 
July 28, 2017, Shakespeare, Ont. - Faromor Ltd and Faromor CNG Corporation have announced the recent commissioning of one of the first energy independent poultry facilities in Canada.In affiliation with Toyota Bushoko and YANMAR Micro Combined Heat and Power Systems of Adairsville Georgia, Faromor Ltd and Faromor CNG Corporation have completed the new facility for Steeple High Farms of Tavistock, Ontario Canada.“This is a timely and welcomed development, distributed generation micro CHP systems deliver high onsite efficiency. They are able to generate the correct amount of power at the right time, making them much more efficient than the electrical grid," said Nicholas Hendry, President of Faromor CNG Corporation.YANMAR has been perfecting its products and business practices for over 100 years. With units in service in Europe for more than 15 years, YANMAR micro CHP systems have been recognized globally. By utilizing a highly efficient engine and capturing nearly all the remaining energy as heat, the YANMAR micro CHP system is up to 2.6 times as efficient as your current centralized power.With ease of installation, high reliability and functionality, a reduction in C02 emissions and low operation noise, the YANMAR micro CHP system delivers an energy balance by constantly monitoring power demand and output.As electrical prices continue to increase, you can gain significant utility bill cost savings by switching to propane or abundant natural gas micro CHP electrical generation for your farm.
July 27, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - To support economic opportunities and to protect human health and the environment, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers of agriculture endorsed the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada at their annual meeting. The strategy is a shared vision between partners across governments, industry, academia and others, and charts a path forward for collectively addressing evolving risks to plant and animal health.Agriculture is an important driver in today's economy and has been identified as one of Canada's key growth sectors. Implementation of the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada is essential to economic growth, and for the health of all of our citizens and the environment.Effective action depends on the combined and co-ordinated work of numerous partners. By taking a collaborative approach, the partners will be even more successful at protecting plant and animal resources from new and emerging risks. The action-oriented strategy outlines how all parties will work together to protect these resources, unleashing the potential for growth in Canada's agriculture sector."Agriculture is a key growth sector for Canada's economy. By working in collaboration with partners we have been able to create a strategy that will improve how we work together to advance the protection of plant and animal health, reduce risk to Canadians and improve our economic opportunities," said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
July 27, 2017, Gainsville, GA - Cantrell has made changes to its turkey heart and liver harvester to improve durability and also improve safety for the operator.The biggest improvement is that the turkey heart and liver harvester is now powered by an electric drive motor instead of being line driven. This eliminates one gear box and therefore eliminating wear points.The turkey heart and liver harvester is made of all stainless steel and USDA approved plastics. The heavy duty components on the equipment lead to increased durability. It is floor mounted for additional stability.A lift system, which can be cranked up or down, makes height adjustments easier to accommodate all bird sizes. The versatile turkey heart and liver harvester can also process large chickens. The harvester features two blades that are easily adjusted.For more information, please contact Cantrell at 800-922-1232, 770-536-3611, or visit the website at www.cantrell.com.
July 25, 2017, Montreal, Que. - A group of temporary foreign workers and their supporters are protesting what they say is rampant abuse of the rights of agricultural workers.About two dozens workers and activists gathered in front of Montreal's St-Joseph Oratory on Sunday afternoon to highlight their cause.One worker from Guatemala says he ended up making less than minimum wage for a job catching chickens on a Quebec farm since he wasn't paid for travel.Through an interpreter, Henry Aguirre added he couldn't understand his work permit because it was written all in French.The activists say workers should be given permanent residency or open work permits so they aren't limited to one employer.The Canadian government has said it is implementing new measures to improve working conditions for temporary workers, including increased inspections and more efforts to inform workers of their rights.
July 24, 2017, Calgary, Alta. - The federal and provincial governments are partnering to provide nearly $5 million to help five local food processors expand capacity and improve efficiency so they can grow their businesses, including two poultry related agri-food processors.H. Hein Foods will be receiving funding support  to implement new equipment to improve efficiency, expand capacity to meet increased demand and diversify production for poultry, beef and pork products, and Basha International Foods Inc. will receive two grants, to aid in increasing capacity to debone whole chicken leg meat.Other agri-food processors in Calgary receiving federal-provincial support include: CadCan Marketing & Sales Inc. - to purchase equipment to develop a gluten-free pellet formula for its air-puffed, low-fat and gluten-free snack products. Just BioFiber Structural Solutions - to purchase and install a commercial-scale plant to turn hemp stalks into building material. Village Brewing Co. Ltd. - to add a canning line and centrifuge to its craft brewery. Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, and Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Oniel Carlier, made the announcement at Village Brewing Co. who is receiving support to add a new canning line and centrifuge to its craft brewery."Agri-business is a key driver of growth in the Canadian economy and a source of well-paying jobs for the middle class. Our government is proud to support these innovative projects that will support Canadian farmers and the broader supply chain through their increased production of value-added agri-food," Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.These investments help achieve the federal government's plan to create good jobs in food processing and help food processors develop products that reflect changing market tastes and new opportunities.In 2016, Alberta's value-added sector, including food and processing manufacturing sales, was worth $14.6 billion and was the largest manufacturing employer in the province, representing more than 22,400 jobs.These grants are made through Growing Forward 2 (GF2). GF2 is a federal-provincial-territorial partnership with a mandate to drive an innovative, competitive and profitable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. In the past five years, Growing Forward 2 has invested more than $406 million in Alberta's agricultural sector.

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