Who's Who - British Columbia – Dan Kampen

Who's Who - British Columbia – Dan Kampen

For as long as he can remember, Dan Kampen has been in poultry barns.

Who's Who: Saskatchewan  – Baildon Hutterite Colony

Who's Who: Saskatchewan – Baildon Hutterite Colony

Baildon Hutterite Colony will be the first organic eggs producers in Saskatchewan

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

October 18, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Breaded chicken products sold under the Janes brand name are being recalled due to possible contamination from salmonella.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the uncooked products include Pub Style Chicken Burgers and Pub Style Snacks Popcorn Chicken.The burgers carry a code of 2018 MA 12 on the package and the code on the popcorn chicken packages is 2018 MA 15.Both are sold in 800 gram packages across the country and distributed by Sofina Foods Inc. of Brampton, Ont.The CFIA says the recalled packages should be thrown out or returned to the store where purchased.Food contaminated with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick.Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections.
September 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – A salmonella outbreak that left 13 people ill in four provinces this summer has been linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products.The Public Health Agency of Canada says seven cases were from Ontario while there were two each from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec.The agency says four of the people who became sick between June and August had to be hospitalized.Officials are still investigating.Salmonella is commonly found in raw chicken and frozen raw breaded chicken products.Illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing poultry.
September 29, 2017, Victoria, B.C. - British Columbia farmers are invited to safely and responsibly dispose of their unwanted or obsolete pesticides and livestock (including equine) medications from October 3 through 19, 2017.In partnership with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), Cleanfarms, an industry-led, national not-for-profit environmental stewardship organization, is offering this program at no cost to farmers.The obsolete pesticide and livestock/equine medication collection program is a national program that comes to each province every three years. In between collections periods, farmers are asked to safely store their unwanted pesticides and livestock medications until they can properly dispose of them through the program."British Columbia farmers are environmentally conscious and are pleased to partner with Cleanfarms to safely dispose of obsolete pesticides and livestock medications," Stan Vander Waal, chair of the British Columbia Agriculture Council, said in a press release. "The Cleanfarms collection program provides an excellent one-stop service for British Columbia farmers to continue to protect the land."Farmers in British Columbia have a long history of good stewardship practices. Since 1998, British Columbia farmers have turned in more than 282,000 kilograms of obsolete pesticides since program inception, and 47,000 kilograms during last collection in 2014 and 2015. Farmers across the province also turned in more than 500 kilograms of livestock medication in 2014 and 2015."British Columbia has a history of successful collections," Barry Friesen, general manager of Cleanfarms, said. "The participation of British Columbia farmers shows they are good stewards of their land and committed to protecting the environment."After collection, the pesticides and medications are taken to a licensed waste management facility where they are disposed of through high temperature incineration.The following locations will be accepting obsolete pesticides and livestock/equine medications from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the dates specified:VICTORIAOctober 3, 2017Capital Regional DistrictHartland Landfill1 Hartland AvenueT: 250-360-3030DUNCANOctober 4, 2017Bings CreekRecycling Centre3900 Drinkwater RoadT: 250-746-2540COURTENAYOctober 5, 2017Comox Valley WasteManagement Centre3699 Bevan RoadCumberlandT: 250-334-6000DELTAOctober 10 and 11, 2017Crop Production ServicesEvergro7430 Hopcott RoadT: 604-940-0290ABBOTSFORDOctober 17 and 18, 2017Univar Agriculture3256 McCallum RoadT: 604-859-4919PEMBERTONOctober 19, 2017Squamish-Lilloett RegionalDistrict Transfer Station1947 Carpenter RoadT: 604-894-6371 Ext. 236
August 18, 2017 - Perches are a necessity in cage-free housing systems, but changing them may be necessary, too.As cage-free egg farming is expanded around the world, some in the field are asking if the current round, metal tube perch design is the best for bird performance and welfare. On the welfare side, perches fulfill the hen’s natural desire to perch and give less dominant birds a way to escape more aggressive ones. From a management standpoint, including perches reduces aggressive behaviors and gives the farmer more usable space inside the layer house.At the Egg Industry Center’s Egg Industry Issues Forum, the attendees asked whether the perch is as beneficial as it can be for the hen and the farmer, and discussed innovations that could improve the devices. The conference took place April 19 and 20, in Columbus, Ohio. READ MORE
Modern commercial broiler breeders need to be feed restricted in order to control their growth rate and prevent obesity, lameness and reproductive problems. Although the birds are fed above their maintenance requirements, they exhibit behavioural signs of chronic hunger. 
Housing and managing poultry in ways that are sensitive to the birds’ needs while respecting the sustainability of farming in the United Kingdom is the focus of Dr. Victoria Sandilands work. Sandilands is a senior behaviour and welfare scientist at the Monogastric Science Research Centre at Scotland’s Rural College. 
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
Abbotsford, B.C., October 2, 2017 – New range standards mean consumers can be confident that when they buy free-range eggs, they know the hens must have access to a good quality, outdoor range. B.C. is the first province in Canada to set standards for free-range birds.The new standards state that hens must have access to the range at least 120 days a year – and a day is a minimum of six hours. Farmers must document the number of days and hours a day hens have access to the outdoors.“BC farmers have always given their free-range hens access to the outdoors on a regular basis; however, we did not have a verification system in place,” Katie Lowe, PAg, executive director of BC Egg, said in a press release. “These new standards mean that farmers have to document outdoor access and we will audit them to ensure they are meeting these basic standards.”The standards, which were developed with the assistance of animal care specialists and farmers, state that hens must be given outdoor access when the temperature is between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius. If a farmer restricts outside access, he/she must have a letter from a vet stating why the access is restricted.A common reason might be an illness in the flock that could be passed on to neighbouring farms if the hens were outside. Similarly, if B.C.’s Chief Veterinarian determines that the risk of a disease like Avian Influenza is too high, she may require that hens are kept inside.The standards also dictate that the range must have grass, be free from debris, and not have anything that can attract wildlife (like food dishes). These standards are in addition to the standards outlined in the new Code of Practice of Care and Handling of Laying Hens.“We are very proud to be the first in Canada to set these standards and make them mandatory for all free-range farmers in BC,” Lowe concluded. “Our farmers want to provide the best possible care for their hens and they know these standards will help them do just that.”
August 30, 2017, Abbotsford, B.C. - Nestled in the red Farm Country livestock barns is a display set up by B.C. Eggs, the provincial egg-marketing board, of a new cage system for non-free-range or organic birds.Within the next two decades every caged chicken on a B.C. farm will be re-housed. Just over five per cent of chickens in B.C. are already in the new cages, while 23 per cent of B.C. chickens already live cage-free, in free-run or certified-organic conditions. The board says B.C. has the highest percentage of cage-free hens in all of Canada. READ MORE 
August 29, 2017, U.S. - Chlorinated chicken– or chlorine-washed chicken – simply means that chicken was rinsed with chlorinated water; chlorine is not present in the meat. Just as chlorine helps make drinking water safe, it can help remove potentially harmful bacteria from raw chicken.Numerous studies and research have confirmed that the use of chlorinated water to chill and clean chicken is safe and effective. Chlorine-washed chicken does not pose any human health concerns and it is not present in the final product.Hypochlorus (i.e. chlorine) is a common disinfectant used in water treatment and food processing worldwide. Although it is proven safe, a lot of U.S. plants have moved away from chlorinated water in their chilling systems and rinses, opting for alternatives.The National Chicken Council would estimate that chlorine is used in chilling systems and rinses in about 20-25 per cent of processing plants in the U.S., as a lot of U.S. plants have moved away from its use. Most of the chlorine that is used in the industry is used for cleaning and sanitizing processing equipment.All chicken produced in the U.S. is closely monitored and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). READ MORE
August 28, 2017 - Cage-free egg farming experts suggest ways to avoid negative behaviors that reduce bird health and productivity.With more egg producers switching to cage-free production, farmers now need to understand and manage the dynamics of hen socialization and behavior in order to consistently achieve the healthiest and most productive flocks.Keeping birds in cages limited activity and allowed the establishment of a social hierarchy inside the cage. Now, birds are free to interact with a larger group and are exposed to a wider range of conditions, which can cause antisocial behavior and lead to lower productivity. Bird experts say the transition requires farmers to spend more time observing the flock’s behavior, understand what conditions are causing negative behaviors, and make the necessary adjustments to the environment.Egg farmers are faced with three key behavior challenges: hens laying eggs outside of the nest, hens piling in one area or smothering one another, and generally aggressive behavior.These negative behaviors often don’t manifest, or can’t be observed and understood, when walking the house during routine management. Farmers need to sit and watch for a few minutes to see how the birds behave and interact on their own. That way, farmers can better understand the specific challenges, what in the environment may be causing them, and how they can change the conditions to control them. READ MORE
August 23, 2017, Grand Island, Neb. – Gov. Pete Ricketts was on hand Tuesday to help celebrate the opening of Hendrix Genetics’ new hatchery in Grand Island. The $18.5 million facility covers 20 acres in the northeast section of Grand Island’s Platte Valley Industrial Park. The company chose the site for its prime location, which will allow a chick to be delivered anywhere in the U.S. within 24 hours of hatching.“It is a fantastic state-of-the-art facility for this hatchery,” said Ricketts, who toured the facility with Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach. “This is a showcase for the company” added Antoon van den Berg, chief executive officer of Hendrix Genetics.Jamesway, a Canadian company based in Cambridge, Ont., attended the grand opening as supplier of the incubation, hatching and ventilation. The 24 million layer chick hatchery uses Jamesway Platinum 2.0 Single-Stage incubators and hatchers. The Platinum 2.0, with its removable ECU, allows the entire machine to be fully disinfected in minutes, making it the most biosecure machine on the market. Jamesway also supplied the HVAC systems.  The facility is installing 30 P120 incubators and 18 P40 hatchers.
August 14, 2017, Burlington, Ont. – The Ontario chicken industry is vibrant, robust and continues to experience significant growth. The industry has a responsibility to ensure that chicken is being responsibly raised, transported and processed – and that it has the proper practices in place to guarantee continued consumer confidence and trust in chicken.The industry is embarking on some of the largest transformational shifts in its history. Ontario’s recent shift towards modular loading enables safe handling and transportation of birds and has many animal welfare, worker safety, and operational efficiency benefits.On July 12, 2017, Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) enacted a new Modular Loading Regulation that was designed in consultation with industry, and is intended to support this transformational shift. Over the past few weeks, the CFO Board of Directors, District Committee Representatives and CFO staff have been educating farmer-members and industry stakeholders through a series of meetings that took place across the province. The meetings were held to ensure that the farmer-member and processor communities have a comprehensive understanding of the new Regulation.The information that was communicated at these meetings is now available on ontariochicken.ca and farmer-members are encouraged to visit the following sections of the website to learn more about the new Regulation and this transformational shift.CLICK HERE to access the presentations from the 2017 Summer Farmer-Member Regional Meetings (which includes detailed information on the Regulation and Cost Recovery Mechanism)CLICK HERE to access the Modular Loading RegulationCLICK HERE to visit the Modular Loading section of ontariochicken.ca, which includes information on barn requirements for farmer-members and access to over 25 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)CLICK HERE to learn more about the Modular Loading Cost Recovery MechanismCLICK HERE to read the Ontario chicken farms to be ‘Modular Loading Ready’ by 2024 news storyCLICK HERE to watch the 2017 Summer Regional Meeting video on CFO’s You Tube Channel
August 17, 2017, Guelph Ont. – Catching crews on poultry farms have made do for years when they needed an extra step loading full crates from the barn onto transport trucks. Using the tools at hand, they improvised and turned empty crates on end to get where they needed to be.But there are two big problems with this practice – the obvious health and safety risks of standing on a slippery, uneven surface, and the damage done to the crate when used as a makeshift step.The Poultry Service Association – that represents the vast majority of poultry-catching and live-haul poultry business in Ontario – set out to design, build and test a better way.With no commercially made loading steps available, the association engineered, fabricated and tested a lightweight, portable and safe poultry-loading step for the Ontario industry.Developing a new, safe, loading step was approached as a sector initiative involving the main commercial poultry-catching companies in Ontario. This collaboration made it a much more economical and unified way to arrive at a solution that all companies could access.Driving the need for a new safe step was two-fold – reducing slips and falls by crew, and reducing damage done to crates. It’s tough to calculate improved health and safety in dollars and cents. The savings in reduced crate damage is easier to estimate.At $85 per crate, and an estimated 30 per cent discard rate of damaged crates, the annual savings to the industry with the new safe step is estimated at more than $2.5 million.The new safe portable step is now in use by 85 per cent of commercial poultry-catchers in Ontario, and the industry is noticing the difference. Trucking companies have seen a reduction in crate damage and appreciate the safety aspect of the new loading platforms.This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
In March, the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) announced the release of the revised Code of Practice for the care and handling of laying hens, a nationally-developed guideline for livestock care, which is also used as a regulatory reference and the foundation for industry animal care assessment programs.
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. 
September 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) has announced that Michael Laliberté has been selected as the incoming executive director, replacing Mike Dungate, who has held the role for over 20 years.Laliberté will assume the position on October 2nd with Dungate remaining in an advisory capacity until the end of 2017.With 26 years of experience at CFC, most recently as director of operations, Laliberté brings a wealth of corporate knowledge and experience.In his most recent role, he managed the finance unit, the human resources and administration unit, and the information systems within the market information and systems unit.He has been serving as the second in command to the executive director and has provided leadership and strategy on the financial affairs to support the executive management team, the finance committee and the board of directors.A graduate of the Queen's University Executive Management Program, who also holds a management certificate from the Sprott School of Business, Laliberté will be the chief staff person reporting to the board of directors, and serve the same role with the executive committee and the governance committee. In addition, he will oversee a 25-member staff complement that promotes the consumption of chicken, develops and audits on-farm food safety, animal care and specialty production programs on 2,800 farms across Canada, and has an active government and public relations program."The board of directors undertook a robust, external recruitment process to find the right candidate," chair Benoît Fontaine explained in a press release. "We are pleased that Michael Laliberté will be bringing his vast experience to the role and we look forward to working with him."
My name is Cindy Huitema and I’m a proud egg farmer from Haldimand County, Ont., situated between Dunnville and Cayuga. I grew up near Kitchener, Ont., on a mixed farm including 2,200 laying hens.
As poultry sectors continue substantial transformation to align with new reduced antibiotics demands and other key trends shaping the future of food, bio-based feed additives company Canadian Bio-Systems (CBS Inc.) is expanding its North America based poultry team to help infuse advanced new science-based solutions across the supply chain.Paul Garvey, based in Hanover, Ont., joins CBS Inc. as sales manager, poultry, with a key focus on helping to service dramatically rising demand for bio-based feed additives that support RWA (raised without antibiotics) production. This includes a major emphasis on facilitating aligned programs and strategies among producers, feed mills, processors and retailers.Critical time of evolution“It’s a critical time of evolution in the poultry industry,” Mark Peters, CBS's director of sales and marketing, said in a press release. “Paul brings valuable experience and expertise, including a strong track record building relationships and delivering solutions across all components of the poultry supply chain. We are very pleased to have Paul on board to help drive our expanding North American poultry team focused on innovative, sustainable, high performance poultry production.”Garvey comes from a farm background and farms himself in the Hanover area, where he resides with his wife and two daughters. His education includes a Bachelor of Science (BSc), Animal Sciences, from the University of Guelph, in a program that included a year as a visiting student completing poultry studies at the University of Alberta under renowned poultry researcher Dr. Frank Robinson. Garvey held several senior sales and procurement roles with poultry-focused feed and food companies before joining CBS Inc.Expanding the poultry toolbox“I’m delighted to join the Canadian Bio-Systems team and look forward to working with the industry in this new role,” Garvey said in a press release. “In my previous positions I came to see the value of the CBS Inc. approach and product portfolio first hand. I’m excited to be part of the company’s continued direction of innovation, science and advancing industry success. It’s a great opportunity to be involved at a time when CBS tools have arguably never been a better fit with the toolbox the poultry industry needs today.”The CBS Inc. portfolio includes a range of bio-based feed additives (multi-carbohydrase enzymes, enhanced yeast technology, probiotics and more) that support everything from higher nutrition capture and related performance to reduced waste and optimized health and welfare.“Because all CBS Inc. products are bio-based they are an excellent fit with what consumers and branded retail programs are increasingly demanding,” says Garvey. “With benefits such as supporting gut health and optimal productivity without reliance on antibiotics, they offer unique advantages balancing production and market needs.”
August 28, 2017 - Join egg farmers and champions from across Canada to celebrate fresh, local Canadian eggs and the benefits the system of supply management delivers to Canadians and farmers alike. Across the country, these champions are already sharing our industry’s story across their networks. Join the celebration by adding your support for Canada’s egg farmers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #EhInEggs.
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 23, 2017, Ottawa, Ont.  – Chicken Farmers of Canada has announced that Michael Laliberté has been selected as the incoming Executive Director, replacing Mike Dungate, who has held the role for over 20 years. Laliberté will assume the position on October 2nd with outgoing Dungate remaining in an advisory capacity until the end of 2017. With 26 years’ experience at Chicken Farmers of Canada, most recently as Director of Operations, Laliberté brings a wealth of corporate knowledge and experience. In this most recent role, he has managed the Finance Unit, the Human Resources and Administration Unit, and the information systems within the Market Information and Systems Unit. He has been serving as the second in command to the Executive Director and has provided leadership and strategy on the financial affairs to support the Executive Management Team, the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors. A graduate of the Queen’s University Executive Management Program, who also holds a Management certificate from the Sprott School of Business, Laliberté will be the chief staff person reporting to the Board of Directors, and serve the same role with the Executive Committee and the Governance Committee. In addition, he will oversee a 25-member staff complement that promotes the consumption of chicken, develops and audits on-farm food safety, animal care and specialty production programs on 2,800 farms across Canada, and has an active government and public relations program. “The Board of Directors undertook a robust, external recruitment process to find the right candidate,” chair Benoît Fontaine explained in a press release. “We are pleased that Michael Laliberté will be bringing his vast experience to the role and we look forward to working with him.”
Dr. Gregoy Bédécarrats, professor at the University of Guelph, Canada is the 2017 Novus Outstanding Teaching Award recipient. A successful academic career, innovative research and his dedication to encouraging the next generation of poultry scientists make Novus proud to honor Bédécarrats.Part of Novus’s goal to help cultivate sustainable animal agriculture is the encouragement of young people to succeed in the industry. Each year, Novus honors those who exhibit excellence in research, teaching and their contributions to poultry science at the Poultry Science Association annual meeting.“Receiving the Novus Teaching award at this year’s PSA meeting is a true honor. From being a student myself to my academic appointment, I had the opportunity to meet exceptional people who helped carve my teaching style, serve as mentors and be inspirational,” said Bédécarrats.He got his start in poultry science as a master’s student at the University of Rennes, France where he studied the effect of prolactin on incubation behavior in turkey hens. He continued his studies in poultry science pursuing his doctorate at McGill University. After three years of a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Medical School, Bédécarrats joined the department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph. He points to a great support system and industry partnership when reflecting on his success.“In particular, this achievement would not have been possible without the help of late Professor John Walton (University of Guelph) who made me understand the value of engagement in undergraduate teaching, and Dr. Donald McQueen Shaver who helped me connect the dots between research, education and the poultry industry. Constant engagement and exchange between these three pillars is key to success and, thanks to the support of Novus International, this is a reality for many students and industry partners,” said Bédécarrats.In addition to his research pursuits, Bédécarrats is also actively involved in undergraduate teaching and curriculum development, review and improvement. Bédécarrats works with both graduate and undergraduate students and does his best to support their interests and future endeavors. Bédécarrats encourages students, at any level, to attend at least one international science meeting per year, present their work often and get published as much as possible. “Dr. B is the best professor ever. He explains content clearly and with a sense of humor that actually helps a lot of us understand the complicated concepts and makes sure you know what’s important for your future work,” one student posted online. Most of Bédécarrats’ students have moved on to higher education and many have advanced into significant positions in the livestock industry. Bédécarrats is also the co-creator of the University of Guelph Poultry Club, which is an organization developed to expose students to the poultry studies and promote interactions within the industry.Bédécarrats is also passionate about improving reproductive efficiency in poultry and finding a better balance between production parameters, health, animal welfare and the environment. One of Dr. Bédécarrats’ biggest accomplishments has been the development of an innovative LED, known as AgriLux™, based on the discovery that different lighting sources had different effects on laying hens and that chickens find the red spectrum more favorable. This product intends to increase egg production in hens using the light without increasing their feed consumption, as a helpful tool for producers.Bédécarrats has proven to be an innovator in research and teaching and will continue to push himself and his students to make advancements in the field.“Above all, my utmost gratitude goes to my wife and children who have sacrificed countless hours of family time while I pursue my dream and goals,” said Bédécarrats.
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.
When you look at the career accomplishments of fifth-generation farmer Peter Clarke, it’s clear to see that his dedication to agriculture runs deep. “I am passionate about agriculture and I am proud to be a farmer,” Clarke proclaims.After attending the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in the 1960s, Clarke returned to the family farm in Annapolis Valley, N.S., to work with his father, Harry, who was mainly a potato grower but was also involved in egg and pullet production.In the late 1970s, Clarke and his father formed a partnership, until 1984, when he and his wife, Janet, took over the farm. They formed a limited company they named Southview Farms, which owns three farms on 750 acres growing corn, winter wheat, barley and soybeans.Southview Farms is very much a family operation, Janet operates Clarke’s Trucking, which processes and distributes grains for the farm’s flocks.Their son Jeff is the operations manager of Southview Farms, Clarke’s Trucking, plus another farm he owns separately. His wife, Kelly, is the farm office manager.Southview Farms has three employees. There’s a full-time feed mill manager, Garry Rafuse. Matthew Tanner manages the layer facility. And Clarke’s nephew, Matt Petrie, is involved in most aspects of the daily operations, including feed distribution and product procurement.The volume of production has risen greatly at Southview Farms over the last 13 years, from 16,000 layers and 40,000 pullets produced under license annually in 2004 until 2017 with an estimated 32,000 to 33,000 laying hens and “between Jeff and myself in excess of 100,000 pullets,” Clarke estimates.He puts it all in perspective. “The average size of a family egg farm now in Canada is about 25,000 birds and there are approximately 1,000 egg farmers. These are family farms unlike in the U.S. where you can have flock sizes of several million birds. There are some U.S. operations that have more birds than all of the layers in Canada.”Industry involvementHaving family members highly involved in the farm business has enabled Clarke to devote more of his time off-farm to industry groups.Throughout his farming career Clarke has been a regular on numerous industry organization boards, including in the role of director of Egg Farmers of Nova Scotia, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, chairman of ACA Co-operative Ltd., chairman of Agra Point, the provincial consulting body now known as Perennia, director of the Nova Scotia Winter Grains Marketing Board and Atlantic Grains Council as well as Atlantic representative on the Canada Grains Council.Clarke also served as Nova Scotia’s representative to the Net Income Stabilization Agency and he was a member of the advisory committee of the Atlantic Veterinary College as well.In 1995, Clarke was appointed to the Egg Farmers of Canada board as the Egg Farmers of Nova Scotia representative. Over the years, he chaired EFC’s budget, research and production management committees. He became first vice-chairman of the EFC in 2006 and chairman in 2011.In that most senior role, Clarke helped guide the organization towards notable achievements. For example, during the international trade negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), his lobbying efforts helped secure continued support for supply management from every major Canadian political party.Clarke is also proud of EFC’s role in helping to create several poultry research chairs. Universities across the country now have experts focused on issues such as egg industry economics, poultry welfare, public policy and sustainability.The International Egg Foundation, a charitable arm of the International Egg Commission (IEC), was founded. Tasked with increasing egg production and consumption in developing countries, it worked with EFC on Project Canaan’s egg layer operation in Swaziland. In September 2014, it awarded EFC The Crystal Egg Award for outstanding commitment to corporate and social responsibility.Clarke’s passion and dedication to agriculture has long been recognized. In 1990, the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists presented him with its inaugural Outstanding Farmer Award. In 2007, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia presented him with the Order of Nova Scotia and in 2012 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture.Clarke’s acumen as a rural businessman was also saluted in 2006 with the Kings County Business Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce.After six years as EFC chairman, Clarke stepped down as a director last March, returning to the family farm and assuming the role as a controller for the IEC. “We review the finances of the IEC on behalf of its membership,” he says.He believes firmly in the concept of social license. “We are producing a product for the consumers of this country,” he says. “We owe it to the consumers to be as open as possible about the production of that food.” He sees social license as encompassing the issues of animal welfare and care, codes of practice and sharing knowledge of what producers do on the farm. “By being transparent we will not encounter as much challenge to how we operate,” he says.In 2016, the Canadian egg industry made a decision to transition from conventional cages to alternative housing. By 2026, Clarke believes Canadian egg farmers will be well along into the transition process, which has a deadline of 2036. He cautions, however, “when we do all of that; we have to consider both the health and welfare of our birds as well the people who tend our flocks.”
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.
October 12, 2017, Calgary, Alta. – The Alberta government is bumping up funding for more spaces at the University of Calgary's veterinary medicine program.Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt says the province will reallocate $4.7 million per year to the Calgary program beginning in 2020.However, the move is accompanied by a decision to withdraw more than $8 million in annual funding to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.The dean of WCVM, Douglas Freeman, says he is ''deeply disappointed'' with the move, saying it severs a 54-year-old partnership that began in 1963 when the Saskatoon institution was jointly established by the four western provinces.Freeman says losing that large chunk of funding beginning in 2020 will ''certainly have an impact'' on the WCVM's programs and services.Alberta hopes to add 80 additional positions to the Calgary program by 2023, bringing its capacity to more than 200 veterinary students.''The University of Calgary's veterinary program has grown into a world-renowned institution, and with this new funding we will now have the capacity to train all of our students right here in Alberta,'' Schmidt said in a news release.''The partnership with the other provinces worked for many years, but by focusing our support on one Alberta-based program, we will achieve provincial cost savings and increase access. This will make life better for students, families, and communities.''Dru Marshall, academic vice-president at the University of Calgary, said the government investment cements the province's support for the Alberta livestock industry.Freeman, meanwhile, said the WCVM will soldier on without Alberta's participation.''One province's decision doesn't erase all that we have built and accomplished together in the past five decades,'' he said. ''The WCVM will continue to be Western Canada's veterinary college, providing quality veterinary education, research and clinical expertise to the region. We will not let the loss of support from one partner jeopardize our college's value to all western Canadians.''
September 21, 2017, Calgary, Alta. – New research was released last week by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI), studying consumer concerns and expectations surrounding food transparency and the overall food system. Canadians feel the food system is headed in the right direction, proven by an increase from 30 per cent in 2016 to 43 per cent of Canadians this year.While consumer confidence is increasing, an equal number of Canadians (43 per cent) say they aren’t sure if the food system is on the right track, down from 50 per cent in 2016. These findings are significantly different than the American consumers’ findings from 2016, which showed more definitive opinions with 55 per cent choosing right direction and only 23 per cent saying they were unsure.The 2017 CCFI Public Trust Research occurred in-the-field in June, asking 1,307 Canadians about top life concerns, specifically their level of concern, trust and transparency expectations related to food and how it’s grown.Those polled clearly identified food companies to be the most responsible for providing information about food and how it’s grown. Other food system partners including farmers, government, restaurants and grocery stores also ranked highly as being responsible for transparency.“Canadians are looking for credible information to make informed decisions about their food,” stated Crystal Mackay, CCFI's president, in a press release. “This research reinforces that everyone in the Canadian food system, from the farm through to grocery stores and restaurants, should engage in conversations about food.”Those polled are personally concerned and want more information about specific topics, including food safety, environment and farm animal treatment. Consumers are looking for information on food company websites such as third-party audits, track record, practices and policies that demonstrate their values. When studying these elements of transparency, accuracy rose to the top as the most important attribute to Canadians.Many Canadians are unsure about their food or how it’s grown, but want to learn more. Canadians ranked the rising cost of food and keeping healthy food affordable as their top two life concerns above rising energy costs, healthcare and the economy for the second year in a row.These findings and other insights were key areas for discussion when leaders from across the entire Canadian food system met at the CCFI Public Trust Summit in Calgary last week.Find out more by reading the full 2017 CCFI Public Trust Research report on www.foodintegrity.ca.
September 5, 2017 - The 20-somethings were from all over the world: the U.S., England, Ireland, Turkey, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Peru. And if they had one thing in common, it was their view of the supermarket.“Do you think grocery stores are important?” they were asked by Alltech chief innovation officer, Aidan Connolly.“Yes, they’re very important,” replied one young woman, “for old people.”Leading Alltech’s Corporate Career Development Program, Connolly was hearing in this next generation of consumers a receptiveness for the sweeping, fundamental changes in the production, distribution, purchase and consumption of food heralded by the $13.4 billion Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods.“When we buy our groceries, we mostly buy online,” one student told him.The huge e-commerce company had already been dipping its toe in the food delivery market when it turned its eye toward Whole Foods. AmazonFresh, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, is a grocery delivery service currently available in some U.S. states, London, Tokyo and Berlin.The announced intentions of this mega consumer product distributor to take a step further into the brick-and-mortar premium grocery business has made waves all along the food chain, from retail to agriculture.“I think it's an extraordinary moment,” said Mary Shelman, former director of Harvard Business School's Agribusiness Program. “This could truly be a disruption rather than a change."“Disruption means you do something in a completely different way rather than just making some incremental changes to it,” Shelman continued. “Amazon, which had historically envisioned a world without brick-and-mortar stores, is now, in one fell swoop, making a significant run into that brick-and-mortar world.”The deal, providing Amazon access to Whole Foods’ 466 stores in the United States and the United Kingdom, hasn’t yet closed, and there is plenty of speculation that competitive bids could materialize. But Amazon has its reasons to pursue the acquisition with determination.“Food is the least penetrated category from the online shopping standpoint,” explained Shelman. “Amazon clearly wants to bring that into the fold. I think the realization is that it takes some different skills and infrastructure in food than perhaps they are set up to deal with, so this gives them a tremendous opportunity to learn from that, and to run with that.”Addressing widely held consumer perceptions may also play an important role in this odd-couple marriage.As Shelman sees it, “For Amazon, the biggest challenge in delivering fresh products to your home is what everybody always says: ‘Oh, I don't trust them. I want to go pick out my fruits and veggies and my meats myself.’ Whole Foods brings in that brand name that has value, so it’s: ‘I trust Whole Foods, so now I trust Amazon bringing me Whole Foods quality. Do I trust Whole Foods to deliver for me? I don't think they're very efficient. But Amazon delivering Whole Foods is like, wow!’ So both sides win from the opposite brand name.”What might this mean at some key points along the food supply chain?Producers and growers in an Amazon/Whole Foods worldThe biggest obstacle for producers trying to access markets through the food retail industry today is the enormous power held by the supermarket and big box chains as gatekeepers to the consumer.Control of in-store product positioning provides an enormous source of revenue for traditional supermarkets. So-called “slotting fees” must be paid to win premium space in order for a product to appear on the shelves of Krogers, Safeways and other major chain stores.“Only big companies can afford to do that,” said Shelman. “Even if you are a small company and can find the money to pay a slotting fee to get on the shelf, the ongoing costs of the promotion and support that it takes to actually get your sales up to a level that is acceptable to that retailer is a staggering number — something like $100 million, $10 million to introduce a new brand today.”A major casualty of this, she notes, is creativity.“We see that in the big packet food industries: They just bring out yet another flavor, another line, another variation in that brand, and they keep blocking up that shelf,” she explained. “You really don't get any true innovation there.”Shelman believes the evolution of the “Amazon marketplace” is providing new opportunities for smaller producers to bypass those costs and directly reach the consumer.But Connolly believes “Big Ag” and smaller farmers alike have some concern.“It's part of seismic changes taking place in the food chain,” he said. “The top 10 food companies have seen a decline in their sales, profits and share prices as consumers reject traditional famous food brands built around processed foods.”Every day these shifts are reflected in the news: Nestlé being a $3.5 billion target by an activist investor; Kraft’s attempted takeover of Unilever; Amazon gobbling up Whole Foods; and Wal-Mart’s purchase of Jet.comSo, if traditional “Big Food” players are in trouble, how should agribusiness respond?“It must adapt to the new reality,” says Connolly, listing the top three strategies food businesses must take to thrive in the changing landscape:Become lean: Big Food that is merging or being acquired will seek to drive costs out of the system.Deliver prosumer values to address the prosumer and millennial agenda of traceability, transparency, sustainability, welfare and removing unwanted additives.Go direct and to build your own brands again.Connolly notes that “this is a new era with the food business re-fragmenting, and smaller brands will be faster to build and sell direct. Consumer sales over the internet offer an opportunity for ‘Big Ag’ that was not available 20 years ago.”In this new coupling, who will take the lead? Shelman expects that Amazon will pull Whole Foods toward its brand promise and mass appeal: convenience and reasonably priced items across quality levels.“I don't believe Amazon will broadly adopt the same positioning and values as Whole Foods across their broader food portfolio,” she said. “I can't imagine them not selling Cheerios or Kraft Mac & Cheese online. They may initially adopt a higher quality approach in fresh products — meats and produce, since those seem to require a stronger brand to sell.”Consumers in an Amazon/Whole Foods worldToday’s consumer is swimming in a sea of options and information. The innovation of the “food kit” has given rise to the home-delivered packages offered by Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Plated, Purple Carrot and Home Chef. Nestlé has invested in the prepared meal delivery service Freshly, and Sun Basket has attracted Unilever capital.It takes time to complete a merger with all the complexities brought to the table by Amazon and Whole Foods. So what's going to happen to the rest of the food industry while t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted? Views differ about the extent to which the merger will cause change.Speaking to analysts and investors at a conference in Boston, Kroger CFO Mike Schlotman said he doesn’t envision a major shift to people ordering groceries online for delivery to their homes.“Part of me refuses to believe that everybody is just going to sit at home and everything is going to be brought to their doorstep and nobody is ever going to leave home to do anything again,” said Schlotman.But, according to Connolly, “the United States has been slower to the party than other parts of the world,” and there is plenty of evidence that significant change is already well underway.“Maybe there are some of us that take joy in walking up and down the grocery aisle and doing that as our chore, but what consumers are saying is that they're voting with their feet,” Connolly said. “They're saying, ‘If you give me a better alternative, I won’t go to the store.’"Connolly recalls the observations of a friend who is involved in the food industry in the U.K., working with Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, who forecasts that we're in the last five to eight years of the big box model of the supermarket.“What we're going to see in the future, according to him, is much more of a Starbucks version of a grocery store,where you can buy the small produce, organic, the pieces that you want to have hands on, but for the most part, you're going to pick it on your cell phone, ordering it directly, and it will arrive today by delivery in a half-an-hour increment,” he explained. “So if you say 4:00 p.m., it'll be between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. In the future, that will be delivered by robots, which is already happening in England, and eventually it'll happen by drone.”One of the world’s largest pork producers, Smithfield Shuanghui of China, has a strategic cooperation agreement to sell packaged Smithfield meats through JD.com, a Chinese version of Amazon.“They’re creating a cold chain system from the warehouse to the customer, selling fresh chilled foods, including packaged meats,” says Michael Woolsey, senior strategic manager for Alltech China. “If a customer in the morning decides they want to have hotdogs from Smithfield for dinner that night, they take out their cell phone, dial up JD.com, order the hotdogs and the truck shows up later that afternoon. Chilled distribution the entire way to the consumer’s door. So, it’s a superior product. It’s what consumers want. It’s an exciting development.”Shelman says today’s marketplace “is just fundamentally different” as consumers are being conditioned to a whole different set of solutions.“I think for everybody now, the fun of thinking about these different scenarios and letting go of the old retail model is leading us all to be very challenged to think about what that future is going to be like,” she said. “How are we going to get our food 10 years from now?”Connolly sees profound change arriving even sooner.“If we think of machine vision, where you use a camera with artificial intelligence, you can teach your camera to recognize what you want in your meat, what you want in your produce,” he said. “It can learn to smell the produce. It can learn to recognize the color that you want. It can probably even, using these internet of things-type devices, give you all of the origins of and the pesticides used in the products, all of the things that might cause allergies.“So, your drone, equipped with the right camera and the right artificial intelligence, can do these things,” continued Connolly. “And we are not talking about something that is going to happen in the next 30 years. This can happen within the next 12 months.”And 20-somethings from Brazil to Kazakhstan can hardly wait.
August 25, 2017 - For its latest World Mycotoxin Survey, Biomin conducted more than 33,000 analyses on 8,452 finished feed and raw commodity samples from 63 countries from January to June 2017. These analyses covered common components used for feed such as corn, wheat, barley, rice, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, dried distillers grains (DDGS) and silage, among others.Results of the analyses found that deoxynivalenol (DON) and fumonisins (FUM) are the most common mycotoxins found in feedstuffs.The survey details the incidence of the main mycotoxins occurring in agricultural commodities, which include aflatoxins (Afla), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol, T-2 toxin (T-2), fumonisins and ochratoxin A (OTA).Overall, deoxynivalenol and fumonisins were detected in 81 per cent and 71 per cent of all samples at average levels of 798 parts per billion (ppb) and 1,840 ppb, respectively. Out of all samples, 52 per cent were contaminated by zearalenone. Aflatoxins, T-2 and OTA were present in 26 per cent, 19 per cent and 18 per cent of samples, respectively.Ninety-four per cent of all samples contained at least one mycotoxin, and 76 per cent of all samples contained two or more mycotoxins. READ MORE
August 16, 2017, Mumbai, India  – The rapid growth of factory farming in Asia for livestock and seafood poses enormous environmental and forced labor risks, in addition to threats to public safety and health, according to a report by an investor network. Half of Asia's aquaculture production is from factory farms, said the report published this week by Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR), referring to the major, industrial operations that raise large numbers of animals for food. "Asia's meat, seafood and dairy industries face a range of badly managed sustainability risks – from emissions to epidemics, fraud to food safety, and abuse of labor," said Jeremy Coller, founder of FAIRR. "It is clear that significant environmental and social risks are building up."READ MORE
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.
October 16, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – The Trudeau government took the first of several steps Monday to stanch the bleeding from a self-inflicted political wound, resurrecting a campaign promise to cut taxes for small businesses outraged by its controversial tax-reform proposals.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to gradually trim the small-business tax rate to nine per cent by 2019, down from its current level of 10.5 per cent, and also to make further changes to the plan that triggered the angry backlash from entrepreneurs in the first place.''This tax cut will support Canada's small businesses so that they can keep more of their hard-earned money, money that they can invest back into their businesses, their employees and their communities,'' Trudeau told a news conference in Stouffville, Ont.The small business tax rate will fall to 10 per cent in January 2018 and again to nine per cent in 2019.Doctors, lawyers, accountants, shop owners, farmers, premiers and even some Liberal backbenchers have denounced the tax proposals, contending they'd hurt the very middle class Trudeau claims to be trying to help.Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have said the reforms will be designed to ensure they target wealthy individuals who've used the incorporation of small businesses to gain what the government maintains is an unfair tax advantage.In hope of calming critics, Trudeau also announced Monday he will abandon at least one of the tax-reform elements: changing the lifetime capital gains rule. The adjustment is intended to avoid negative impacts on the intergenerational transfer of family businesses, like farms.On another controversial proposal, the government intends to move ahead. The change is aimed at limiting the ability of business owners to lower their personal income taxes by sprinkling their income to family members who do not contribute to their companies.Trudeau said a simplified version of the original proposal announced in July would be introduced, effective Jan. 1, 2018, but added the adjustments would be made clear as the government moves forward.He also said nothing Monday of any impending changes to what is perhaps the most-controversial aspect of his tax proposals and, potentially, the most lucrative for government coffers: limiting the use of private corporations to make passive investments unrelated to the company.The government is expected to announce more changes related to its tax proposals later this week.Morneau, who's been tasked with the difficult job of trying to sell the government's tax proposals to the public and even fellow Liberal MPs, joined Trudeau at Monday's announcement.''I spent the last few weeks travelling the country, listening to people,'' he said. ''We know that our current system just isn't fair. It rewards people who are successful more than it rewards people who are working hard to be successful.''We didn't design the system that we inherited, but we've made clear that we intend to fix it. We're going to leave a fairer system behind for the next generation.''Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on a promise to reduce the small business tax rate to nine per cent from 11 per cent over three years.But he announced in Budget 2016 he would freeze the rate at 10.5 per cent, cancelling in the process a legislated reduction to nine per cent instituted by the previous Conservative government.Faced with vocal opposition to the tax proposals, the Liberal government is now reviving the nine per cent promise.Trudeau insisted Monday the government stated it would only lower the small business tax cut after it had conducted a tax-system review, which it undertook last year.But Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accused Trudeau on Monday of only reinstating the small business tax cut as a way to manage the growing political crisis around the tax proposals.''The very first thing the prime minister did, in his first budget, was to cancel that tax cut,'' Scheer said in Ottawa. ''Today, he would have you believe that this was the plan all along. I reject that.''The small business tax rate applies to the first $500,000 of active corporate income.On Monday, the Liberal government said lowering the rate will provide entrepreneurs with up to an additional $7,500 per year. Combined, Ottawa estimates the tax reductions will reduce Ottawa's revenues by about $2.9 billion over five years.On the tax proposals, more changes are likely on the way.As originally proposed, the plan would restrict income sprinkling, in which an incorporated business owner can transfer income to a child or spouse who is taxed at a lower rate, regardless of whether they actually do any work for the company.It would also limit the use of private corporations to make passive investments that are unrelated to the company and curb the ability of business owners to convert regular income of a corporation into capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate.The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said overall the announcement was a good thing, though there are still some concerns.''What this decision will do is pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the small business community and that will help entrepreneurs create more jobs and grow the economy,'' said prairie CFIB spokeswoman Marilyn Braun-Pollon.''We are worried that the income-sprinkling changes will keep the benefits of ... ownership out of the hands of many spouses, who as we know participate in more informal ways in the business.''Braun-Pollon said they will also wait to hear more on passive income rules and the treatment of capital gains related to business succession, which is of particular interest to farmers.The Liberals' popularity has taken a hit in some opinion polls amid the backlash to the proposed reforms, first announced in mid-July.The damage control effort began Monday with the briefing for Liberal MPs, some of whom have been among the most critical of the proposals. Backbenchers emerged from the meeting saying they feel satisfied that the government has listened to their concerns, although they were not given details of the changes that are to be unveiled in a series of announcements later in the week.''I feel very, very positive. For the first time in a couple months, I've got a bit of a smile on my face,'' said New Brunswick MP Wayne Long, who was kicked off two Commons committees for voting against the government earlier this month on a Conservative motion calling for further consultations on the proposed reforms.''There wasn't a lot of specifics today, but I'm very, very confident – by certainly the tone and messaging of the minister – that a lot of these concerns ... will be addressed.''– With files from CJWW
October 17, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – The federal government is moving to pare down its controversial tax proposal on passive income so that it will only affect three per cent of small businesses.A senior government official tells The Canadian Press that Finance Minister Bill Morneau will be in New Brunswick on Wednesday to unveil changes to his passive investment proposal so that it only targets unfair tax advantages used by the wealthy.The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement, says Morneau will also share updated estimates showing there's between $200 billion and $300 billion in assets sitting in the passive investment accounts of just two per cent of all private corporations.The official says the finance minister will also point out that dollar figure is growing by $16 billion per year as wealthy incorporated individuals reap unlimited benefits from tax-advantaged savings accounts over and above RRSPs and TFSAs.The government is tweaking its original proposal after hearing concerns that cracking down on passive investments could adversely affect middle-class entrepreneurs who use their companies to save for economic downturns, sick leaves and parental leaves.The official refused to provide additional details ahead of Wednesday's announcement, part of a week-long Liberal effort to calm the anger surrounding the tax proposals, which have outraged entrepreneurs, doctors, tax professionals, farmers and Liberal backbench MPs.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began the week by announcing tax cuts for small businesses and plans to abandon part of one of the proposals to avoid negative impacts on the intergenerational transfer of family businesses, like farms.The official says the problem isn't with individuals, but the system, since it encourages wealthy Canadians to keep their personal money inside their corporations so they can receive tax advantages not available to everyone else.The changes will not be retroactive, as outlined in the original proposal, and they will not affect existing savings, nor the income from those savings, the official said.Morneau is expected to provide further details Wednesday on the changes to its passive-investment proposal, including a timeline and a plan for addressing the concerns of angel investors and venture capitalists.In announcing the proposals last summer, Morneau recommended limits on the use of private corporations to make passive investments that are unrelated to the company.However, tax experts have warned the original proposal would threaten entrepreneurship in Canada by preventing some business owners from saving for retirement, maternity leaves and economic slowdowns.
October 17, 2017 – Supply management: economists love to hate it, and Canadian farmers are loathe to give it up.The politically explosive issue emerged yet again Monday as a flashpoint in increasingly heated NAFTA renegotiation talks after the United States asked for an end to the system within the next decade.So what, exactly is supply management, and why does it stir up so much controversy?The debate has been going on since the federal government created the system in the early 1970s in response to wide swings in prices and interprovincial trade disputes as technology and other developments disrupted the agricultural markets.The complicated system sets prices and protects Canadian farmers from competition, creating stability for dairy, egg, chicken and turkey producers. But it is seen as a symbol of government overreach and distortion of the market by those opposed.Because the system blocks out foreign production from the Canadian market, it is a thorn in the side of trade negotiators as other countries look for freer access to Canada's food markets, while Canadian politicians have shied away from any drastic changes.The federal and provincial governments use a few ways to control the market.They keep out foreign competition with high tariffs on imports, which vary by product but run as high as 300 per cent for butter.To avoid oversupply, provincial boards regulate how much farmers are allowed to produce.For example, any farmer, except very small producers, that wants to produce eggs, milk, or poultry needs to secure a government ''quota,'' or production allotment. Much like the medallion system that regulates the number of taxi drivers, quotas mean a farmer has the right to produce a certain amount of the product.Any new farmer has to buy in, and the rights don't come cheap. The prices vary significantly by category and by province, some of which have capped how high the quota price can go.In 2015, the right to produce a kilogram of butterfat a day – the standard measurement for dairy quotas – sold for $42,500 in British Columbia, but for $23,000 in New Brunswick. Overall, the government says the value of all the supply management quotas issued stood at about $35 billion last year.Finally, with both foreign and domestic competition limited by the system, the government boards need to decide how much farmers will be paid for their production, since standard market forces that are supposed to set prices aren't at work.The government sets a minimum price that processors have to pay the farmers, or a ''price floor.'' Critics have argued that floor is artificially high, meaning dairy and other products cost more for Canadian consumers that they might otherwise.To help determine the price, provincial boards canvas producers to figure out the costs of production and then add a margin of profit to determine how much they're guaranteed to be paid, explained Alfons Weersink, a professor of food and agriculture economics at the University of Guelph.''The system provides a stable return, and a decent return. And that's the hallmarks of the system,'' said Weersink. ''It's not subject to volatility of other agricultural sectors, which are inherently variable; ups and downs in prices constantly.''But that artificial, government-controlled price stability goes against the basic tenants of free-market thinking, according to economists like Herbert Grubel.The senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, and professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University, says the system inflates prices, with several studies showing the average household pays hundreds of dollars more because of it, and that it would be better for the market to set prices and adjust for risks.''The free market adjusts the returns that people get from certain activities by taking account of the amount of risk they take,'' said Grubel.He believes the quota system adds significant costs to farmers (and therefore consumers) because they have to buy the right to produce, and take on significant debt to do so.The industry, however, disputes that there would be any savings from dismantling the system, and that other countries provide more indirect subsidies to their agriculture industries.The issue came up in Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, while U.S. negotiators have demanded an end to the system as part of ongoing NAFTA negotiations.Canada did make concessions in the recently enacted Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, allowing 16,000 tonnes of duty-free cheese plus another 1,700 tonnes for use in food processing, while leaving the system as a whole largely unchanged.There have been various proposals on how to dismantle the system, either by adding a surcharge to products to compensate farmers for their quota investments, or to gradually keep increasing the number of quotas allotted, but it won't be a simple affair to dismantle such an entrenched program.
October 16, 2017, Arlington, United States –  The United States has lit the fuse on one of Canada's most politically explosive trade issues, asking in NAFTA talks for an end to the supply management system for dairy, chicken, eggs and turkey within the next decade.With that demand, the U.S. has now adopted a highly aggressive posture on virtually all the key issues expected to arise in the current NAFTA talks: it has asked to erect trade barriers in its own politically sensitive sectors, while eliminating them north of the border.The latest demands come near the end of a week-long round where American negotiators dropped one bombshell demand after another, leading the other countries to question whether the U.S. goal is to actually reach a deal or to blow up NAFTA altogether.Two sources tell The Canadian Press the request came on Sunday evening, catching some on the Canadian side off-guard, since they hadn't expected the highly contentious issue to arise during the current round.One source says the supply-management request came with an initial phase-in period of five per cent more market access per year, leading to total duty-free, quota-free trade in protected supply-managed areas within 10 years.That adds dairy, poultry, and eggs to a list of irritants that includes auto parts, textiles, trade-enforcement panels, Buy American rules for public works and a proposed five-year termination clause embedded in the agreement, with the countries holding not just different positions, but sitting on opposite sides of gaping ideological differences.``Outrageous,'' said Pierre Lampron, president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, of the latest proposal.``It would be the end of supply management.... We are not surprised by the U.S. demands, they are in line with the demands they have made in other sectors.''The Canadian government, meanwhile, is calling the idea a non-starter.Canada's system of protections was born from a 1960s effort to stabilize dairy prices, and was later emulated in other industries. It works by limiting imports and setting fixed prices.The system's critics say the tightly controlled program stifles innovation, bars Canadian companies from selling onto international markets, limits choice at the grocery store and saddles Canadian consumers with higher prices.The U.S. move was praised by the Montreal Economic Institute, a free-market think tank in Montreal, which urged Canadian policy-makers to seize the opportunity to dismantle a system that it says costs Canadian families an extra $339 a year in grocery bills.``You can't on the one hand defend tariffs that sometimes reach 300 per cent for supply-managed products, then accuse the American government of being protectionist,'' said Alexandre Moreau, a policy analyst with the institute.``That being said, the Canadian government should also make sure the Americans abolish their own dairy programs, and obviously offer fair compensation to farmers for their (supply-managed) quotas.''Therein lies the challenge.Defenders of the current system say eliminating it would create new problems –  starting with the billions it would cost to buy out existing quotas. They say the status quo provides stability in rural communities, allows farms to survive without boom-bust cycles, and makes taxpayer bailouts unnecessary. The U.S., meanwhile, maintains numerous support programs to prop up its farmers, they note.No major Canadian political party has ever opposed the system.The federal Liberal government had said entering the talks it did not want to even discuss supply management, having promised to maintain the system. Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said Monday: ``I've indicated quite clearly that our government is going to fight to make sure (supply management) stays in place. To deal with anything else is simply a non-starter.''The U.S. has now tabled a series of positions far outside the realm of what Canada says it's prepared to negotiate, prompting fears that a deal may be slipping out of reach.Indeed, the prospect of a deal by year's end already seems impossible. With Mexico and the U.S. embroiled in national elections next year, the countries fear that a failure to get a deal by early next year will push the talks into 2019.U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, keeps threatening to cancel the existing agreement, to force concessions from the other countries. Mexico's finance minister, Jose Antonio Meade, blamed the uncertainty Monday for damaging his country's currency.Pro-trade U.S. senator John McCain tweeted a Wall Street Journal editorial with the headline, ``Trump's NAFTA threat: Ending the pact would be the worst economic blunder since Nixon,'' calling the editorial a ``must-read.''The head of the World Trade Organization warned against increasing uncertainty in the global trading system. The U.S. is being accused of sabotaging the dispute panels at the international body, as it's seeking to gut them within NAFTA.``I hope that (NAFTA) will not (end) because not only of the economic impact ... but also for the systemic implications,'' said WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo.``It's very important to have these initiatives because they are the groundwork, they are the foundations of the WTO itself.''The U.S. has introduced aggressive demands in virtually every major NAFTA area: Auto parts. The U.S. wants all cars to comprise 50 per cent U.S. content to avoid a tariff. The U.S. has requested this policy be phased in within one year – which automakers call impossible. Dispute-resolution. The U.S. wants to gut the enforcement systems of NAFTA, making the panels for Chapter 11, 19 and 20 disputes either non-binding, or voluntary. Buy American. The U.S. wants to severely curb other countries' access to public works contracts. Sunset clause. The U.S. has requested a termination clause that would end NAFTA after five years, unless all parties agree to extend the agreement. Dairy. The supply management request follows an earlier request for a de-facto veto over Canadian milk-classification decisions, which in the case of diafiltered cheese-making products has advantaged Canadian producers.
October 13, 2017, Guelph, Ont. – The federal government today announced a $1.31 million investment in poultry welfare and other livestock initiatives. Speaking from the Arkell Research Centre, Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield announced Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada was commiting the money to the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC).Its stated goals are to help ensure the safe transportation of livestock, develop emergency management tools for the livestock industry and improve animal care assessments.The investment will be divided between four projects, including: Up to $223,929 to develop a new livestock transport on-line certification program that will simplify, standardize and provide an opportunity for truckers, shippers and receivers to more easily access the training necessary to improve handling practices. Up to $160,713 to update the Transportation Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals during transport. Up to $813,200 to develop an emergency management plan for the Canadian livestock industry to help mitigate, to respond to, and to recover from major hazard emergencies. Up to $112,180 to revise the Chicken Farmers of Canada's (CFC) animal care assessment program to meet the new Code of Practice for hatching eggs, breeders, chickens and turkeys. The project will strengthen the poultry industry's capacity to respond to ever increasing demand by markets to demonstrate effective animal care standards.
October 5, 2017, Washington - American negotiators are expected to present their dairy and poultry sector demands during the next round of NAFTA talks, which begin in Washington next week.The U.S. will be looking for increased access to Canada's dairy and poultry markets, according to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue."Obviously we need to keep these markets open," Perdue told a public forum organized by the Washington International Trade Association."We're going to lay some things on the table in this next round."READ MORE
October 4, 2017, Rockwood, Ont. – 4-H Ontario recently announced the inaugural Poultry Sen$e conference, taking place October 13-15, 2017 at YMCA Camp Cedar Glen in Schomberg, Ontario. The event is intended to prepare youth ages 18-25 for a career in the poultry industry. Through guest speakers, case studies, facility tours, and networking with industry leaders and peers, participants will gain practical skills that will assist in running a profitable poultry operation. Participants will learn about succession planning, creating a business plan and farm business management practices, while improving their presentation, teamwork and strategic thinking abilities. “The Poultry Industry Council believes in youth leadership development and when you offer the opportunity to positively impact the poultry sector through the Poultry Sen$e conference our sector potential becomes limitless,” Keith Robbins, executive director of the Poultry Industry Council, said in a press release. “We are excited to be able to provide this new opportunity to young adults interested in a career in the poultry industry,” added Andy McTaggart, interim manager, programming with 4-H Ontario. Visit 4-HOntario.ca/poultry-sen$e for more information.
October 4, 2017, Puslinch, Ont. – Following the 60th edition of the London Poultry Show, organizers have rebranded the annual event the Canadian Poultry Expo for 2018. The show, in partnership with Western Fair District and Poultry Industry Council, has been growing steadily with the past few years showing tremendous success becoming the largest show in Canada for the poultry industry. The show has gained international recognition and support with exhibitors and industry attendees coming from across North America and from overseas. “We are proud of the success and the size of this show which just keeps getting bigger each year,” PIC executive director Keith Robbins said in a press release. “The location is perfectly situated to draw attendees from Northeastern United States and from all across Canada. You owe it to yourself to make it to the April show if you want to evaluate new technology, attend the education sessions, or network with others in the poultry sector.” The 61st edition of the event goes April 4-5.
October 3, 2017, Toronto, Ont. – Residents in some Toronto neighbourhoods will be allowed to keep chickens in their backyards under a pilot project approved today by city council.The pilot will run in four city wards over the next three years with an interim review in 18 months.Residents can keep up to four chickens – no roosters are permitted – and must register with the city.Chickens would not be allowed in apartment buildings, condominiums or properties without sufficient outdoor space.Opponents of the pilot have argued it will generate complaints and tie up the city's bylaw enforcement officers.Several municipalities in Ontario, including Kingston, Brampton, Niagara Falls and Caledon, all allow residents to keep chickens in backyard coops.
October 2, 2017, Regina, Sask. – A group representing Saskatchewan farmers has told the federal government that it's against proposed corporate tax changes, saying there are grave concerns.The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan says the proposed federal tax changes could hurt the ability to keep Saskatchewan farms in the family.The association wants agriculture to be exempt from the proposed tax changes.APAS president Todd Lewis says 27 per cent of Saskatchewan family farms have incorporated, mainly as a vehicle for the transfer of their operating assets between generations.Lewis says succession plans are designed to ensure that younger generations can take over the operation without having to totally recapitalize the farm, and to provide a secure retirement income for older generations.He says the future of the industry depends on it.``We have seldom seen such concern from all members of the farm and ranch community about a government initiative,'' Lewis said in a news release Monday.``Saskatchewan producers were completely taken by surprise by the proposals contained in the Tax Planning Using Private Corporations consultation document. Both by the recommendations, and by an extremely compressed consultation period conducted during our busy harvest season.''
September 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Finance Minister Bill Morneau tried to reassure farmers Thursday that Ottawa's controversial tax proposals, if introduced, wouldn't impair their ability to bequeath the family farm to the next generation.Morneau said Thursday that ''technical fixes'' for the federal proposals may be on the way amid concerns the reforms could add significant costs for those who seek to keep their farms in the family.The minister was among more than a dozen witnesses testifying before a parliamentary committee that's examining proposed tax changes for private corporations – measures that have subjected the Trudeau government to an onslaught of public and political outrage.Opponents of the reforms insist the changes would hurt Canadians at different income levels and from many different sectors, including doctors, farmers and small business owners.Farmers have raised particular concerns about elements of the proposed changes that some estimates say could see families taxed twice for inter-generational transfers of their operations.''Our goal is not, and will not be, to change the ability to move a family business, a family farm, a fishing business from one generation to the next,'' Morneau said after his appearance.''There may be technical fixes to make sure that we get that right.''Morneau also warned that critics are spreading misinformation about the proposed tax changes, particularly when it comes to how they might affect farmers.The Liberal government has been engaged in a communications war over its plan, which it insists would end tax advantages unfairly exploited by some wealthy business owners.Morneau argues the proposals are designed to create a fairer tax system, especially for those in the so-called middle class, but he says he's open to adjusting it after a public consultation period ends next week.The proposal package includes restrictions on the ability of business owners to reduce their tax rate by sprinkling their income to family members in lower tax brackets, even if those family members do not contribute to the company.Morneau has also proposed limits on the use of private corporations to make passive investments that are unrelated to the company. Another change would limit the ability of business owners to convert regular income of a corporation into capital gains, which are typically taxed at a lower rate.Critics of the plan say it would hurt entrepreneurs who take personal financial risks when they decide to open a business, hire staff, save for retirement, save for maternity leave and sock away funds for economic downturns.They contend that the proposals, if legislated, will also deliver a blow to the bottom lines of not just the wealthy, but of middle-income earners as well.The committee heard from an apple farmer who urged the government to shield farms from the tax changes so they don't end up as ''collateral damage.''''I need to plan succession – I need to do this in advance to ensure my farm stays within my family,'' said Andrew Lovell, who added that he also relies on his sometimes-volatile farming business as a savings vehicle for his retirement.''This year we had a drought in New Brunswick – I'm facing huge crop losses. How do I plan for Mother Nature?''Morneau faced sharp criticism from political opponents Thursday over his tax proposals both inside and outside the committee room.One rival noted after the hearing that Morneau appears to bending to pressure amid a backlash from angry business owners, several provincial leaders and even public concerns voiced by backbench Liberal MPs.''The result is, I think that he's looking for an off-ramp for some of these proposals,'' Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said after the meeting.''The reason that people are so fearful is because these tax changes not only reach into their pockets, they mess up people's lives.''On the farmer-succession issue, New Democrat MP Alexandre Boulerice said: ''I hope he will do the right thing because there's a lot of fear right now.''Later, during question period, Tory MPs attacked Morneau for not abstaining from the discussions around the tax changes, which they allege could end up benefiting his family's company, Morneau Shepell.Before entering politics, Morneau was executive chairman of the company, which is the country's largest human resources consulting firm. Morneau Shepell also offers individual pension plans.Some Tories referred to committee testimony earlier in the day by James Merrigan, a corporate lawyer from Newfoundland and Labrador.Merrigan told the committee that individual pension plans, such as those offered by Morneau Shepell, would become more appealing options for some of his clients if the tax proposals are implemented as is.There would be ''a lot of money poured into that area,'' he added.For the most part, Morneau didn't directly respond to questions in the House about a potential conflict of interest related to his family's company.He did reply to one by saying: ''Not only did I not abstain, but I actively engaged in working to make sure the tax system is fair.''
September 25, 2017, Ottawa – Canada is ready to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, but supply management will be protected, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said Monday.''We're quite ready to defend a system that works so well for this country, so well for the dairy farms, so well for consumers and (is) a model for the world, I might add,'' MacAulay said as he left a meeting with Canadian farmers.MacAulay met representatives from the agricultural industry – including wine, dairy, pork and beef – during the third round of talks with the U.S. and Mexico to replace the 23-year-old trade deal.The minister said his defence of the system that protects Canadian dairy, eggs and poultry does not mean there is nothing about the trade deal that needs changing.''The U.S. realizes we are their friends, but there's things to iron out and hopefully it will iron out in a very positive way and even make the deal better.''Some of the thornier issues expected to come up in NAFTA talks involve the Canadian agricultural industry, especially since the U.S. wants greater access for its dairy products.On Sunday, Canada's chief negotiator said he did not expect to see any details from the U.S. on its desire to end the supply management system for dairy and poultry this time around.Steve Verheul also said he did not expect the U.S., which triggered the renegotiation of the continental trade pact, to table detailed proposals during this round of talks on two other hot topics – investor state dispute settlement process and American content requirements for vehicles.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada respects the pace of the negotiations.''But Canada is always there, has done its homework, we have concrete proposals on the table and we're very pleased to have a chance to discuss them with our counterparts from the other countries,'' he said at an event in Toronto.The dairy sector was excluded from the original NAFTA deal in 1994, but the supply management system, which limits the amount of dairy that can be imported into Canada without high tariffs, has long been a point of contention.A more recent dairy-related issue that also came up was a deal reached by the 12,000 dairy producers in Canada to sell milk proteins to domestic processors at a discount in order to further protect the industry from imports of cheap U.S. milk ingredients.Jacques Lefebvre, president and CEO of the Dairy Processors Association of Canada, said his organization has told the Liberal government they do not think the sector should be part of the renegotiation of NAFTA at all.''If the government can make a good case as to why it should be, then we need to ensure that any concessions to the sector, to the dairy market in Canada, is met with an equal net benefit to the sector,'' said Lefebvre, who was at the meeting with MacAulay.As the meeting opened, the Liberal government said it is committed to boosting food exports to $75 billion by 2025.Conservative MP Erin O'Toole acknowledged Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland mentioned protecting supply management in her speech outlining her broad NAFTA objectives last month, but he would like to know more.''We've since not seen the government ... set the table ahead of negotiations to show how that industry and the thousands of families that rely on it must be safeguarded in negotiations,'' O'Toole said.O'Toole said he would also like to see the Liberal government be clear in its goals for other areas too – especially when it comes to protecting and creating jobs in the auto, softwood lumber and resource sectors.

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