September 1, 2016 - The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in a wild mallard duck from a state wildlife refuge near Fairbanks, Alaska. READ MORE
July 10, 2016 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has set up a quarantine zone after low-path H5N2 avian influenza was detected in southern Ontario. The CFIA says a quarantine zone covering a three-kilometre radius has been placed near St. Catharines. The agency says bird flu hasn't been detected anywhere else in the quarantine zone, but officials say they're monitoring for any spread of the disease.  Currently 23 premises are quarantined, however only one commercial/regulated broiler chicken farm is in within the quarantine zone besides the AI positive duck flock. The other quarantined premises are small and/or unregulated flocks.   Trace out to three other high risk contact flocks (from the positive farm) has been completed and those flocks have tested negative.    The Feather Board Command Centre have asked Ontario poultry industry stakeholders to use heightened biosecurity measures if it is necessary to enter into this area. Heightened biosecurity measures include (but are not limited to): • wearing boots, protection suits, hats and gloves/hand washing; • ensuring that all deliveries/loading should be the last on the route; and • washing and disinfecting the truck’s undercarriage and steps before proceeding with any other delivery/loading. Should you become aware of health concerns in a flock(s), please advise the farmer to contact a veterinarian, as well as their Board or call 1-877-SOS-BYRD. 
  Board of Directors ChangesCPRC held its Annual General Meeting in March followed by a meeting of the board of directors. Two new directors joined the board replacing long-time directors who had decided to step down. Roelof Meijer, an eight-year board member representing Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) and chair for the past three years, was replaced by Brian Ricker from Ontario.  Cheryl Firby, the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers (CHEP) board member has been replaced by Murray Klassen from Manitoba. Tim Keet (Chicken Farmers of Canada) was elected chair with Helen Anne Hudson (Egg Farmers of Canada) elected vice-chair. Erica Charlton (Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council) was elected as a member of the executive committee along with the chair and vice-chair. Poultry Science ClusterThe Poultry Science Cluster, co-funded between industry, provincial governments and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has completed year three of its five-year research plan.  The cluster, the second that CPRC has administered, is a $5.6 million program with $4 million from AAFC and the balance from industry and provincial governments.  Seventeen research projects in four categories make up the cluster, details of which can be found at The Poultry Science Cluster runs from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2018 and some research projects are being completed. Two projects were scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2016, and are winding up with final analysis and reporting underway. Ten projects are scheduled to be complete by the end of March 2017 with the final five projects being completed by the end of the cluster in March 2018. Poultry Research Strategy UpdateCPRC has begun a process to update the 2012 document National Research Strategy for Canada’s Poultry Sector, which formed the basis for much of the research structure of the Poultry Science Cluster. While much of the strategy remains relevant many of the research priorities identified have evolved and new issues have become important to the poultry industry. Two new priority areas, climate change impacts and precision agriculture, were added to this year’s CPRC call for Letters of Intent. The strategy update is designed to validate and/or amend priorities from the 2012 document and to identify new priority areas since 2012. Issues that may be on the horizon but have not yet become poultry research initiatives will also be identified. The update will seek input from producers through the national and provincial representative organizations, scientific community including university and government, and other industry stakeholder organizations representing a broad range of value-chain members. Consultations will include surveys and webinars to gather information as well as to seek feedback on the updated strategy as it is developed. Target completion of the research strategy is early in 2017 so it can be used as the basis for a new application if a third science cluster program is included in the next federal-provincial agreement upon the expiry of the current Growing Forward 2 initiative. New CPRC WebsiteThe April CPRC Update announced that CPRC has a new website. Changing a website is a lot more than having someone do a new design. All of the material on the website has to be reviewed and decisions made on what should stay, what should go and new material that should be added. An important part of the CPRC website is the research summaries that are posted on all CPRC co-funded projects. A review of those summaries indicated that there were several formats being used, particularly during the last several years, and some project summaries had been missed. A format was adopted, very similar to one of those that had been used, and CPRC has reviewed all summaries, and edited them as necessary, to ensure consistency in presentation. CPRC, its board of directors and member organizations are committed to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities. For more details on these or any other CPRC activities, please contact The Canadian Poultry Research Council, 350 Sparks Street, Suite 1007, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 7S8, phone: (613) 566-5916, fax: (613) 241-5999, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit us at   The membership of the CPRC consists of Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors’ Council. CPRC’s mission is to address its members’ needs through dynamic leadership in the creation and implementation of programs for poultry research in Canada, which may also include societal concerns.        
  Decades ago when the scientific community had concerns about bacterial resistance to antibiotics, the agricultural industry started to produce antibiotic-free (ABF)flocks. Generally speaking, all chicken is antibiotic-free, because there are no antibiotic residues in the meat due to the withdrawal periods in broiler production. So in the U.S., “antibiotic-free” is not allowed to be used on a label but may be found in marketing materials not regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In recent years, the term “raised without antibiotics” (RWA) is widely used for the flocks that are raised without the use of products classified as antibiotics for animal health maintenance, disease prevention or treatment of disease. However, it can mean different things depending on the country in which you are producing chickens. Table 1 below shows the different meaning of an RWA flock in Canada, U.S. and Europe. In Canada, absolutely no antibiotics, ionophores, or chemical coccidiostats are allowed in RWA production, whereas in the U.S., chemical coccidiostats are allowed for RWA flocks. This poses even more challenges for Canadian RWA producers.   There are many factors that can affect broiler flock performance ranging from nutrition and health status of breeder flocks, hatchery operations, chick quality, nutrition and water quality to flock management. To successfully grow RWA flocks, one should not only provide good management and environmental conditions as for regular broiler flocks, but should create superior conditions such as reducing stocking density, increasing downtime between crops,  acidifying litter, and providing high quality water. Nutritionally, well balanced rations formulated with high quality ingredients are crucial for RWA flocks. Chick qualityA great flock starts with good quality chicks, and chick quality is even more important for broiler RWA production due to the lack of antibiotic protection. The feeding and management of broiler breeders can play an important part in the offspring’s health and performance. The breeder farms should follow strict biosecurity protocols, and breeders should receive a well-balanced and nutritionally adequate diet. Eggs should be handled in a professional manner and stored in ideal conditions. Hatcheries should follow a strict biosecurity program, with regimented cleaning and disinfection procedures. Chick boxes and hatcher trays have to be washed with correct temperatures. Good maintenance of hatching temperature and ventilation equipment is critical, as it has been shown that stress from late stage over-heating may result in leg problems and performance issues. Transport can be stressful for chicks. The temperature should be tightly regulated in the compartments with proper ventilation. To ensure uniform chick quality, there should be no over-heating in some areas while dead spots exist in others. Coccidiosis vaccinationUnlike RWA producers in the U.S., Canadian RWA producers cannot use chemicals to control coccidiosis, so the only option is vaccination. Coccidiosis control is key for successful RWA production, because it impacts intestinal integrity, gut health and is correlated to the risk of necrotic enteritis. Uniform vaccine application and uptake are essential for successful protection from a coccidiosis vaccine. The stocking density for the first seven days should be controlled at a half square foot per chick (or 465 cm2/bird), and litter moisture kept higher than normal at 30 to 35 per cent. The higher density and litter moisture will encourage oocyst sporulation and the opportunity to re-infect each other from their droppings. Thus, the immunity to coccidiosis will be developed earlier, and the flock will be better protected from coccidiosis. Flock managementStocking density after 10 days of age is also one of the most important factors that affect RWA flock performance. A minimum density of one square foot per bird is ideal. When the density is reduced, birds have more water line and feeder space, less competition for feed and water, better litter conditions and fewer pathogen challenges. For RWA broiler production, the litter quality is crucial. The wetter the litter, the more likely it will promote the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria and moulds. Wet litter is also the primary cause of ammonia emissions, one of the most serious performance and environmental factors affecting broiler production today. Controlling litter moisture is the most important step in avoiding ammonia problems. There are many factors that can affect litter conditions, such as leaking water lines, various diseases, improper rations, and ventilation. Ventilation removes combustion waste by brooders, ammonia, and moisture produced by birds while continually replenishing oxygen. Broiler genetics keep improving, and broilers grow faster every year, so their demand for oxygen is increasing all the time while their output of moisture is also increasing. Thus, producers should not use the ventilation rate of 10 years ago to grow today’s birds. Adequate and effective ventilation is critical for litter management and coccidiosis control, especially for RWA production. Producers should check and manage watering systems to prevent leaks that would increase litter moisture. Furthermore, producers should adjust drinker height and water pressure as birds grow to avoid excessive water wastage into the litter. Chick growth rate should be moderately controlled to avoid fast weight gain. This is particularly important in a flock that is 10 to 30 days of age, when there is more challenge from coccidiosis, thus a higher risk of necrotic enteritis. Producers should modify the lighting program, by slightly increasing dark hours to nine or even 10 hours, in order to improve the health condition and immunity of the birds. This modification is even more necessary for RWA flocks than for regular flocks. Nutrition for RWA flocksSound nutrition starts with a good selection of high-quality ingredients. Composition of feed ingredients should be consistent, and all grains should be free from toxin contamination. This is critical for the first four weeks of age. Nutritionally, all ingredients should be highly digestible, since the nondigested portions might enhance unwanted microbial growth and increase the chance for necrotic enteritis. The maximum inclusion rate for some ingredients such as wheat and corn distiller grains must be closely monitored, if not eliminated. There is evidence that suggests a strong relationship between higher inclusions of these ingredients with necrotic enteritis. Some reports suggest that animal protein may increase the risk for necrotic enteritis. It is generally accepted that lower crude protein levels should be fed to RWA flocks, because higher protein may increase the chance for necrotic enteritis.  Mineral balance is vital for RWA rations. Mineral levels that are either too high or too low will not only affect broiler body weight gain and feed conversion ratio (FCR), but also impact litter quality, gut health, and hence flock performance. With reduced growth and high-quality ingredients, the RWA feeds can cost more than the regular feeds. Together with a higher FCR  for RWA flocks, it will result in a higher feed cost per kilogram of body weight gain. Alternative feed additivesOver the last few decades, there has been a lot of research to explore alternatives for antibiotics in broiler production. Generally, these alternatives are categorized into feed enzymes, phytogenic additives, probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics (a probiotic and prebiotic combination). Feed enzymes which help improve the digestion and nutrient utilization, and in some cases improve gut health, are widely used by nutritionists in both regular feeds and RWA feeds. Phytogenic additives (herbs, spices, essential oils or extracts) that originate from plants have been used in human food and medicine for thousands of years. Among these phytogenic products, essential oils have received considerable attention. Their active ingredients such as carvacrol, thymol, eugenol, alicin and cinnamaldehyde have been evaluated extensively as alternatives for antibiotics to improve animal health and performance. Some phytogenic products have direct antimicrobial effects, and other products show their effects on immune-regulation. Probiotics are also called direct fed microbial (DFM) in the U.S. The mode of action is to compete for available receptor sites and nutrients with pathogens, and produce or secrete metabolites (such as short chain fatty acids and bacterocin), thus changing the gut microflora and bird performance. Prebiotics are feed components that are not digested by host animals but selectively promote beneficial bacterial growth, hence improving animal performance. In this category, some commonly used products are mannan-oliglosaccharides (MOS) and fructo- oliglosaccharides (FOS). There has been considerable research done to investigate the effects of these alternative products on animal performance and health. Yet, the responses are quite variable due to the purity and concentration of these products, how they interact with flock management and health conditions, as well as the nutritional status of the birds. SummaryTo date, there is no silver bullet as an alternative to antibiotics. In conclusion, a decent RWA flock relies on the following factors: Good quality chicks that come from a healthy breeder flock and well managed hatchery; A successful coccidiosis vaccination program with higher stocking density and higher litter moisture for the first 10 days; Sound management practices with an emphasis on improving ventilation and reducing litter moisture; An RWA ration formulated with highly digestible ingredients and optimized mineral levels; Moderately reduced growth by providing more dark hours.      
June 6, 2016 - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with public health, veterinary, and agriculture officials in many states, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), to investigate seven separate multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections. Results from these investigations showed that contact with live poultry in backyard flocks was the likely source of these outbreaks. READ MORE
  The rapid escalation in cage-free sourcing announcements from fast-food and quick serve restaurants in recent months has become concerning.  The words “cage-free” have become a marketing gimmick, and less a about the welfare of laying hens. Opponents of animal agriculture will look upon this tidal wave as a win for animal welfare, and continually claim that these restaurant chains are answering consumer concerns over hen housing. But, I suspect that most food businesses are, for the most part, bowing to pressure placed on them from animal activist groups. Releasing a cage-free commitment announcement has essentially become an insurance policy for a company against having its name associated with disturbing undercover videos or other forms of negative press and social media backlash. Until recently, this battle hasn’t affected individual farmers in Canada to a great extent.  It’s provided an opportunity for some to expand or transition and supply what is still considered a niche market.  However, when major grocery store chains follow suit, the entire egg industry is going to be affected — and so is the average consumer. Restaurant and foodservice providers can make blanket statements about sourcing one type of egg because it’s too complicated for them to offer, for example, a breakfast sandwich made with either an egg that’s cage-free, conventional, organic, enriched or free-range housing – it’s confusing and a logistical nightmare for their supply chains.  Whether a consumer is actively choosing a particular restaurant because the eggs are cage-free or not is a moot point when virtually every chain offers the same egg option. For a consumer, the decision of where to eat becomes a matter of convenience, price, and taste. However, the grocery store is still where a consumer can make a conscious decision on what type of egg to buy.  But that may change. In mid-March grocery members of the Retail Council of Canada(RCC), including Loblaw Companies Limited, Metro Inc., Sobeys Inc., and Wal-Mart Canada Corp., announced they are “voluntarily committing to the objective of purchasing cage-free eggs by the end of 2025” (see page 6).   No longer is the cage-free issue a way for a company to differentiate itself within a competitive marketplace, it’s now on a path to become the majority. There’s no doubt that cage-free housing offers improved animal welfare compared to conventional housing, however a multi-year intensive study by the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES) determined that when all factors of sustainability were examined, including important parameters such as food affordability and environmental impact, cage-free systems did not reign supreme. The CSES study determined that enriched colony housing offered the best for the hen, farmer and consumer – yet it’s a system that is rarely mentioned by restaurants and retailers. The Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) hope to change this. It’s not about pitting one system against another – it’s about providing the consumer and retailers with choices, and keeping eggs an affordable source of high-quality protein.   There’s still time to turn the tide – but it’s going to be a battle the Canadian egg industry will be fighting for the next several years at least.      
May 16, 2016 - Merial hosted more than 500 participants at its 4th Merial Global Avian Forum in Barcelona to address opportunities in meeting the global demand for an abundant supply of safe and affordable source of protein. Poultry and egg producers, and top avian health scientists and experts from 70 countries shared information about solutions to efficiently prevent and control disease, strategies to increase productivity of poultry flocks and maximize efficiency of the poultry producers’ businesses. The growth of the global population, and expanding middle class populations and incomes in many developing countries, will require more than 30 per cent more animal protein worldwide by the year 2030. As a result, poultry producers are advancing their business models to deliver a greater quantity of healthy chicken meat at affordable prices. In a more complex and global environment, poultry production requires all-encompassing and evolving strategies that address infrastructure, production systems, disease prevention and sustainability. “As vast, multi-national poultry producers strive to safely produce more protein than ever before, Merial works side by side with them in every region of the world, to improve the health and productivity of flocks and to increase the efficiency and profitability of their business,” said Jérôme Baudon, Global Head of the Avian Business at Merial. Presentations and workshops during the forum explored global and regional poultry management trends; the evolution of emerging and re-emerging avian diseases; and current and future diagnostics and vaccine technologies. In an opening session, Rabobank Animal Protein Senior Analyst Nan-Dirk Mulder discussed the opportunity for producers to benefit from poultry being the fastest growing protein market, due to the low production costs, the health benefits of chicken meat, and consumer preference for affordability and convenience. He addressed the importance of production efficiency advances in light of the increasing pressures of global animal disease, supply and distribution challenges, food safety, animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Mr. Mulder also provided insight into the business models of the different regions and the import/export dynamics in a globalizing poultry industry. Several interactive discussions focused on the prevalence - often with considerable differences in regions - and evolution of (re)emerging diseases in the world, including respiratory diseases (avian influenza, Newcastle disease virus (NDV), Marek’s disease, infectious bronchitis, mycoplasmosis and infectious laryngotracheitis) and digestive diseases (caused by viruses, bacteria, coccidia, Histomonas and  other parasites). Other presentations examined strategies to prevent and control these highly endemic diseases, which have the potential to threaten entire flocks and cause significant quality, supply and economic losses. These sessions addressed a range of approaches to protect more birds from disease with greater convenience, less expense and reduced environmental impact, including: Disease diagnostic and vaccine monitoring tools Current and new vector vaccines in development Vaccination delivery methods and equipment solutions Hatchery automation and management techniques Flock management, cleaning & disinfection At the meeting, Merial announced updates on the use of its novel NeO effervescent tablet vaccine formulation, a simple, convenient and eco-friendly vaccine formulation that launched in September 2015. The NeO tablets are packaged in lightweight aluminum blisters and dissolved in water for spray, eye drop or drinking water administration, delivering enhanced convenience for the poultry farmers, safety for the birds and environmental benefits. The Avinew NeO effervescent tablet vaccine is already available in 16 countries for immunization against NDV and continues to roll-out globally. Merial also presented a product Life Cycle Assessment study comparing the environmental impact of the new NeO effervescent tablet solution to the existing Avinew™ vial packaging by looking at resources, and carbon and water footprint indicators. In France, the NeO packaging reduced climate impact by 80 percent, decreased resources by 70 percent, and reduced water use by 70 percent as a result of a reduction in raw materials, cold storage, and freight and distribution. The study revealed that NeO packaging is less impacting regardless of geography, and that important savings are made for every life cycle stage. The Merial Global Avian Forum also recognized the 10-year anniversary of Merial’s pioneering VAXXITEK HVT+IBD vector vaccine, used to protect flocks against Marek’s disease and Gumboro disease, two common yet threatening immunosuppressive diseases. Administered in the hatchery, the vaccine allows for immunization against both diseases with a single vaccine dose. VAXXITEK HVT+IBD is one of several offerings supported by Merial’s pioneering VTS (VaccinationTechnology and Services) teams. These dedicated field experts around the world work closely with customers at hatcheries and farms by delivering equipment, support, audits and training to help manage flock health and productivity. 
  Concern over the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in livestock has been growing steadily, with consumer and healthcare groups pressuring livestock producers and food retailers to commit to raising animals without their use. 
May 4,2016- Aviagen has announced the release of MyFlock,™ an app that gives breeder managers instant access to everything they need to take care of their birds and flocks throughout the production cycle. Available to all Aviagen customers in the U.S. and Canada, MyFlock offers convenient flock management tips and tools from mobile devices. MyFlock is a portable version of Aviagen’s standard flock management guides, offering customers an immediate and interactive pathway to the latest Aviagen advice and performance standards. From their smart phones and tablets, Aviagen customers can consult step-by-step task schedules, as well as critical advice and information regarding flock management. And, an interactive calendar lets them set reminders of daily activities needed to care for birds and optimize performance. When users are connected to the internet, MyFlock’s data is synchronized, automatically updating to the latest flock information. Therefore, through the sync function, customers have easy and uninterrupted access to the latest versions of Aviagen’s online flock management documents, even from areas with no cellular service. At no charge to customers, MyFlock can be downloaded to Android and Apple iOS phones and tablets from any Apple or Google Play store. MyFlock’s simple-to-use, intuitive interface means productivity isn’t slowed down by an initial learning curve. 
  Every year, we strive to bring innovative solutions to every facet of the poultry industry, including genetics. As birds continue to evolve, so too must our management practices. In 2016, pullets, hens and broilers are vastly different genetically than they were 30 years ago. Today’s birds want to grow faster. They are more feed efficient. And these traits are passed down through breeding stock. When comparing benchmarks such as average daily gains (ADG), weight at 42 days of age and meat on carcass, broilers in 2010 were roughly 50 per cent larger than they were in 1980.   Yet many of the standard management practices we use today originated in the 1980s. Those same rules simply don’t apply today. The following tips on how to manage 21st century birds are important for everyone throughout the complete production line – from grandparent (GP) to processing and everything in between. New Housing ParametersAs we have seen progression in poultry genetics, housing has also needed to change to accommodate a more efficient and larger bird. In older facilities, everything was manual. They were smaller in capacity, more labour intensive, less efficient and the birds weren’t kept as comfortable. Today, houses are controlled exclusively with computers – managing the ventilation, temperature, feed lines, water and lights – allowing birds to realize their full genetic potential. And as demand increased, farms grew and houses often contained more birds or total pounds. Manual systems could not have kept up with today’s ventilation systems, which include bigger, more efficient fans, complex air inlet systems and controllers with multiple settings to account for changes in temperature throughout the year. Ultimately, it comes down to creating the best environment for birds. The better the birds’ environment, the better the end product will be. Therefore, making investments in housing updates or additions now will pay for itself in the long run. New ManagementWhile broilers have nearly doubled in size over the last 30 years, breeding stock weight standards have changed very little. The only way to achieve those weights is through extremely precise management techniques. All birds want to be broilers by nature and want to eat and grow. It is our job to restrict the pullet/hen weight to a similar weight as 20 to 30 years ago so they will still produce eggs. With genetic improvements weighted heavily toward broiler production, it’s harder and harder to keep the pullet/hen from trying to grow too quickly. More Feeder SpaceIn pullets/hens/broilers, uniformity is key to efficient production and having healthy flocks. Yet, because today’s birds convert feed more efficiently and grow faster, they need proper feeding space more than ever before. Giving pullets and hens adequate feeder space – ideally, having available 11.5 – 15 cm per bird (4.5 – 5.5 in.) on chain system and 12 to 14 birds per pan on pan system – ensures that birds eat the same amount at the same time. Managing the intake, spacing and timing reduces competition for food, resulting in better uniformity and feed efficiency. Because broilers are growing more quickly, getting feed management correct from the start is more important than ever. In 1967, brooding (the first seven days) equated to only 11 per cent of the bird’s total 63-day lifespan that it took to achieve 4.4 pounds. Today, brooding is 21 per cent of the bird’s total grow-out of 33 days to achieve 4.4 pounds. With a shorter lifespan, there simply isn’t time to correct mistakes made in that first week. Water Needs Have IncreasedToday’s 35-day old broiler is more like a 50-day old broiler 30 years ago. We’ve already examined several ways this impacts the birds’ needs, and water is no different. Birds need more water because they are developing more quickly. Broilers drink at a ratio of 2 to 1 in relation to water to feed consumption. Thus, if water is restricted, the birds will not eat the needed feed to grow properly. When the lights first come on, it is an extremely high demand time for water. Monitor house meters during the first two hours after the lights come on to ensure all houses are getting adequate volume.   For pullets and hens, the need for water spikes right after feeding. Water systems should be able to provide approximately 11 to 12 gallons per 1,000 birds for the three hours following feeding. However, antiquated systems cannot keep up with this volume and only provide birds with about five to six gallons per 1,000 birds. That’s only half of their actual need. For newer houses or retrofitted water systems, plumbing needs to be able to handle the peak volume during feeding, not just the overall flow throughout the day. The results of insufficient water are dire in pullets/hens: Increased possibilities of choking birds. Difficulty achieving the proper weight. Extended cleanup time of feed intake. Excessive slat eggs, because birds stay at the feeder/water longer and don’t go to the nest in time. Reduced peak egg productions. Complex Ventilation SystemsWe cannot ventilate houses the way we did years ago because of the growth of the bird. Modern ventilation systems have numerous components to provide the optimal environment. They monitor the levels of ammonia, carbon monoxide (CO2), and dust inside the house. They control the temperature as well as relative humidity (RH), which keep the birds comfortable and the litter dry. To create the best environment for birds, it’s crucial to first understand basic principles of ventilation. Static Pressure (SP) – For every .01 of SP air is thrown ~61 cm (2 ft.) Relative Humidity (RH) – For every 11.1 C (20 F) the temperature increases, RH decreases by 50 per cent. These are the three “must-haves” of minimum ventilation: Must have correct SP for your building Must have correct air inlet door opening Must then determine proper run time to control humidity in house Getting any one of these components wrong could lead to unsuccessful ventilation. Always use the company-provided ventilation rate charts of your particular system, but consider factors such as outside temperature and RH to adjust as needed. Stir fans are also a key piece in maintaining an even temperature throughout the house to break up stratification of hot and cooler air. This also keeps litter dry by controlling the moisture level throughout the house.   Greater Heat StressWe have controls throughout the chicken house to monitor the temperature. However, that doesn’t take into consideration the temperature of the birds. The most important factor is the bird’s core body temperature, especially during feeding time when birds are in such close proximity and prone to excitement. For pullets and hens, managing temperature at feed time is crucial for proper feed intake, optimal performance and peak production. Be aware that birds are eating in areas of the house that typically aren’t monitored by the controller temperature sensors and are congregated tightly together during feeding, producing lots of BTU’s. Overheating at this time can cause excessive mortality, increased floor/slat eggs and poor performance. Ventilation/air flow should be increased during this time to manage bird temperature.  In broilers, we should pay special attention to bird temperature once they become fully feathered. Feathers act like an insulation and make it more difficult for birds to release excess heat. One misconception is that just because you grow small birds, over-heating isn’t a problem. The truth is that because you can place more small birds in any house, they actually produce more heat than larger birds that are less densely placed at the same respective age. Over and over again, we see examples of ways that pullets, hens and broilers have dramatically evolved over the past 30 years. And with that we must constantly adapt and fine-tune our management practices – as well as the housing facilities – to meet the needs of these new, larger and more efficient birds. By providing birds with the optimal environment, we can better realize their genetic potential while maximizing performance and production.      
  FUNDING THE PROGRAM CHANGESCPRC adjusted its funding program for the 2016 call for Letters of Intent (LOI) to fit better into the annual funding timeframe.  Government funding organizations generally look for industry financial support to show that the proposed research is an industry priority.  Some funders, such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), require industry funding approval prior to application. Others will accept an application prior to industry funding commitments but will not provide final approval until industry support is confirmed.  CPRC moved its call for 2016 LOIs to mid-December with a submission date in early February so that it can complete its review process and issue funding decisions by the end of June. CPRC uses a two-step review and approval process. The first step is an internal review by the CPRC Board of Directors and its support staff to determine the level of support for a research proposal by the member organizations. The review assesses the proposal’s importance to industry and how well it aligns with priorities identified in the 2012 National Research Strategy for Canada’s Poultry Sector as well as new priorities identified by CPRC and its member organizations (e.g.: climate change, precision agriculture).  A short list of projects is developed to move on to the next part of the process. The second step is to complete peer reviews conducted by research scientists of the short-listed projects, which looks more at technical aspects of the project and the validity of the research (e.g.: duplication of prior research, methodology).  The peer reviews provide valuable input to CPRC’s final decisions on the projects that will be funded.  The final funding decision will be made at CPRC’s June Board of Directors meeting.  CPRC received 28 LOIs in the 2016 call. 2015 CPRC SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTThe 2015 CPRC Scholarship was awarded to Sasha van der Klein, a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Martin Zuidhof, University of Alberta. Sasha completed her M. Sc. at the University of Wageningen in 2015 in the areas of immunology, genetics and nutrition. She published one and co-authored another paper following from her thesis in genetics, about the relationship between production traits and immunology in laying hens. Sasha’s research at the University of Alberta will look at broiler breeder management strategies. Her objective will be to better understand the long term effects of broiler breeder rearing strategies on production and the effects on offspring performance. The focus will be on lighting and body weight management. She will also conduct research on understanding the mechanisms of transgenerational effects of nutrition. In her studies she will use the Precision Broiler Breeder Feeding System, developed by Dr. Zuidhof, which can control individual bird feed intake using real-time body weight measurements to make feed allocation decisions. CPRC has redesigned its website ( to take advantage of developments in website design and management.  The redesigned website was activated in March and includes the same content as the previous website but packaged in a more concise format. It is also designed for use on a cell phone.  Please check out the new website and let us know what you think ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). REDESIGNED CPRC WEBSITECPRC, its Board of Directors and member organizations are committed to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities.  For more details on these or any other CPRC activities, please contact The Canadian Poultry Research Council, 350 Sparks Street, Suite 1007, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 7S8, phone: (613) 566-5916, fax: (613) 241-5999, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit us at The membership of the CPRC consists of Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors’ Council. CPRC’s mission is to address its members’ needs through dynamic leadership in the creation and implementation of programs for poultry research in Canada, which may also include societal concerns.        
  Probiotics are live organisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host through improvements to the intestinal microbial balance. In poultry production, interest in probiotics stems from their use as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters and also as a strategy for control of intestinal colonization with enteric microbes that cause food-borne illness in humans, e.g. Salmonella.  The mechanism of action of probiotics in poultry is thought to include the maintenance of normal intestinal microbiota, changes in metabolism and improvements to feed intake and digestion.  Administration of probiotics has been shown to improve weight gain and feed utilization and to decrease mortality of poultry.  Treatment with probiotic bacteria, particularly Lactobacilli, is capable of modulating multiple aspects of immune responses and can also enhance immune competence in chickens. THE APPROACHDespite the beneficial effects, a limited number of probiotic products are currently available with proven immune enhancing capabilities in chickens.  Dr. Shayan Sharif and his research team from the University of Guelph have developed a defined probiotic formulation containing several Lactobacilli with the ability to enhance immune responses and reduce Salmonella burden in chickens.  These Lactobacilli were obtained from the intestines of healthy chickens, as these bacteria are normal inhabitants of the chicken intestine.  Effects on growth, feed efficiency, immune system development and immune responsiveness of birds were measured to further evaluate this probiotic formulation and to determine its safety and optimal route of administration.  The long-term objective of this research is to develop cost-effective probiotic formulations for chickens that can enhance production, reduce colonization of food-borne pathogens and enhance immune competence.   THE EXPERIMENTS AND THE RESULTSThe safety of the selected probiotic formulation was assessed to ensure its suitability for use as a probiotic product.  Laboratory (in vitro) and live-bird (in vivo) trials demonstrated that the probiotic formulation was capable of decreasing Salmonella colonization at specific doses, and could be delivered via a number of ways without reducing its effectiveness. Administration of this probiotic formulation into eggs (in ovo) had no adverse effects on hatchability and general condition of the hatching chicks.  Chicks all had Lactobacillus present in their intestines at the time of hatch.  The post-hatch growth performance of broilers that received probiotics was examined and the overall body weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio were comparable to those of the chickens receiving growth promoting antibiotics in their rations.  Chicks received the probiotic treatment on day of hatch or in ovo to determine how early colonization with probiotic Lactobacilli affects the development of the intestine.  Overall the results demonstrate the ability of probiotic formulations to promote the development of the intestine. In order to determine the effects of early administration of the probiotic formulation on the stimulation of immune response and protective immunity, the researchers measured the antigen-specific antibody response to Avian Influenza Virus in chickens treated with the probiotic on the day of hatch.  Results show that probiotic treatment improves the overall immunity of chickens and their ability to fend off influenza virus.  The immune enhancing activity of the probiotic formulation was not limited to immunity against avian influenza virus and similar results were obtained when the probiotic formulation was used with a Salmonella vaccine.  Overall, this study showed that under normal conditions, there is virtually no difference in some of the key production parameters in broilers fed antibiotic- or probiotic-supplemented diets.  Also, chickens fed probiotics had lower Salmonella burden in their intestines and also had higher immunity against avian influenza virus and Salmonella. THE FINDINGSThe findings show that this probiotic formulation is safe and highly effective in terms of reducing Salmonella burden in broiler chickens.  This Lactobacillus-based probiotic has the capacity to enhance broiler immune competence of broilers.  Comparison of the effects of probiotics and antibiotics on production parameters found that probiotics and growth promoting antibiotics had comparable effects on these parameters.  This research demonstrates that probiotics can provide a safe and effective feed supplement in broiler production. This research was funded by the Canadian Poultry Research Council and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. CPRC, its Board of Directors and member organizations are committed to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities.  For more details on these or any other CPRC activities, please contact The Canadian Poultry Research Council, phone: (613) 566-5916, fax: (613) 241-5999, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit us at      
September 14, 2016 - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has announced an investment of $690,000 to Éleveurs de volailles du Québec (ÉVQ) to help the Quebec poultry industry reduce the preventive use of antibiotics. Under this project, the Poultry Research Chair at the University of Montreal's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will assess various alternative strategies and their effects on flock performance. The latest research into anti-microbial resistance (AMR) builds on a previous project, also funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and will seek solutions that can be applied across the entire poultry industry. This contribution has been made through the AgriInnovation Program under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, $698 million initiative. AAFC supports the development and adoption of industry-led initiatives regarding biosecurity and animal care to support the prudent use of antimicrobials. Pierre-Luc Leblanc, President, Les Éleveurs de volailles du Québec said in a release “the Quebec poultry industry is committed to developing cutting-edge farming methods while maintaining strict, rigorous animal welfare standards. Flock health and the quality of consumer products are top priorities. Working with the Poultry Research Chair, we are taking the necessary steps to preserve and enhance these priority areas by building on research and development."
June 30, 2016 - Egg Farmers of Canada and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) have announced the launch of the public comment period on the draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Layers. The public comment period allows stakeholders - poultry producers, consumers and others with an interest in the welfare of laying hens - to view the draft Code and provide input to the final Code. The draft revised Code is the result of the unique consensus-based, multi-stakeholder approach used across various agricultural sectors, which brings together all relevant stakeholders with responsibility for animal care standards. “Egg Farmers of Canada is committed to continuous improvements and a high standard of care for laying hens in a manner that is sustainable and implementable by all farmers in Canada,” said Peter Clarke, Chairman of Egg Farmers of Canada. “We value the National Farm Animal Care Council’s leadership and the rigorous, multi-stakeholder approach to developing the evidence-based standards that will enhance our national Animal Care Program,” he added. Once finalized, the revised Code will promote sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for housing, care, transportation, and other animal husbandry practices. The process began in April 2012, using the NFACC Code development process. Egg Farmers of Canada initiated the review with the support of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council and Pullet Growers of Canada. “The Code development process helps diverse communities work together to improve the lives of farm animals,” said poultry welfare expert Dr. Ian Duncan, representing the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the Code Committee. “We hope for broad participation in the public comment period. It’s an important opportunity to improve the quality and success of each Code.” The draft Code and the public comment system is accessible All comments must be submitted through the online system. The public comment period closes on August 29, 2016. The Code Development Committee will consider the submitted comments after the close of the comment period and the plan is that the final layer Code of Practice will be released by the end of 2016. A Scientific Committee report summarizing research conclusions on priority welfare topics for laying hens can be found online alongside the draft Code. This peer-reviewed report aided the discussions of the Code Development Committee as it prepared the draft Code of Practice. The report, developed by world-renowned animal welfare scientists, should be reviewed prior to making a submission. The layer Code revision is led by a 17-person Code Development Committee that includes participants from across Canada including producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, retailers, researchers, transporters, processors, veterinarians and government representatives. More information on the Code development process is available at The layer Code is one of five Codes of Practice being developed as part of a multi-year NFACC project. Codes of Practice serve as our national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices. It is important that Codes be scientifically informed, implementable by producers, and reflect societal expectations for responsible farm animal care. The Codes cover housing, feed and water, handling, euthanasia, transport and other important management practices. In a release today, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) indicated that the timeline for ending the use of conventional cages has been accelerated, ending five years earlier than indicated by the Egg Farmers of Canada.  Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal–provincial–territorial initiative.  
August 12, 2016 - New-Life Mills, the animal feed division of Parrish & Heimbecker Limited and P & H Eastern Grain Division have pooled resources to launch the new Science of Sustainable Agriculture Expo at this year’s Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ont. from Sept. 13th-15th 2016. The exhibit will explore the elaborate connectedness of today’s agricultural world with sustainability in the forefront. The display at the Farm Show will be both educational for the inexperienced and eye-opening for the savvy farmer.   “It’s amazing how nearly every aspect of what we do in agriculture is connected on some level. We are among the most responsible of industries when it comes to ensuring nothing goes to waste,” says Sherry Slejska, marketing communications specialist, New-Life Mills. “To my knowledge, this will be the largest initiative P&H has ever started to show the community how deeply involved we are in helping them produce crops, market crops, transport crops and feed livestock through a spider web of interactions between Ontario’s livestock and cash crop growers as well as many other commercial players. We are involved in almost every step from fertilizing the crop to grinding it into flour and opening up their marketing opportunities to the world. Most farmers don’t realize that,“ advises Jeff Jacques (Sales Mgr Crop Inputs and Agronomy, Parrish & Heimbecker, Eastern Grain Div.).
August 11, 2016 - The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, in partnership with The Center for Food Integrity in the US (CFI), convened an Animal Care Review Panel to analyze an undercover animal rights group video about an egg farm that was released on July 21, 2016.  The panel was comprised of an ethicist, an animal care specialist and a veterinarian. A report of their findings was released by the Canadian CFI on July 22, and distributed directly to select media, egg industry groups and companies, food retail and food service associations. Review the report from the panel here. Hidden camera investigations have heightened public attention on animal care issues. In an effort to foster a more balanced conversation and to provide credible feedback to promote continuous improvement in farm animal care, CFI created the Animal Care Review Panel process.  The Panel operates independently, and Its reports are not submitted to the industry for review or approval. CCFI's role is to facilitate the review process and release the panel's findings.  For more information about the Animal Care Review Panel, contact Canadian CFI: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
August 4, 2016 - Aviagen has added Matt Klassen to its customer service team to better care for customers in Canada. Klassen’s central location in Abbotsford, British Columbia, will enable him to work in close proximity to Aviagen customers west of Manitoba. As an Aviagen Customer Support Representative, Klassen will work hand-in-hand with customers, helping them reach the maximum performance potential with Aviagen’s Ross® brand of breeding stock. He will benefit poultry farmers and producers with his expert guidance and advice in key areas necessary for flock success, such as best management practices, feed and nutrition, hatchery operations and biosecurity. His objective will be to help customers get the most from their flock operations by improving efficiencies and thus increasing productivity and performance. Klassen has a well-rounded, 22-year background in the poultry industry. His career began in the early 1990s in Abbotsford, where he worked his way up from chick delivery and service to hatchery and feed mill management. In his most recent position at the British Columbia Broiler Hatching Egg Commission, he served as hatchery inspector, troubleshooting hatchery and production issues and advising the commission on policy changes regarding hatcheries. It was this breadth of experience, along with proven communication and relationship-building skills that landed him the position at Aviagen. Klassen has joined Aviagen during a momentous landmark in the company’s history. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Aviagen Ross brand, which enjoys high popularity in Canada. It is this widespread popularity of Ross in Canada, according to Scott Gillingham, Aviagen Canada’s regional business consultant, that has spawned growth in the region and prompted the company to extend its arm of support. “Klassen was the ideal candidate to add value to our Canadian customer service team due to his established relationships and thorough understanding of the Canadian poultry market. His strong communication skills and collaborative personality will help maintain and deepen the trust and confidence customers have in the and collaborative personality will help maintain and deepen the trust and confidence customers have in the Ross team and Ross products.”   
August 2, 2016 - Attendee and exhibitor registration and housing for the 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) is now open. IPPE has secured more than 1,060 exhibitors with more than 507,000 net square feet of exhibit space already booked. The Expo is expecting to attract more than 30,000 attendees through the collaboration of the three trade shows - International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo and International Meat Expo - representing the entire chain of protein and feed production and processing. The event is sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).  Register online and receive a discounted price of $50 (USD) through Dec. 31. Online registration is the only way to receive this discount. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, the registration fee will increase to $100. The IPPE website,, offers easy navigation with access to important information including attendee and exhibitor registration, hotel availability and reservations and a schedule of 2017 educational seminars and activities offered during IPPE. The annual global feed, meat and poultry industry trade show is scheduled Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, 2017, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga., USA. Resuming for 2017 is the popular “Members to Atlanta” (M2A) program, which waives the registration fee through Dec. 31, for attendees from member firms of all three associations engaged in the production of poultry, eggs and meat for consumption and feed and pet food manufacturers. The program is supported through the sponsorship of elite IPPE exhibitors. They include Arm & Hammer, Aviagen, Biomin, Ceva Animal Health, Cobb-Vantress, Diamond V, Elanco Animal Health, Heat and Control, Huvepharma, Incubation Systems, Inc., Jamesway Incubator Co., Kemin, Soybean Meal Information Center, Watt Global Media and Zoetis.  The Expo will highlight the latest technology, equipment and services used in the production and processing of meat, poultry and animal feed. The week of Jan. 30 – Feb. 3, 2017, will feature dynamic education programs focused on current industry issues. The International Poultry Scientific Forum, Spanish Technical Seminar for Maximizing the Efficiency of the Poultry Industry, Pet Food Conference and the Environmental Conference for the Meat & Poultry Industry will kick off the week’s education programs. Several Tech Talks programs will also be offered on Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition, the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit, Worker Safety Conference for the Meat & Poultry Industry, Poultry Market Intelligence Forum and the International Rendering Symposium education programs will return for 2017. The 2017 IPPE will also feature several new educational programs including important sessions on food safety, consumer trends and international trade. The following programs are new for 2017: Worker Safety Conference for the Meat & Poultry Industry; Listeria monocytogenes Prevention & Control Workshop; Meat Quality Workshop: Know Your Muscle, Know Your Meat; FSMA Hazard Analysis Training; Pork 101; Family Businesses Strategies for Success; Beef 101; Feed Production Education Program; U.S. Employment Law Regulatory Update; Meat Industry Regulatory Update and Compliance Session; Setting Up for Success: Processed Meat Product Introductions; Get the Facts with Meat Mythcrushers; Whole Genome Sequencing 101; Understanding and Achieving Operational Excellence; and Toxic Release Inventory Reporting Guidance Workshop. For more information about the 2017 IPPE, visit   
July 25, 2016 - The H5 avian influenza A virus that devastated North American poultry farms in 2014-15 was initially spread by migratory waterfowl, but evidence suggests such highly pathogenic flu viruses do not persist in wild birds. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital led the research, which appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While wild ducks and other aquatic birds are known to be natural hosts for low pathogenic flu viruses associated with milder symptoms, the results of this study indicate that is not the case with the highly pathogenic flu viruses that are associated with more severe illness. The research suggests that wild ducks and other aquatic birds are not an ongoing source of highly pathogenic flu infection in domestic poultry. "The findings provide a scientific basis for the decision by officials to use culling and quarantines to stop the 2014-15 outbreak in domestic poultry," said corresponding author Robert Webster, Ph.D., an emeritus member of the St. Jude Department of Infectious Diseases. "Now, research is needed to identify the mechanism that has evolved in these wild birds to disrupt the perpetuation of highly pathogenic influenza." | READ MORE.
July 26, 2016 - The Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC) has released its 2016 Conference Report (the Report) that summarizes the need for the agricultural sector to better disseminate research results to producers, farmers, industry, academia, consumers and among the research community.  A number of findings and recommendations are included in the Report. One key finding is that research dissemination has often been neglected in past policy development or is left until the end of the project cycle, which needs to change in order to increase stakeholder engagement and allow for greater impact of results.  Another is that the sector needs to find new ways to incent and support knowledge transfer activities. “Last year, we broke new ground by releasing Canada’s first-ever agricultural research policy, a long-standing objective for the sector and for AIC," says Serge Buy, CEO for AIC.  This year, we are continuing our work by raising awareness of the need to better communicate and disseminate agricultural research.  We need to collectively ensure that game-changing results have the impact that they deserve in Canada and internationally.” The Report also discusses the role that Intellectual Property (IP) has to play in the dissemination of research outcomes.  Although the commercialization of research results can certainly lead to a positive rate of return on investment, IP management is often debated or misunderstood and not recognized as a potential dissemination route for Canadian innovations. The Report focuses on three key themes: Dissemination Strategies and Participation Channels for Agricultural Research Knowledge Transfer (KT) and Extension IP Protection, Cooperation and Collaboration The Report is a summary of the input gathered in policy discussions with researchers, government officials and other industry stakeholders at the annual AIC Conference that took place in April 2016. A subsequent, in-depth Best Practices Report for Research Dissemination that highlights a number of best practices from across the sector will be released by AIC in late Summer 2016. To view the 2016 Conference Report click here. Highlights of the report “A scientific breakthrough that could dramatically change how farmers harvest, or manufacturers prepare a certain product, is discovered in a lab.  How do we get this vital information from the research to benefit the end user?” – Theme 1, Page 8 “…farming has become an increasingly complex undertaking. The sector must find ways to unpack the complexity and tell stories in clear, uncomplicated ways to deliver strong, but accurate messages using adequate channels.” – Theme 1, Page 10 “The inclusion of funding for KT and extension activities in the next Federal-Provincial-Territorial Policy Framework…and enhanced collaboration across the sector can enable the environment needed to implement new participatory research methods and enable effective knowledge transfer.” – Theme 2, Page 15 “Intellectual property rights (IPR) affect nearly every part of the research process from initial development to the sharing of results with other researchers.  It is also an area of great debate and misunderstanding not only in agricultural research but also in other areas of scientific research.” – Theme 3, Page 19 “Stronger IP agreements and partnerships can also help Canadian agricultural research achieve a competitive advantage at the international level.” – Theme 3, Page 20
Steve Lalonde, a chicken producer in Ormstown, Que., has been working in the chicken barn since he was 10 years old. He officially bought the farm from his dad in 1984, becoming the third generation to own the farm. The 80-acre farm is supplemented by an additional 140 acres he rents from a neighbour, which helps him and his wife, Loraine, produce several tons of organic popcorn each year. However, the heart of the farm is the 28,000 chickens that are raised on an eight-week rotational basis. “What I like about the chicken industry is how efficient the birds are and that chicken is one of the most popular meats on the market now,” says Lalonde. Over the last almost 40 years, Lalonde has seen lots of change on his farm, some by choice, and some less so. In June 2004, the Lalonde’s farm suffered a barn fire where they lost 13,000 two-week old birds, and rather than try to repair, they decided to rebuild the barn. “At the same time, we evaluated the whole chicken operation,” says Lalonde. Before the fire, they had two barns for chickens, but opted to close the second one because it didn’t meet the required standards and would have taken a significant amount of renovations to be up to par. Lalonde also saw this as an opportunity to have all the birds in one barn. They opted for a three-storey barn simply because the math didn’t add up. “There was not enough room in the yard for us to build a two-storey barn long enough for the number of birds we were going to keep,” says Lalonde. With the new barn, their bird count went up from 22,000 to 28,000. In the reconstruction, Lalonde also put in radiant floor heat on the first storey. “We felt that it would be easier for us in the future as we were in our 40s. If we were going to keep up with chicken production, we would be getting older and the clean out wouldn’t be as easy for us in 10 years or so,” says Lalonde. The radiant floor heat means the cement doesn’t sweat, it’s easier to clean out the barns, and Lalonde says the birds seem to enjoy it as well. “One thing we would have done differently is to add some conventional heat as the heated floor relies on the heat evaporating. While the floor is comfortable it is slow to heat the air on the first floor,” says Lalonde, “it also takes less bedding on the first floor as it acts as an insulator and keeps the heat from rising.” However, one of the biggest challenges in a three-storey barn was finding the right balconies for the catchers to stand on. “The first set were our own design and worked well but they soon became obsolete when the trailers used to transport the chickens changed,” says Lalonde. A custom re-design by an outside contractor solved that problem. Finding a way to easily access the middle door on the second storey was another challenge the contractor helped solve. The new barn is 40’x190’, plus a 10’ alley at the end. Each floor has five 18” fans, six 24” fans and four 36” fans. “I think would have added a couple more 36” fans but the ventilation is still adequate for the population of the barn,” says Lalonde. Since the new barn has been built, and even before, Lalonde has always done his best to monitor trends in the market, including antibiotic free birds. “We are very interested in producing antibiotic free birds but we need more information on this front,” says Lalonde. He says he is seeing conflicting reports about the economics. He is also concerned that if a treatment is required, the premium is lost and the added cost will come out of pocket. “With the quality of birds we have been getting lately, we have to treat at least two batches a year with antibiotics and I feel the financial risk is too high at the moment. As a small farm, I cannot afford to subsidize the abattoir,” says Lalonde. He explains that while he’s willing to take the risk, there is no clear gain or benefit and it will most likely end up costing him, rather than advancing, his business. While the market for antibiotics isn’t currently where it needs to be to benefit the small farm, Lalonde isn’t opposed to the notion in the future. Until then, his chicken farm is complemented by the popcorn business, and it works quite well. “We are able to use our own straw for the bedding (in the chicken barn), and the manure that the barn supplies is an excellent fertilizer for our fields,” says Lalonde. Lalonde started growing popcorn just over 10 years ago because it was his and his wife’s “snack of choice.” Since then, they have grown to now be selling seven to eight tons a year, with an ever-expanding market. He says having the popcorn business offers “added diversity of the farm operation.” They have added a grain cleaning facility to package their popcorn and to be able to clean their own grains for seeds. “This is a practice that works well on our organic farm. We like to be as self-sufficient as possible and this is just one way we do so,” says Lalonde. As their popcorn business grows, they plan to maintain the chicken farm until the moratorium on quota sales ends. While Lalonde enjoys the industry, he’s been involved in it for more than 36 years, and there may soon be the chance for someone else to take the reins.      
  An attempt to earn money for school 25 years ago has led to a thriving specialty poultry business for Trevor Allen of Skye Hi Farms in Chilliwack, B.C. Growing up on a 3.5 acre hobby farm in Maple Ridge (about an hour’s drive from his present farm), Allen always had an interest in livestock. He began as a 4-H goat pre-clubber, moved to lamb, then ended 4-H with both hogs and beef. At 14, he began hanging around a local feedlot, learning to operate the equipment and some of the ins and outs of commercial agriculture. When preparing to go to the local college, one of the feedlot owners, Steve Wynnyk, who grew a few turkeys on the side, suggested he grow a batch of turkeys for Christmas. “I started with 150 turkeys which ended up being 32 pounds each,” he recalls. He sold them by “cold-calling” on health food and other stores, most of whom had never sold turkeys before. At the same time, he was earning diplomas in livestock production and business management at the University of the Fraser Valley. As a first-generation farmer and self-styled entrepreneur, Allen “knew nothing about quotas or the supply management system.” He attended a few B.C. Turkey Marketing Board annual meetings (BCTMB) (“I sat in the back”) but basically flew under the radar until 2002, by which time he was growing 1,700 turkeys/year. At that point, then BCTMB-manager Colyn Welsh called. “Colyn gave me two options: I could cease and desist or I could become the board’s first new entrant direct vendor-producer,” Allen says. That was his first major turning point. Armed with a permit, he could approach financial institutions for a mortgage, allowing him and his mother to buy his present farm. Although his mother owns half the land and her own home on the property, she has no financial interest in the farm. By this time, Allen had married his wife Donna. Like Trevor, Donna is a first-generation farmer who went through the 4-H program while growing up on a Fraser Valley hobby farm. Although “I’m more into large animals,” she is fully involved in the poultry business, noting “turkeys are way easier on fences.” The Allens now grow about 7,000 hen turkeys/year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. “We could grow about 2,000 more but I can’t get the quota,” Trevor notes. “I put bids in six times but was only successful once.” He grows two flocks for each holiday, spaced three weeks apart to offer both 12-week and 15-week-old birds. For the first 4-5 weeks, the birds are kept inside a home-built barn. Once fully-feathered, the birds are turned out onto the range each morning and brought back into the barn each evening. The field is divided into paddocks using movable fencing, with each paddock able to access an open-roofed area the turkeys prefer during inclement weather. The turkeys are custom-processed as whole birds, then returned to the farm for warehousing, sorting and distribution. They are marketed as certified non-medicated, non-antibiotic free-range turkeys. “I deliver about 70 per cent direct to retailers myself and the other 30 per cent go through a local meat distributor,” Allen says, noting his website lists all 22 outlets that sell his turkeys. “All my retailers have my number so they can call me with questions or issues.” In 2004, he put his name on the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board (BCCMB) new entrant list. A year later, the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board’s Specialty Review ordered the boards to increase specialty and regional production by bringing new entrants into the industry. That led the BCCMB to offer him the choice of growing Taiwanese chickens immediately or waiting for a new entrant opportunity in mainstream chicken. Because FIRB wanted new mainstream production to be outside the Fraser Valley, Allen chose to grow Taiwanese chickens and now grows about 45,000 birds/year. The Taiwanese chickens are grown year-round in 16-week cycles. He was also appointed to the BCCMB’s Specialty Marketing Advisory Committee, along with Rob Donaldson, then the province’s largest specialty chicken grower, and another small grower, Casey van Ginkel. He and Casey decided they would have more control and perhaps even save some money if they produced their own chicks so they started their own Taiwanese chicken breeder flocks in 2010. “We bought a barn and equipment from a mainstream breeder going out of business and each took half. Since each of us didn’t need eggs year-round, we formed T & C Chick Sales and arranged our cycles so we could share the eggs,” Trevor explains. “We learned you need to have at least four breeder flocks with three in production at any time,” he says. Since they didn’t have enough of their own production to make that viable, they started selling chicks to other, mostly new entrant, Taiwanese chicken growers. “We will sell over 600,000 chicks this year.” Even though Donna insisted she would not pick eggs, Trevor appears to have been very hard-of-hearing that day. “I ended up doing all the egg picking and still pick 90 per cent of them,” she states, good-naturedly adding, “Trevor’s gotten a lot better the last few weeks.” T&C’s decision to become broiler breeders got a cold reception from the B.C. Broiler Hatching Egg Commission, even though the commission had decided, following FIRB’s Specialty Review, not to regulate specialty hatching egg production. BCBHEC’s efforts to stymie them resulted in a successful, yet still not fully resolved, FIRB appeal. In contrast, both the turkey and chicken boards, and their growers, appear to have welcomed Allen with open arms. He served as a B.C. Turkey Association director from 2003-2015 and has been serving as a director of the B.C. Chicken Growers Association since 2006. Although the BCCGA considers him its “de facto” specialty chicken director, Allen stresses he has been elected by and represents “all growers.” “Once you get past the marketing, we’re all the same. We all have OFFSAP and we all have biosecurity,” he notes, adding his hatchery, processing and wholesaling experience brings “a different perspective” to the board. While a director he has chaired the Emergency Response committee, served on the Poultry-in-Motion (educational trailer) committee, the agricultural waste control industry working group, the SE task force and the Sustainable Poultry Farming Group board. “I try to attend every producer meeting and all the FIRB appeals (even non-poultry) I can. My grandpa told me knowledge is power and I want to be the guy making informed decisions for the betterment of not only my farm but the industry as a whole.”      
  Canada now has an official day to celebrate agriculture - February 16, 2017.    Canada’s Agriculture Day is a “time to celebrate and draw a closer connection between Canadians, our food and the people who produce it,” according to its creator, Agriculture More than Ever The day marks the first time the industry has dedicated a day to celebrating agriculture and the people in the industry.  It was announced on June 1, the final day of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) Public Trust Summit in Ottawa. Candace Hill, manager of Agriculture More Than Ever, said in a release Canada’s Agriculture Day complements the industry-led initiative that has attracted more than 470 partner organizations and 2,100 individuals committed to creating positive perceptions of agriculture. Agriculture More Than Ever’s goal is to encourage those involved in agriculture to speak up and speak positively about the industry. “It’s all about showing our love, pride and passion for an industry that puts food on our tables,” Hill says. “We want to give everyone the opportunity to have a voice in the conversation and celebrate the industry that feeds the world.” “We all eat food yet many people don’t automatically make the connection between what’s on their plate and the commitment and care that goes into raising livestock, growing crops or processing food,” says Crystal Mackay, CEO of Farm & Food Care Canada, a national charity committed to building public trust and confidence in food and farming in Canada. “Every link in the food production chain – from the farm to the grocery store and restaurant – plays a vital role in bringing food to your table every day,” says Mackay, whose group organized the summit. “Canada’s Agriculture Day is an opportunity to get involved, celebrate and be a part of the conversation about food and farming.” Hill encourages the industry, organizations and individuals to come up with their own ideas and activities to promote and celebrate Canadian agriculture. Resources and ideas on how individuals and organizations can do that are available on the Canada’s Agriculture Day website, It’s a much-needed initiative, particularly given the lack of understanding by consumers on how their food is produced.  At the summit, CCFI released the results of a survey that showed 93 per cent of Canadians say they know little or nothing about farming.   That’s a staggering statistic, but there is some hope — the research also showed that two-thirds of Canadians want to know more about Canada’s food system and where there food comes from.  “We see a big opportunity ahead of us,” Mackay said in a release.  “The time is now to open up more dialogue and increase opportunities for credible conversations about our food in Canada.” She says the new CCFI will serve as a “critical hub to help the Canadian food system better understand the public’s questions and concerns and determine how to bridge the gap that currently exists between farm gates and dinner plates.” Farmers can also play a part.  Although I’ve heard numerous farmers say they are not comfortable being a public relations spokesperson for their respective industries, opportunities do exist for “agvocacy” that allow a person to stay within his or her comfort zone.  Check out the resources available at and visit for more information on the CCFI and the key findings from the Canadian Public Trust research – it’s sure to inspire.       
July 15, 2016 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is continuing its investigation into an avian influenza situation near St. Catharines, Ontario. There remains one single premises confirmed to be infected with avian influenza, which is a commercial duck farm. The Agency has established an Avian Influenza Control Zone that covers a 3 km boundary from this farm. All other premises located within this zone, as well as other high risk-contact premises have been placed under quarantine. The Agency is continuing surveillance and testing within the zone to determine whether there is any additional evidence of avian influenza. To date, all of this testing has been negative.  The Agency continues to monitor this situation closely. The Avian Influenza Control Zone remains in effect until further notice. 
August 11, 2016 - Twenty-one U.S. land-grant institutions and partner organizations are collaborating to provide researchers, Extension professionals, regulators, feed industries, and producers with up-to-date, research-based information on the nutrient needs of agricultural animals. Since forming in 2010, the National Animal Nutrition Program has created a database of animal feed ingredients. The database is a vital tool to inform cost-effective production decisions, animal welfare policies and procedures, and to guarantee the safety and nutritional value of consumers' food. "Feed is the largest livestock and poultry production expense, and better information on animal nutritional needs and feeding strategies is key to making livestock production sustainable and effective," stated Merlin Lindemann, project leader fromUniversity of Kentucky. Activities conducted by the program aid in the development of feeding strategies and research to enhance animal health, which allows for better productivity and lowered costs. Consumers will also benefit from safer, more nutritious meat, dairy, and eggs. "The significance of this data is vast," says Phil Miller, project participant from University of Nebraska. "It shows how we can use the byproducts from biofuel grain production in animal feed more economically.  It also reveals how modified animal diets can reduce the emissions from livestock that contribute to global warming." So far, the program has collected and sorted 1.5 million feed ingredient records to create a reliable database that is used by organizations in over 30 countries, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.  The National Animal Nutrition Program is a National Research Support Project supported by the Agricultural Experiment Stations with funds administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The feed database is only one of many accomplishments of the NANP since its inception in 2010. For more information, visit The participating land-grant universities include: Auburn University University of California, Davis University of Connecticut University of Guelph University of Illinois  Iowa State University University of Kentucky Michigan State University  Louisiana State University University of Maryland  University of Nebraska North Carolina State University  Ohio State University  Pennsylvania State University Purdue University  Texas A&M University  Texas Tech University  Virginia Tech University  Washington State University  University of Wyoming  USDA-ARS/Wisconsin
August 11, 2016 - Earlier this week Yum Brands investors filed a shareholder proposal requesting that it phase out antibiotic use in its meat supply, with a particular focus on the company's Kentucky Fried Chicken chain. READ MORE  
  Elijah Kiarie hasn’t lost sight of the fact that the poultry industry is a business. He knows farmers want to maximize their income and they want their farms to be sustainable. As the newly appointed assistant professor in poultry nutrition in the department of animal biosciences at the University of Guelph, he intends to lead the establishment of a world-class program in poultry nutrition with a focus on improving feed efficiency to help that important bottom line. As farmers know, feed is more than 60 per cent of the cost of production. In Ontario alone, Kiarie estimated that with 200 million 2.4 kg broiler birds, improving feed efficiency by just one per cent would save the farmers in Ontario about $3 million. Across the country that would translate to $10 million in savings over half a billion birds per year. But when Kiarie uses the term “feed efficiency,” it’s not just your typical feed to gain ratio. Feed efficiency can mean so much more than that. What if birds could get more from their feed? The typical excretion rate on a corn/soy diet is up to 15 per cent. What if that could be reduced to 10 per cent? That would be more efficient. As hens are housed in larger spaces, will more nutrients be directed to activity rather than productivity, reducing feed efficiency? Bone health is also a huge issue: the early nutrition received by the chick plays an important part in the strength of the skeletal system. That is part of a field called epigenetics – a field of research investigating how genes are expressed, right from pre-hatch. Can the chick get a better start? What about antimicrobial use? Both governments and consumers are looking for alternatives. Can probiotics provide a solution? While Kiarie acknowledges manipulating the gut microflora involves more than just nutrition, with management factors also coming into play, what if slight changes in feed can reduce the need for antimicrobials in the first place? These are just some of the questions to which Kiarie will be seeking answers. So far he has defined several issues that may be implicated in sub-optimal production, from variability in feed ingredients and the ability of the bird to digest their food, to water quality issues, high gut microbial loads, subclinical and clinical disease, leg problems, and environmental stress from ammonia. For both eggs and meat, these issues may represent areas where commercial production can be brought closer to genetic potential through nutrition. All of these issues can be traced back to gut microbes. There are more than 400 species of bacteria in the gut – how can we make them happy? When you feed the bird you feed the chicken but you’re also feeding the gut microbes: improving efficiency means you want to only feed the bacteria the chicken needs. As Kiarie says, “If you’re feeding the wrong microbes, you’re wasting feed.“ The chicken is affected in a 360-degree cycle, he explains, starting with the fundamentals: a strong gut and skeletal system to perform. If you don’t have a good gut and skeleton you’ve missed an opportunity to deal with what he calls an “addressable gap.” In this cyclic pattern a chick grows on maternal nutrition, so the mother needs to be healthy; we can’t just look at the chick in isolation. With this cycle in mind, Kiarie is looking at the broiler breeders to address egg size and body weight management. Kiarie earned his PhD at the University of Manitoba and his undergraduate and masters degrees at the University of Nairobi. He has been a research scientist at DuPont Industrial Biosciences since 2011. In his new role at the University of Guelph he will pull together students, researchers, and funding from industry and government for projects and ultimately develop industry workers, bringing all these minds together to work as a team to help to place Ontario as a leader in collaborative, world-class poultry research. The current specific areas of focus for the poultry nutrition plan include neonatal nutrition, immunity and epigenetic responses; dietary factors that affect gut function and health, performance, and product quality; feed additives to improve gut health and feed utilization; researching alternatives to anti-coccidials and antibiotics; and looking at feedstuffs and processing methods. Kiarie continues to work closely with monogastric and gut microbiology colleagues from the University of Manitoba where he researched different feeding strategies to improve gastrointestinal health and nutrient use in pigs and poultry. During the first several months of his new job, Kiarie has met with producers at regional meetings, with industry groups and has spoken with feed company representatives and nutritionists to establish what issues are relevant to the Ontario and Canadian poultry industry. From here he will begin to generate letters of intent for research projects while continuing to publish his own research. While his task is complex, he says his greatest joy still involves answering questions from producers and training students.   His professorship position was made possible thanks to a donation by Ontario poultry farmers James and Brenda McIntosh to the university in 2013.      
August 5, 2016 - As they prepare to take on the world in Rio, members of the national swim team were sent sent off with the best wishes of Canada's chicken farmers. These competitive swimmers, along with their coaches and support staff, have each been given a special edition 2016 Lucky Loonie, in recognition of farmers' and athletes' partnership for healthy living. "We are proud to be the official protein of swimming in Canada and to support Canada's athletes," said Dave Janzen, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada. "With the team equipped with these Lucky Loonies, we're cheering them on as they compete for Canada in Rio." "Swimming Canada's partnership with Chicken Farmers of Canada has grown every year, and continues to evolve," said Chris Wilson, Swimming Canada's Director of Marketing. "Our swimmers appreciate the support they get and understand the amount of work thatCanada's 2,800 chicken farmers do to put a healthy product on Canadian tables. This good luck gesture is a fun way for the farmers to remind the athletes of all the supporters rooting them on from back home." Last year, farmers' ongoing support for swimming in Canada was recognized with the 2015 Corporate Excellence Award from Aquatics Canada. The award specifically highlighted the farmers' wide range of support, from high performance athletes to the grassroots levels. The Lucky Loonie, a specially-minted coin from the Royal Canadian Mint, has been issued for each Olympic and Paralympic Games since a loonie was buried beneath the hockey rink for the 2002 Winter Games. It worked then too as both the men's and women's teams won gold that year.  
  For Susan Schafers, the choice to go cage-free in 2007 was obvious. “At the time, my father still owned the quota, and he downsized from 30,000 to 7000 layers,” she explains. “For that smallish flock size, free-run made sense financially. And also, my brother, Martin Kanehl, was selling poultry barn equipment, and we saw the writing on the wall with cage-free. Everyone would be moving that way. I think we were second in Alberta to do it.” Schafers’ operation, STS Farms, located in Stony Plain (outside Edmonton) supplies Burnbrae, which is the sole provider of eggs to McDonald’s Canada. Schafers is pleased that the retail chain sources eggs, meat, potatoes and more from Canadian farms, a practice some other chains don’t choose to employ. STS Farms was started by Schafers’ parents Manfred and Elke Kanehl, in the early 1960’s. They were immigrants from Germany who met and married here. “My Dad did everything from working the railroads to being a cowboy to running a hatchery,” Schafers explains. “At one point, he got a few hundred chickens and then grew from there. He grew grain as well, and had a broiler-breeder operation and then went to layers. As their layer flock downsized and they stopped cropping, their pullet operation grew and STS Farms now produces 150,000 pullets a year. “We started with free run housing with the pullets, then went to caged and now we’ll be switching to loose housing again, which might mean downsizing,” Schafers says. “The next renovation will be aviary free-run, with birds having the opportunity to learn how to fly.” She notes that in 2007, she would have gone to an aviary system for the layers, but they weren’t around at the time. “Now there are better styles,” she says. “They’ve done a lot of development work, and now you have the ability to place more birds.” While Schafers supports producers using aviary, enriched cage or free-run systems, she notes that when you go from cages to one of the looser housing systems, there is an increase in the environmental footprint of the farm – a fact which many consumers may not realize. “You have to build more barns, which takes up more space and uses more resources and adds to the cost,” she notes. “That’s the reality. It will take time for industry to make those changes. I think consumers should have the choice of buying eggs from hens living in different housing systems, but it’s different when retailers and some consumers dictate a single choice to egg farmers and to all consumers. Going to all free-run barns across the country will mean the price of eggs will go up substantially. But there is a silver lining in that there is excitement and enthusiasm in the industry along with some fear and uncertainties. We have a very strong and positive industry. Eggs are considered healthy again, and we’re in growth mode. I’d like to build a second barn in time.” Schafers has five full-time employees and several part-time employees, some of whom have been with her over 20 years. She has a farm manager, but does lots of hands-on daily tasks such as gathering eggs and loading pullets as she enjoys it, it keeps her in good touch with the birds and it provides good balance. Her parents live next door to her and her children on the farm, and her Dad Manfred still enjoys helping out and sharing his wealth of knowledge. Schafers’ children Isaac (14 years old), Elisabeth (17) and Glen (19) have always helped out on the farm. “I’ve always encouraged them to get post-secondary education and to have that experience away from the farm,” she says. “They will know when and if they want to come back.” Importance of AssociationsLike Schafers’ father, who served on the Egg Farmers of Alberta (EFA) and Egg Farmers of Canada boards for many years, Schafers also has held association positions. She’s the current EFA Vice Chair and former Chair and has also served on the Pullet Growers of Canada board. “Unless you’re on a board, you don’t realize how important it is,” she says. “At some point, every producer should be on the board. You see how what you do on your own farm relates to what is happening in your own province and nationally, how the provinces need to work together on national issues and also international ones. I really enjoy the board service.” Schafers has a degree in Agricultural Management, and does both public speaking and blogging on the EFA website. “Ag education is one of the things I love the most,” she says. “It’s many things. I enjoy being part of the conversation and talking to people about their views. I love teaching people about where their food comes from in the schools, at events, on television, and I think it’s very important as an entire industry because interacting means you’re able to develop your industry and reach people. We are well on our way to educating people about food and animal husbandry but we can always do more.” She adds, “I think egg producers are living in a great time, in a very strong growth mode where eggs are viewed as nutritious, fresh and economical for consumers. Yes, there are challenges, the biggest one being the housing situation, but we will meet those. I am very happy being on the EFA Board, with the current focus on planning and supporting producers to find solutions. “Producer education and awareness are very important so that producers are prepared for the future and aren’t left scrambling.”      
Very few Canadian farmers schedule their farm projects around when the House of Commons is sitting in Ottawa. But that’s the case for New Brunswick egg farmer and Member of Parliament, TJ Harvey. By the end of June when the House adjourns, TJ will break from his hectic travel schedule to be in his constituency of Tobique-Mactaquac until mid-September. When not fulfilling responsibilities in his home riding this summer, TJ squeezes in time with his wife, Tanya, and their four children – Emma, Madilyn, Sarah and Jack – and juggles farm projects. TJ and Tanya were accepted as new entrants in 2009, and were established in their newly built layer barn the following year at Sunnyside Farms Ltd. in Glassville, N.B. “We started with an allocation of 1,100 birds from the Egg Farmers of New Brunswick, and have grown to 3,000 birds with additional allocations and increases,” TJ explains. It was Tanya’s introduction to poultry farming while gathering eggs with her sister at the local Clarks chick hatchery growing up that sparked the interest in her and TJ becoming new entrants. Tanya’s family has a dairy farm in Midland, N.B.   A second generation farmer, TJ grew up on a seed potato farm that his father started with seven acres in the 1980s. In 2011, when the opportunity presented itself, the family sold out of the cropping enterprise, which then comprised 550 acres of seed potatoes and 900 acres of soybeans, wheat and barley in rotation. Today, TJ and Tanya still live on the family farm, while the family rents out the potato storages and remaining acres of land. While most N.B. new entrants retrofitted or worked with existing barns, the Harveys built new on a site that hadn’t had livestock in recent years. This meant they had to meet the province’s stringent Livestock Operations Act. Despite the challenges, they “had the opportunity to build a modern barn on a smaller scale,” TJ says.   The barn was built large enough to house 4,000 birds in a conventional housing system. It’s fully automated except for the gathering, which “allows us a lot of flexibility.” That flexibility has come in handy with TJ’s schedule and Tanya working full time in tech services for McCain Foods Ltd., headquartered in nearby Florenceville, the World’s French Fry Capitol. An employee, Chris Milheron, that has been with the family since the seed potato growing days has been “invaluable” as a consistent set of hands and eyes working in the layer barn. “We encourage our four kids to go and help in the barn as much as possible, too,” says TJ, who also makes a point to have at least weekends in the barn when life gets extra hectic. “An alarm system is the best thing we installed,” notes TJ, “whether it’s a power failure, fans or water issue, we know instantly and can have someone there right away.” The Harveys had plans to expand by adding another tier of layers, but have been stymied by the requirement that future expansions must be either free range or enriched housing. It’s just not in the cards for them so soon after their initial investment to get established. Interest in Politics“Deep down, I always knew I wanted to run for politics,” TJ shares. After off-farm stints with crop protection and food ingredient companies, the opportunity presented itself to get involved in the leadership campaign for Justin Trudeau. “I was always engaged and part of the local Liberal association and it just started to snowball from there.” On October 19, 2015, TJ was elected to represent his constituency in the Federal election. He is one of the few Members of Parliament under 35 years of age. His farm background also means he’s frequently lobbied on agricultural issues. TJ believes the biggest challenge in agriculture is the disconnect between the farm and consumer. “We need to get a lot better at telling our story.” He encourages farmers to be proactive and create opportunities to show what you do, such as adding skyways or viewing rooms on your farm for visitors. “People just do not understand and we have a duty to share our story.” For his part, in Ottawa, TJ is chairing an all-party agriculture caucus. He describes it as an opportunity for MPs representing rural areas, or those interested in or wanting to learn about agriculture to meet and leave the partisan aspect at the door. “We just share, talk and debate about what’s best and what’s needed for the agricultural industry, and how we can support that with good policy.” It’s one of few such caucuses in Government, though TJ sees more being established in future. “It’s really taken off,” he says, noting approximately 40 MPs have joined the all-party agriculture caucus. The only requirements to join are an interest in agricultural issues, and attending the 7 a.m. meetings each month. “We’re working hard to get renewed vigour around agriculture.” TJ has noticed that, often, one sector of agriculture gets pitted against another. He describes this as unfortunate and unnecessary. “As a country, we need to create agriculture policy that allows all our sectors to flourish, and that includes supply management as a key pillar.” TJ is confident every sector can gel together without creating hardship in another. “There are much easier ways to make a living than farming. If you didn’t love farming, you wouldn’t do it.” TJ believes our agricultural industry stakeholders can rally around buying Canadian products, food security and food sovereignty – issues that touch all sectors. Certainly, TJ and Tanya are proof that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for working life in agriculture. “If you’re committed to agriculture and have an open mind, you’ll see opportunities among the challenges.” There’s a shelf-life to politics and TJ won’t rule anything out for the future. “When you stop looking for opportunities, then you’re truly done.”
Sometimes in life we have to wait for things, but they are worth it. In Vernon Froese’s case, it was broiler quota that he waited for, first applying while he was still in high school in 1969. “I knew there were about 30 or 35 people ahead of me at the time,” he remembers. “The list was updated every few years, and you had to confirm your application and interest. I didn’t own any land, but I knew I wanted to farm.” Vernon got married in 1976 to Hilda and for a few years, they raised pullets. In 1981, the Froeses finally received notification they were next in line for chicken quota, and the year after that, the couple bought Hilda’s parents’ farm. What is now called “the home farm” in the Froese family is a farm that had been started by Hilda’s parents around 1948 as a small dairy on about 400 acres. Hilda and Vernon waited two years to convert the dairy to chicken and hogs. “I grew up on a dairy farm and knew what the workload was, and it was difficult to find quota to expand the dairy,” Vernon says, “so we converted the dairy barn to a hog barn and built a broiler barn the same year.” At that time, Manitoba had what was called a “roaster” quota for bigger male birds, and quota was based on square footage, so the barn Hilda and Vernon built in 1984 was 10,000 square feet. Today, they produce 42,000 kilograms of chicken per cycle at the home farm and 87,000 kilograms on another farm purchased about seven years ago, which already had three chicken barns. The Froeses also have two other farm sites where they raise 12,000 feeder hogs on contract to Maple Leaf. They also crop 1500 acres (grain corn, soybeans and canola), selling all their grain to the local feed mill where they buy all their feed. “Some of our grain definitely comes back to us,” Vernon says. “They cook the grains and pellet the chicken feed, and the birds seem to do better on the cooked feed.” Sons Tyler (married to Alishia) looks after fields and equipment, and Ryan (married to Ange) manages the chicken and hog sites. The farm also has one full-time employee. Daughter Trista and her husband Paul have their own farm and daughter Rochelle (married to Brian) is a massage therapist in Medicine Hat. In all, Hilda and Vernon have 16 grandkids. “The oldest is 12, so none of them work on the farm yet,” Vernon says. For his part, he notes “I do the paperwork and pay bills and look after chickens on the home farm. Tyler and Ryan handle day-to-day farm management now, and that’s a big change from ten years ago.” The Froeses have had some challenges with chick quality over the years, mostly chicks that come from U.S. hatcheries, but Vernon says one local hatchery is planning to raise all its own, and so more Canadian chicks will be available locally. The Froeses manage their flocks carefully and it’s been years since a veterinarian had to visit the farm. Vernon has served on the Manitoba Chicken Board for ten years. “The price for chicken, food safety and animal care programs have been some issues provincially over that time period, and nationally there was a new allocation agreement settled in the last two years,” he notes. “The government looks favourably on the supply management system and the farmers make it work well. Allocation takes a lot of time and is carefully done.” Vernon notes that Manitoba’s chicken consumption has risen along with growing provincial and national population levels – and due to more consumers preferring chicken as a nutritious and healthy meat. “We went through an expansion phase a few years ago in Manitoba and brought in five new farms provincially last summer,” he says. “Poultry farming is a very stable industry and it has a good future.” Vernon notes that raising chicken without antibiotics is a big issue now, and there are no easy answers. “We’ve reduced antibiotics and antimicrobial use as an industry,” he says, “but animal welfare is compromised when you raise birds completely without the use of antibiotics. If birds are sick, you need to treat them. We want to make sure the bird does not suffer, so the therapeutic use of antibiotics is needed occasionally. All chicken meat is antibiotic-free because we follow closely the withdrawal time requirement before the chicken is processed. It’s up to us to get the message out that we are raising a safe product and reducing antibiotic use.” Vernon adds that preventative use of antibiotics is changing rapidly, with Class I drugs gone completely and Class II and III being replaced with alternative ionophores or vaccinations as they become available. “Management practices have changed over the years,” he adds, “and farmers are doing an excellent job raising their birds.” Vernon believes chick quality and barn air quality has to be top notch if no antibiotics are being used, and as a chick’s first peck at manure can create health issues, keeping bedding clean is an important issue as well. Vernon is part of the national team that worked towards updating the Code of Practice for broilers. In its examination of euthanasia, housing, transport, density, temperatures, ammonia and all other aspects of production over the last few years, the team found a few changes were needed, one being that four hours of darkness per 24-hour period will be mandatory. Vernon says most flocks get that already, as research has shown birds do better with some complete rest. The Froeses are no strangers to new technologies, and in their hog barns, they have an automated feed air intake, fan and alarm system that can be controlled online from anywhere in the world. “I remember at first, there was only one small 12-inch fan in the dairy barn when we bought the first farm,” Vernon remembers. The Froeses also have GPS on all their field equipment (Tyler was a GPS dealer at one point) and Vernon and his sons consider it worthwhile. Ryan finds the GPS handy for precision cropping, especially at night. “I can read a book while I’m harvesting or planting as it’s hands-free, and there’s no overlap and wasted time,” he says. “But you still need to pay attention for things like a big rock or mud holes where you can start spinning.” The family’s oldest chicken barn is turning 40 this year and everything in it will need to be replaced over the next five years with new and automated systems. But what won’t change on the Froese farm is cooperation and companionship. “It’s a blessing to be able to work with family,” Ryan says. “My father, brother and I all have a third ownership and so you work decisions out together, and whatever challenges you have, you face them together.”
July 20, 2016 - The National Chicken Council (NCC) recommends revising or clarifying several key aspects of the proposed rule  from the National Organic Program (NOP), announced in April, to enhance bird health, protect food safety, and maintain a viable organic program. "NCC is concerned that the proposed rule imposes unreasonable costs and requirements of doubtful benefit on organic farmers, presents grave risks to animal health… and undermines ongoing international efforts to develop poultry welfare standards," said Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., NCC Senior Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, in comments submitted yesterday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The proposed standards are assumed to increase the mortality rates for laying hens and broiler chickens from 5 to 8 percent, a 60 percent increase. Mortality rates are a key indicator of animal welfare and flock health, yet the proposed changes would increase mortality, significantly decreasing bird welfare and farmer economic viability. The proposed standards are also in direct opposition to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recommendations for biosecurity. In light of the recent, devastating outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), it is vital farmers retain the ability to make timely preventive measures to protect their flocks. Under the current proposed rule, a "documented occurrence of a disease in the region or relevant migratory pathway must be present before outdoor access can be restricted," with unclear definitions of what constitutes a region or documented occurrence. Dr. Peterson also noted the proposal drastically underestimates, or neglects to estimate, the cost of the requirements and the impact of those costs. "NOP does not include the cost of an avian illness outbreak, the likelihood and magnitude of which is materially increased through the proposed outdoor access requirement." In other words, avian illness outbreaks like the 2015 HPAI outbreak will be more likely to occur, and the effects will be more likely to be greater, under the proposal. The direct economic consequences of the 2015 HPAI outbreak were estimated to be approximately $3.3 billion, far overshadowing the anticipated maximum benefit of $62.6 million per year in the proposed rule. The full comments can be accessed by clicking here.
  Clair Doan wears many hats – family man, banker, turkey farmer, and most recently, Nuffield Scholar.   Both raised on dairy farms, he and his wife Kathryn love working with people and in the agricultural industry – he as a regional Associate Vice President of Agricultural Banking for National Bank of Canada, and she as Director, Global Business Development and Technology at   Growing up, Clair says he always had chickens and “knew I wanted to invest in the poultry industry.” In 2009, he and Kathryn built their first turkey barn on their 90-acre farm property in Norwich, Ont., raising about 9,000 heavy toms for the further processed market per year.   Turkey was chosen primarily because no minimum quota purchase was required and because of its reputation as a lean protein. “We viewed it as an opportunity for growth,” he says. In 2012, they doubled their brooding capacity and now produce 18,000 birds per year. In 2014 they purchased another 100 acres of land, and hope to expand their grow-out capacity next year. Their family has also grown to include three daughters – Camryn (6), Sophia (4) and Charlotte (2).  With both a busy family life and careers, Clair says he and Kathryn are fortunate that their jobs allow them the flexibility required around bird placement, shipping and clean-out dates. The corn, soybeans and wheat grown on the farm are cropped by one of Clair’s brothers, whose farm (along with farms owned by another brother and his father) is located on the same road.  “Our family philosophy is to have small farms, not just one big farm,” Clair says. Although Clair says he is a “huge supporter of supply management”, he can’t ignore the relatively low return on investment.  Working as a financial adviser to Ontario farmers for the past 12 years, he says he has noticed  “debt levels continue to increase on farms.” Despite the fact that supply management is stable and he and his wife made the decision to invest in new facilities and quota, Doan says he questions whether or not farmers in Canada are always meeting the needs of consumers. “Supply management may be failing us if we can’t produce what consumers want.” He feels that farmers sometimes have a tendency to grow complacent, expect the supply management system to always remain the same and protect themselves first. “We spend a lot of time looking inwards, not outwards.  If we fail to look outside ourselves, we are falling short,” he says. Several years ago, increasing political pressures and potential trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that may or may not be ratified formed a nagging question in Doan’s mind: How do other countries deal with the loss of regulated markets? Around the same time, Clair says he and Kathryn were invited to a dinner hosted by fellow Canadian poultry farmers who are also past Nuffield Scholars, where poultry farmers from Australia were also in attendance.  It was at this dinner that Clair began thinking about how the Nuffield Scholarship program could help answer the questions he had and provide an opportunity to learn about agriculture in other countries. Doan says he loves learning and the opportunity for “self-directed learning was appealing to me.” The Nuffield Canada Scholarship, part of Nuffield International, provides three Canadian farmers with $15,000 each, allowing them a minimum of 10 weeks of travel for the purpose of studying agriculture, with a mission of fostering agricultural leadership and personal development through international study. After following other scholars closely for two years, and “getting my wife’s permission,” Clair applied for the scholarship last year and began his Nuffield journey, which will span a total of 18 months.  His topic of study is “Evaluating poultry markets to ensure Canada’s supply management system is efficient and innovative.” Doan says he plans on spending more than 10 weeks travelling the globe, some of which will be self-funded and supported by industry partners “who see the value in what I am doing.” He began with the mandatory Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference, held In Ireland, and then spent three weeks travelling within Ireland, Scotland, England, Holland and Germany.   He says part of the value of being involved in the Nuffield program is understanding how Europeans view transitions as opportunity, for example, how the Dutch, who only produce cage-free eggs that sell for a low price, see the potential in exports. In Canada, the possibility of low returns makes the industry much more hesitant to go cage-free. Although he noticed a decline in turkey processing and consumption in the UK and Holland, Germany has invested in market development and processing.  The primary turkey processor there processes 60,000 turkeys and doesn’t sell them as whole birds, which is a contrast to Canada’s market.  Instead, the turkey is sold in portions no bigger than one kilogram in size, making it easier for families and single people to make turkey part of their meal, he says.  He also observed that European customers aren’t as concerned as North Americans about how the turkey is presented, but they ask questions about what other values, such as animal welfare, the turkey they buy comes with. “It’s become more important,” he says. Clair says the Turkey Farmers of Ontario have a levy for producers that is used for marketing and wants to know if it makes a difference. “It’s a question farmers should be asking,” he says. Bridging the needs of production and what consumers want, and how farmers can play a role in that is one of the many questions Clair seeks to gain more knowledge about during his Nuffield journey. “I think now is a good time to be looking at how other systems in the world are adapting to change, and understand that if we need to make changes down the road, how can we do it on our own terms,” he says. This summer, Clair is travelling with fellow Scholars in India, Qatar, Turkey, Singapore, France and the U.S. and also plans to visit South America in the future. How will Clair measure whether his Nuffield journey has been a success? “If I can create a level of awareness of how things are being done elsewhere, and that farmers are adaptable and they can change, that’s how I will measure success.” It’s important to Clair that he communicate what he sees and learns during his travels.  In addition to using social media (Facebook and Twitter), he has also created a blog about his Nuffield journey, which is available at      
Nova Scotia broiler producer Nick de Graaf passed several significant milestones in 2008.
July 8, 2016 - Sargent Farms, in partnership with Quebec-based Boires & Freres have announced it will be establishing a new hatchery in Woodstock, Ontario.  Henry Zantingh, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario said in a release that the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) are "pleased to see this kind of investment in hatchery capacity and infrastructure in the Ontario chicken industry value chain. Our chicken farmers have a strong relationship with their local hatcheries and depend heavily on the quality and service we receive from our chick suppliers in order to ensure that our production meets the evolving needs of our customers and our consumers.”“Ontario’s chicken industry has been experiencing significant growth over recent years, and CFO has been working to ensure that all stakeholders including chicken farmers, chicken processors and hatcheries understand the importance of meeting local consumer markets by continuously improving our business standards, assets and production practices,” said Rob Dougans, President and CEO of CFO. “The introduction of a new modern hatchery to the Ontario system will further enable the quality, service, flexibility, and sustainability of the Ontario chick supply.”The new hatchery, called Thames River Hatchery, is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2017. The new facility will involve an announced investment of $10 million and have an initial capacity of 20 million chicks per year. CFO farmer-members are expected to grow almost 220 million chickens in 2016.
July 6, 2016 - A U.S. federal appeals court upheld jail sentences Wednesday for two egg industry executives whose Iowa-based company caused a nationwide salmonella outbreak in 2010.  In a long-awaited decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed three-month jail sentences issued last year to Austin "Jack'' DeCoster and son Peter DeCoster.  U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett ordered the jail time last year, citing a "litany of shameful conduct'' that happened at their large egg-production company, Quality Egg. But Bennett allowed them their freedom while they appealed the sentences, which the DeCosters argued were unconstitutional and unreasonable for the misdemeanour crimes to which they pleaded guilty.  Business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, took up their cause.  But in a 2-1 decision, an appeals panel ruled that the DeCosters "are liable for negligently failing to prevent the salmonella outbreak'' and that jail time is appropriate.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked 1,939 illnesses to the outbreak, but officials estimate that up to 56,000 people may have been sickened. Investigators argued the DeCosters knew their Iowa egg facilities were at risk for salmonella contamination before the outbreak.  Dissenting Judge C. Arlen Beam said the government failed to prove the DeCosters had intent or were even negligent, and therefore they should not face jail time.  News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016
September 21, 2016 - With early harvest feed grain samples confirming a high risk year for potential feed quality issues, livestock operations and feed mills are advised to take cautionary steps to safeguard feed quality and livestock performance. “The risk of feed grain quality issues that can affect livestock performance is quite high this year,” says Rob Patterson, Technical Director for Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. (CBS Inc.) “That’s no surprise with the type of growing season it has been across the Prairies. In many areas it has been very wet with high disease pressure and high risk of mycotoxins, mold and other issues. We are now seeing the risk confirmed in reports from across the region, based on analysis of early harvest grain samples.“It’s a year when livestock operations and feed mills will want to be even more diligent than normal in taking the right steps to safeguard the quality of feed and the performance of livestock consuming the feed.”A good starting point is to send in feed grain samples for analysis, says Patterson. “This can identify the presence and level of mycotoxins and other contaminants. Once you know what you’re dealing with you can take the steps needed avoid any issues.”The convenience, sophistication and accuracy of fast test capability has improved dramatically in recent years, says Mark Peters, Director of Sales and Marketing for CBS Inc. “We have seen a lot more interest in the testing. Industry has become more knowledgeable and cautious about the risk out there and how it can impact production. The testing is a good insurance policy and it’s good for peace of mind. Especially in a year like this one.”CBS Inc. is an example of industry taking on greater capacity in grain analysis to help serve customers. The company offers a tool called MycoCheck that has been developed in part based on studies in partnership with Canadian universities.“The customer sends us a sample, we run the analysis and get back quickly with the information to support a sound management decision,” says Peters. “The technology has come a long way. We see increasingly more livestock operations and feed mills taking advantage.”More information on grain sample analysis options, potential quality issues and options for safeguarding feed and livestock is available by contacting CBS Inc. directly. CBS Inc. offers additional FeedCheck analysis tools. The company also conducts an annual Wheat Survey in cooperation with industry and the University of Manitoba.More information on CBS Inc. and its comprehensive line of feed technology is available at
Sept. 20, 2016 - Ontario farmers are invited to safely and responsibly dispose of their unwanted or obsolete pesticides and livestock (including equine) medications from Sept. 20-30. This collection program is offered at no cost to Ontario farmers.  CleanFARMS, an industry-led, national not-for-profit agricultural waste management organization partnered with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to co-fund the disposal program with support from CropLife Canada, Ontario Agri Business Association, Farm & Food Care Ontario, and the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers' Association, in offering this free program."Ontario farmers are environmentally conscious and are pleased to partner with CleanFARMS to safely dispose of obsolete pesticides and livestock medications," says Craig Hunter from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. "The CleanFARMS collection program provides an excellent one-stop service for Ontario farmers to continue to protect the land."Farmers in Ontario have a long history of good stewardship practices. Since 1998, Ontario farmers have turned in more than 500,000 kilograms of obsolete pesticides."Ontario has a history of successful collections," says Barry Friesen, General Manager of CleanFARMS. "The participation of Ontario farmers shows they are good stewards of their land and committed to protecting the environment."After collection, the pesticides and livestock 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 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the dates specified:Tuesday, Sept. 20Brodhagen - Hoegy's Farm SupplyGuelph - Woodrill FarmsGlencoe - Parrish & HeimbeckerWednesday, Sept. 21Brussels - Brussels AgromartAilsa Craig - Hensall District Co-opAylmer - Max Underhill's Farm SupplyThursday, Sept. 22Beamsville - NM BartlettForest - Lakeside Grain & Feed LtdKitchener - GROWMARK IncMonday, Sept. 26Bothwell - Hagerty CreekAlliston - Alliance Agri-TurfTara - Sprucedale AgromartNew Hamburg - Good Crop ServicesLancaster - Munro's AgromartTuesday, Sept. 27Tupperville - Agris Co-opWellandport - Clark AgriServiceBradford - Bradford Co-opWalkerton - Huron Bay Co-opAlfred - SynagriWednesday, Sept. 28Paincourt - South West Ag PartnersPrinceton - CargillOakwood - Oakwood Ag CentreHarriston - CargillCasselman - Agro Culture 2001Thursday, Sept. 29Blenheim - ThompsonsBolton - Alliance Agri-TurfTrenton - TCO AgromartDundalk - Huron Bay Co-opRichmond - SynagriSept. 27-29Verner - Verner Ag CentreGore Bay - Northland AgromartPembroke - M&R Feeds and Farm SupplyArnprior - M&R Feeds and Farm SupplyThornloe - Temiskaming Ag CentreThunder Bay - Thunder Bay Co-opFriday, Sept. 30Courtland - CargillOrangeville - Holmes AgroPicton - County Farm CentreLeamington - Agris Co-opChesterville - SynagriFor more information, please call CleanFARMS at 877-622-4460 or visit
September 15, 2016 - The Government of Canada has announced an investment of $10 million over seven years to bring one of the world's most respected experts in food security to  Canada. A recognized leader in crop adaptation to marginal soil environments, Leon Kochian will become the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Food  Systems and Security at the University of Saskatchewan.  The United Nations estimates the world's population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Ensuring sufficient nutritious food will therefore be one of the greatest  challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Working out of the university's Global Institute for Food Security, Kochian will lead a multidisciplinary team  to unlock the secrets of a plant's "hidden half"-the root system-an unexplored aspect of plant breeding.  His research will develop new root-based approaches to crop improvement that will enable breeding for improved root system structure and function, producing  new varieties with higher yields and greater capacity to thrive in difficult conditions. Kochian will identify and map the genes linked to root system  traits that are specifically responsible for nutrient and water uptake under drought conditions. He anticipates this research will enable increased crop  production in less fertile areas.  Leon Kochian is the University of Saskatchewan's second CERC after Howard Wheater, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Water Security. He becomes the country's 27th CERC.  In total, Leon Kochian's research will receive support worth almost $21 million. The Government of Canada is also providing $800,000 through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The balance will be invested by the Global Institute for Food Security ($7 million) and the University of  Saskatchewan ($3 million).   
The University of Guelph has received $76.6 million from the federal government to start a “digital revolution” in food and agriculture. The government is investing in U of G’s Food From Thought research project, which will use high-tech information systems to help produce enough food for a growing human population while sustaining the Earth’s ecosystems. The funding, announced by Lloyd Longfield, MP for Guelph, on behalf of Kirsty Duncan, minister of science, will come from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), which supports world-leading research at universities and colleges. It’s the largest single federal research investment in U of G history. “This will position Canada as a leader in sustainable food production,” said U of G president Franco Vaccarino, adding the project will help farmers produce more food on less land using fewer inputs. “Our faculty, staff and students will have opportunities to participate in innovative discovery and to play a role in tackling one of the world’s greatest challenges: how to sustainably feed our growing population.” Longfield added: “The University of Guelph has a long history of collaborating across Canada and globally to contribute to understanding complex challenges. The global food supply will require the University’s unique leadership skills that bring together agricultural expertise, big data, environmental science, business and civil society. Today’s funding announcement will give Canada a huge step forward to become a global leader in food.” Food From Thought will create novel tools for producing more and safer food while also protecting the environment. “It is not just how much food we produce but also the way we produce it that will be key in the next century,” said Prof. Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research), who is the institutional lead for Food From Thought and a plant genomicist in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. New technology and agricultural practices must enhance biodiversity, produce safe, nutritious food, and improve animal welfare and human health, he said. U of G is well-placed to lead this project, Campbell said. “We are Canada’s food university, with a 150-year legacy in agri-food and a reputation for innovation and commitment. We also have the capacity, with world-class researchers and facilities, and strong partnerships with government and industry.” Geography professor Evan Fraser, scientific director of Food From Thought and director of U of G’s Food Institute, said launching a digital revolution will require improved understanding of the complex interplay between farming practices, the genetic potential of our crops and livestock, and the environment. “This is essential if we are to realize the potential offered by our emerging ability to collect vast amounts of data and to develop information management systems,” he said. Food From Thought will bring together experts to generate and commercialize knowledge, and to inform agri-food policy-makers and practices from farm management to global conservation planning. The initiative will offer new teaching and research opportunities, and will focus on training the next generation of agri-food leaders through fellowships and graduate student positions. More than $1 million will be available for annual research awards and competitions intended to develop innovations for sustainable food systems. Within Food From Thought, researchers will work on key scientific missions including: Expanding use of DNA barcoding technology developed at U of G to identify food fraud, food-borne ailments and invasive pests, and to improve environmental impact assessments; Using “big data” on farms to reduce pesticide use, monitor watershed health and identify crops suited to the effects of climate change; and Using information management systems to help track emerging infectious disease threats to livestock and control pathogens in the food supply. Food From Thought includes partnerships with academic institutions around the globe, numerous government agencies, and industry and innovation centres. One key partner is IBM Canada, which will be involved in everything from research collaborations to cognitive and data analytics tools and training to secure cloud-based storage. “IBM shares the scientific vision of Food From Thought: ensuring that we sustainably, resiliently and safely increase production while enhancing ecosystem services and livestock health and welfare using data-driven approaches,” said Sanjeev Gill, research executive at IBM Canada. Food From Thought will be one of U of G’s largest and most inclusive research projects, spanning all seven colleges. It will be led by 10 principal investigators from across campus.This funding announcement was part of a $900-million competition lasting several months and involving a review panel of Canadian and international scientific experts. This is the second CFREF competition since 2014.  
August 4, 2016 - Dr. John David Summers, Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph, passed away August 2, 2016. He completed both his BSc. and MSc. from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and completed his PhD. at Rutgers. Most of his academic career was spent at the University of Guelph, initially in the Department of Poultry Science and later in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science. His ongoing contacts with industry ensured direct application of his research into various aspects of poultry nutrition that was always timely and insightful. For example, his pioneering work of nutrition and fat deposition in broilers, which is still important today, was started in 1974. His research spanned all the major poultry species, and John could always be counted on to ask penetrating questions at poultry and nutrition meetings around the globe. John was truly one of the pioneers of the golden age of poultry nutrition. Together with his esteemed colleagues, he helped to develop what has become the foundation of our modern strategies of poultry nutrition. John had a close working relationship with Shaver Poultry in Cambridge, Ontario, and in this capacity visited over 50 different countries. John gave numerous invited lectures around the world where his insightful knowledge was always greeted with great enthusiasm, from both students and other professionals in the poultry industry. John authored over 400 research papers and co-authored 5 books on various aspects of poultry production. John became Professor Emeritus in 1990 and received the Order of OAC in 2013. A celebration of life for Dr. Summers is taking place Monday August 15 at the Village Centre at the Village by the Aboretum in Guelph, Ont. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Please RSVP to Bill Summers, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (226) 820-5000. If you have photos of John that you could share for a photo display, please send them to Bill or bring them with you the day of the event.
August 2, 2016- Canadian biotechnology company AbCelex has received an investment of $3.4 million from the federal government to develop a new line of anti-microbial feed additives to help control disease outbreaks in poultry flocks. Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC), Lawrence MacAulay, made the announcement July 29. The company is developing a line of innovative non-antibiotic, non-hormonal additives that are specifically targeted at Campylobacter and Salmonella, two of the most common food-borne bacteria that infect poultry. The new anti-microbials – called “nanobodies” – will result in healthier poultry and improve food safety. AbCelex is a Canadian biotechnology company focused on developing livestock food additives that help improve animal health and food safety. AAFC supports the development and adoption of industry-led initiatives regarding biosecurity and animal care to support the prudent use of antimicrobials. This project will be conducted in collaboration with the International Vaccine Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Toronto and the Colorado Quality Research Inc. Funding for this project comes from the AgriInnovation Program (Research and Development Stream) as part of the Growing Forward 2 agricultural policy framework.
  The revelation that a bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort was found in a Pennsylvania woman prompted a flurry of media activity in late May. Increased consumer concern on an already-sensitive topic is understandable in light of such headlines as, “Nightmare Superbug Shows Up in the United States” and “Infection Raises Specter of Superbugs Resistant to All Antibiotics.” The Washington Post conducted a Q&A with an infectious disease doctor at the University of Pittsburgh who tried to put the development into perspective. He said, “While certainly concerning and something to keep a close eye on from a public health point of view, there is no evidence that this is a widespread problem at this time. Even in the rare event that you get sick from this bacteria, there are treatment options available.” Since the bacteria has also been detected in pigs, the Post asked about food safety concerns. The doctor stated there is no risk as long as meat is properly handled and cooked to the recommended temperature. There’s growing consumer concern and rising pressure on the food system about the use of antibiotics in food animals. Antibiotic resistance is a serious issue and one farms and food companies are taking seriously, but the connection between antibiotics used in animals raised for food and the risk of human antibiotic failure is a complex issue not easily distilled for widespread understanding. Several things must happen before resistant bacteria from a farm can affect people: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria must be present in an animal when it leaves a farm The bacteria must survive sanitation steps during the packaging process The meat must be undercooked, enabling bacteria to survive The bacteria must cause human illness The ill person must receive medical attention and the antibiotic therapy must involve the same class of antibiotic used on the farm The patient must get worse or fail to recover due to the resistant infection There’s also the perception that antibiotic resistance results from eating meat containing antibiotic residue, but there are strict federal laws in place to prevent unsafe residues in meat. By law, since the 1950’s, the FDA strictly audits and enforces that unsafe levels of antibiotics may not be present in meat before it enters the food supply. Leading drug companies have recognized the concern about the resistance issue and are making antibiotics available only for treatment and prevention of disease — not growth promotion. Beginning next year in the U.S., antibiotics important to human medicine will only be available under a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), which is essentially a prescription from a veterinarian. There are unanswered questions on the link between animal antibiotic use and human resistance and the issue is still being studied. Until those questions are conclusively answered, the best source of information is sound science in the form of peer-reviewed and published studies. Dr. Peter Davies, BVSC, PhD, professor of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota, says, “There are almost no documented clinical cases where antibiotic resistance was unequivocally tied to animal antibiotic use. So while the risk is not zero, in my opinion, it is extremely low.” Animal antibiotics must be used responsibly to minimize agriculture’s contribution to antibiotic resistance. But much of the current discussion about antibiotic use is highly polarized, pitting commercial interests against public health interests. It’s important to remember that preventing disease and treating sick animals through the responsible use of antibiotics is the ethical thing to do. Reprinted with permission from the Center for Food Integrity (CFI).  CFI’s vision is to lead the public discussion to build trust in today’s food system and facilitate dialog with the food system to create better alignment with consumer expectations. For more information, visit:      
July 20, 2016 - Enterra Feed Corporation has received regulatory approval for use of its Whole Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae as a feed ingredient for poultry broilers, the company announced today.  "This is a significant step forward," says Victoria Leung, marketing and operations manager for Enterra. "We can now offer a renewable protein alternative to those companies manufacturing and retailing chicken feed."  Enterra's manufacturing process at its facility in Langley, B.C involves breeding and raising black soldier fly (BSF) larvae, and feeding them pre-consumer food waste that would otherwise go to landfill, composting or waste-to-energy operations where the food nutrient value would be lost. BSF larvae are an ideal candidate for rearing as a feed ingredient as they consume a wide range of pre-consumer waste food (e.g. waste fruits, vegetables, stale bread, grains, grocery store waste), are native to North America, do not bite or sting, are high in protein and fat, and grow rapidly under controlled conditions.  There are several benefits to insect protein, and Enterra expects feed manufacturers to be eager to consider this ecological protein alternative, according to Andrew Vickerson, Chief Technology Officer with Enterra. "Insects are a natural food source for poultry," he says. "Other sources of protein used in animal feed include fish meal, which causes depleted fish stocks, or soybean meal, which requires many inputs and acres of land, which could be used for human food production."  The approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) comes after four years of work, during which time the CFIA reviewed Enterra's product as a Novel Feed Ingredient, including a complete assessment of product safety (to livestock, workers, food and the environment), and a data review.  In the US, the Ingredients Definition Committee of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) accepted Enterra's application to use Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae in salmonid feed earlier this year. The definition was reviewed and agreed to by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This was the first time a federal regulatory body in North America accepted the use of an insect based ingredient as a source of energy and protein for use in animal  feed.  Although insects make up an important part of the diet of fish and poultry in the wild, they had not been approved as a feed ingredient in animal production in North America until this year. These approvals come at an important time as the demand for sustainable feed ingredients is growing. By 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that the demand for food is going to increase by 70 per cent and the demand for meat product is going to double.  News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016
July 14, 2016 - The global poultry industry is increasingly utilizing dietary β-mannanase enzyme supplementation for poultry diets as a valuable option to enhance production. But are the purported benefits supported by the latest science? New research results, unveiled at the 2016 Poultry Science Association (PSA) annual meeting, July 11-13 in New Orleans, call into question the value of single activity β-mannanase source formulations, particularly when used with soybean meal based diets representing the vast majority of global production. The fresh knowledge presented at PSA centres around a newly completed study led by Dr. Anna Rogiewicz of the University of Manitoba – an institution recognized among the global leaders in novel feed ingredient and feed enzyme research. Program collaborators include the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland, and Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. “We’re learning that the story around mannans and mannanase is more complex,” says Rogiewicz. “There are questions that need more validation in the context of a soybean meal based diet, including the theory that β-mannans in the feed trigger an energy-draining feed induced immune response that would be minimized by β-mannanase supplementation.” The multi-component study included analysis of β-mannan content in soybean meal based diets, along with in vitro experiments to evaluate the affinity of several leading β-mannanase source formulations, specifically with soybean meal based β-mannans. The study also involved an in vivo broiler chicken trial to further evaluate impacts with the β-mannanase source formulations added to soybean meal based diets. This component was designed to evaluate the immune trigger theory. The results confirmed that the β-mannan content within soybean meal based diets is very low and that – as opposed to the high amounts of β-mannans present in guar, copra or palm kernel meals – this small amount in soybean meal is not likely to contribute to any increased intestinal viscosity in poultry fed corn/soybean meal based diets. The in vitro experiments showed substantial breakdown of β-mannans due to β-mannanase activity. However, results with the in vivo study showed “no effect” in terms of growth performance. There was also no evidence shown to indicate that the level of soybean meal based β-mannans triggered a feed induced immune response. This was evaluated by analysis of the weight of immune organs and the level of immunoglobulins in serum and the intestine. “The theory has been that because β-mannans have a molecular pattern similar to some pathogens, this triggers a feed induced immunity response, thereby consuming energy that would be preferably directed to growth and performance,” says Rogiewicz. “However, the results of this study would indicate no feed induced immunity response triggered by β-mannans in soybean meal based diets. This may be due to the very low level of β-mannans in soybean meal based diets, as opposed to the much higher levels in, for example, copra or palm kernel meal based diets.” Broader research and analysis by the University of Manitoba program suggests the best pathway to address β-mannans, along with a full range of target substrates in poultry feed, is through a multi-carbohydrase enzyme approach that utilizes synergies between enzyme sources and activities to maximize feed nutrition capture.  More information is available at  
July 18, 2016 - The genes of some chickens make them almost completely resistant to a serious strain of bird flu, new research has revealed. The findings, which are published in the journal Scientific Reports, show that genetics play a key part in whether the birds are susceptible or resistant to the potentially deadly virus. READ MORE 
  The hardy properties of Camelina sativa give it lots of potential for growing in Canada. It’s tolerant to frost and drought, doesn’t mind cool germination temperatures, thrives in marginal soils, and matures in a short 85 to 100 days, ideal even for northern Saskatchewan or Alberta. Also known as “false flax” or “wild flax,” camelina is most wanted for its oil but now, 100 years after being introduced to North America, the mustard plant is being re-discovered and re-evaluated as livestock feed, fuelled by close to $3.7 million in funding initiatives to develop market ready varieties. Rob Patterson is the technical director for Canadian Bio-Systems Inc., a company that researches, develops and manufactures a wide range of products used in food, feed, industrial and environmental applications. Speaking to the Poultry Industry Council (PIC) Innovations Symposium, Patterson explained how camelina had historically been replaced in modern poultry diets by rapeseed and canola but is now experiencing a resurgence due to its multiple uses as a source of omega-3 oil as well as its potential in biofuels, high-end bio-lubricants and plastics and even jet fuel. Several recent studies have been conducted to re-establish baseline feeding levels and nutritional recommendations for camelina meal in poultry diets. Cold pressed, non-solvent extracted oil cake was approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in 2015 for use in feed up to 12 per cent for broilers only; camelina is not yet approved for use in layers or pigs. How does camelina meal compare to canola meal? Using numbers from the canola feeding guide, Patterson pointed to camelina having a higher Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF) and Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF) value than canola, but a comparable amino acid spectrum. At 12 per cent fat, camelina meal was a good energy source, compared to canola meal at 3 per cent fat due to oil extraction. The percentage of favorable linoleic and linolenic acid (omega-3) is quite high (39 per cent), but there are also some glucosinolate compounds present, similar to those in rapeseed, that are common to the brassica family and may cause feed refusals. Patterson suggested that more research and breeding work is needed to ensure this issue doesn’t put constraints on the diet. One study at the Atlantic Poultry Research Centre in Truro, N.S., found that gain in broilers dropped off as camelina inclusion reached 15 per cent of the diet, suggesting the defining line was somewhere between 10 and 15 per cent. Feed refusal resulted in less feed being consumed and therefore less growth, but feed conversion rates stayed the same. Patterson suggests that the 12 per cent cap on camelina inclusion may be unrealistic, recommending somewhere between five and 10 per cent. As an omega-3 enrichment factor, camelina meal has potential but it’s not there yet, especially with the 12 per cent inclusion rate cap. To label a product as omega-3 enriched requires a level of 300 milligrams per 100 grams of meat. Even with enzyme supplementation, one study in 2015 by Nairn et al. at the University of Alberta could not reach that level with 12 per cent inclusion of camelina, although they did reach the enrichment level in thigh meat by day 42 with 16 per cent inclusion. In the U.S., camelina can be included up to 10 per cent on broiler and layer diets in omega-3 enriched programs but the U.S. omega-3 level of claim is lower. Camelina oil has higher vitamin E levels than flax oil, meaning a longer shelf life, and it could be more effective than flax for meat enhancement, but Patterson doesn’t see camelina as a viable alternative to flax at this time. The caps to the usage of camelina in poultry diets as he sees them are with the limit to the level of inclusion and regulatory constraints at this time. While he hopes to explore new opportunities with layers within the next year, indicating there is potential there, he regards it as a niche with limited opportunity that is not set to grow much unless producers are spurred by market demand to use camelina as a replacement for flax or genetically modified canola.      
June 24, 2016 - Millennials are driving the greatest change the food industry has seen in 70 years, demanding fresher ingredients, greater sustainability, farm-to-market accountability and more. Chief among the demands is for vegetarian-fed meats, chicken in particular. With poultry producers left to find solutions immediately, the introduction of the world's first pure vegan protein supplement for poultry, Vegain, looks to change the way both broilers and layers are fed. Dr. Clark Springfield, General Manager, H.J. Baker Animal Health & Nutrition, said in a release “the moment we realized the need for a vegetarian-fed chicken was becoming mainstream rather than a niche market, we knew the poultry industry would need to respond. We developed Vegain and got it into testing quickly. The results exceeded even our expectations. Now producers can have a pure vegetable protein that out-produced traditional animal protein in head-to-head university trials." To learn more about Vegain, visit  
Sept. 27, 2016 - Farm Management Canada (FMC) has launched an enhanced version of its former Step Up mentorship program to help bridge the gap between generations of farmers to provide Canada's future farmers with the best chance for success.  Succession planning - also called transition planning, ensures farm business continuity: it is the only process that links one generation to future generations involved in the farm business, and addresses how the vision, goals and dreams of a farm will carry on.  "According to the recent study, Making Dollars and Sense, less than 1/3 of Canada's farmers have a succession plan, while close to 40 per cent are in the succession stage of their farm business," says Heather Watson, executive director of FMC. She goes on to note, "this signals not only a significant risk to the Canadian agricultural sector, but also an immense opportunity to promote and provide the information, tools and resources for farmers to improve their succession planning practices." The Bridging the Gap: Step Up to Succession program is comprised of a series of Succession & Transition Planning workshops for farm families coupled with a Successor Development program, exclusively for young farmers. FMC will be working with renowned farm family coach Elaine Froese and business management consultant Cedric MacLeod to help lead the program and coach participants throughout their journey. In the true spirit of collaboration and partnership, Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' Program, the Canadian Young Farmers' Forum and 4-H Canada are partnering with FMC to help ensure the program is a complete success. For more information on the program, please visit Farm Management Canada's website.
September 22, 2016 - Connect OnFarm has appointed a new senior on-farm representative as part of its expanding team servicing customers in Canada and the U.S.  Industry veteran Rick Barva joins the team bringing a wealth of experience and relationships, along with a passion for helping farming operations maximize opportunities. “We’re very excited to welcome Rick on board,” says Cal Ginter of Connect OnFarm. “It’s a big role. It’s also a very important step for Connect OnFarm, as our business continues to grow during an exciting time of evolution in the industry. We wanted someone who, first and foremost, would complement our community – someone who would fit well as part of the team, the family really, that includes not just Connect OnFarm but also our customers, partners and suppliers. “Rick fits the culture we are building. He brings a lot of knowledge and insight that will benefit everyone involved with Connect OnFarm.” Barva was raised near Lethbridge as part of a long-time ranching family that grew its cattle feeding business into one of the largest in the area at the time. His natural enthusiasm for agriculture and the people who make it work led him to a degree in agriculture from the University of Alberta, with a double major in animal nutrition and finance. Since then through several agricultural sales representative and banking/finance roles, Barva has built a strong reputation and become well familiar to many in western Canadian agriculture, particularly in the tight-knit swine community. Barva is also currently a director of the Alberta Pork Congress and has served in a number of industry service and leadership positions over the years. “I couldn’t be happier to have this opportunity,” says Barva. “I’m really looking forward to working with the Connect OnFarm community and, especially, contributing at the farm level. “The Connect OnFarm approach is all about finding ways to help farming operations fully identify and capture the opportunities they have for success. That way of looking at things is always what I have enjoyed most about working in agriculture, along with of course the people. This feels like a very natural fit for me. I know many of the Connect OnFarm customers already and I can’t wait to get more involved with contributing to the growing team and customer base. I feel like this is exactly where I want to be and there is a lot to look forward to.” Ginter, along with partner Wes Friesen, co-founded Connect OnFarm three years ago and the rising company has experienced steady growth and progress now set to reach a new level. Rounding out the core of the Connect OnFarm team is office manager Cleuza Friesen. “Rick understands the vision of Connect OnFarm, including our focus on grass roots relationships and dedication to helping farmers innovate and get the most out of their operations,” says Wes Friesen. “Many of our customers have already worked with Rick in his past roles and are as excited as we are to have him join the team. Rick also brings a unique and valuable skillset, bridging both agriculture and finance, that is an excellent fit not only with where we are today but where we are moving toward for the future. Connect OnFarm is a company built on serving producers and helping farming operations become more profitable, innovative and sustainable, through a range of services and products based around nutrition programs for livestock. The company provides a full range of consulting services and also supplies a variety of product options, including Connect OnFarm custom label products such as Encompas5 and WeanEase. A key focus is natural feed supplements that offer a range of efficiency, performance and environmental benefits while also offering a strong fit with the shifting expectations of today’s marketplace and trends such as reduced reliance on antimicrobials. For more information, contact the Connect OnFarm office at 403-330-3727.   
September 22, 2016 - World leaders are pushing to end the overuse of antibiotics and to encourage the development of new medicines, driven by concern that drug-resistant germs could lead to millions of deaths and undermine the global economy.  For only the fourth time in its 70 year history, the United Nations held a special meeting Wednesday devoted to a health issue: This time, on the rise of untreatable infections that is being propelled by the way drugs are overused and misused in both people and animals.  Health experts have long worried about the issue, but it is getting more alarming because germs are getting ever more difficult to treat, few new antibiotics are being developed, and the problem appears to be global already.  “We believe it's probably everywhere,'' said Dr. Keiji Fukuda of the World Health Organization, of the resistance to drugs.  Here's more on the issue, and why world leaders believe it's so important.  WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?  Germs have higher chances of developing resistance to a drug if the drug is not used properly. If a drug is not used long enough or taken for the wrong reason, or if low levels of the drug are common in the environment, the germs can survive and adapt.  Doctors are already facing situations in which they are helpless against infections that used to be easily treated with antibiotics, Fukuda said. All types of microbes, including bacteria, viruses and fungi have been shrugging off attacks from the medicines designed to stop them. Experts estimate that 700,000 people die around the world each year from drug-resistant germs, and they expect the number to  grow sharply.  Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the problem may also affect doctors' willingness to do chemotherapy, organ transplants, or other treatments that might put a patient at risk of uncontrollable  infections. ``It can undermine modern medicine,'' he said.  WHY DO WE OVERUSE THESE DRUGS?  Often because of good intentions and bad decisions. For example, antibiotics don't work against viral illnesses like colds and flu. But doctors often prescribe them anyway to patients looking for some kind of treatment for their respiratory infections, experts say. Companies that raise livestock routinely prescribe antibiotics to try to stave off costly infections in herds and flocks.  WHY ARE THERE SO FEW NEW ANTIBIOTICS?  A major reason is that it is very hard for drugmakers to earn any money selling new antibiotics, so they don't want to spend the money needed to develop them. Patients don't need to be on antibiotics for very long, which means they won't be buying large amounts of the drug. And doctors are likely to prescribe any new antibiotics only in cases where older, cheaper ones don't work first.  WHY NOW?  One factor is that world leaders are starting to worry about the economic threats from the problem. A 2014 report commissioned by the United Kingdom projected that by 2050 it will kill more people each year than cancer and cost the world as much as $100 trillion in lost economic output.  The World Bank this week released a report saying drug-resistant infections have the potential to cause at least as much economic damage as the 2008 financial crisis.  WHAT CAN THE U.N. DO?  For now, just draw more attention to the problem. That's what happened on the three other occasions the U.N. held a special session on a health issue - on the AIDS virus in 2001, on non-communicable diseases in 2011, and on Ebola in 2014.  The U.N. will adopt a declaration that endorses an action plan approved last year by an international meeting of health ministers. The declaration recognizes the size of the problem and encourages countries to come up with plans - and money - to cut back on antibiotic use, make better use of vaccines to prevent infections in  the first place, and fund development of new drugs.  "We need new antibiotics, but in all likelihood we're not going to invent our way out of this,'' Frieden said. News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016
Sept. 22, 2016 - Agriculture More Than Ever has launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging people in the agriculture industry to lend their voice to the food conversation in Canada.“Be somebody-Be an agvocate” is a multi-faceted campaign that encourages everyone involved in the agriculture industry to be an agvocate by joining social media and having in-person conversations to shape people’s relationship with agriculture.“Being an agvocate is about adding your voice to the food conversation in positive, engaging and relatable ways,” says Candace Hill, manager of Agriculture More Than Ever. “The campaign is about helping everyone involved in agriculture to connect with the public by sharing their story.” Surveys continue to show that farmers are one of the most trusted voices when it comes to providing information about farming practices and food production, so it makes sense they be the face and voice for agriculture, according to Hill.A recent survey by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity showed 93 per cent of consumers know little or nothing about Canadian farming practices, and a majority (60 per cent) of those respondents indicated they want to know more about farming practices.“The campaign focuses on showing the real faces of people in agriculture with a strong call to action for everyone in the industry to get involved in the food conversation, no matter how big or small their contribution,” Hill says.As part of the campaign, individuals who work in various sectors of agriculture submitted video clips of themselves reading a script encouraging others to get involved in telling the real story of Canadian agriculture. Those clips were compiled into a video.“The video features people from across the country who have come together to add their voice to the food conversation,” Hill continues. “Everyone in agriculture is “somebody” and has a role to play. Watching and sharing the video is just one way individuals can get involved, but there are many ways for people to show their love, pride and passion for an industry.”Agriculture More Than Ever has attracted over 470 partner organizations and 2,500 individuals committed to creating positive perceptions of agriculture. Launched more than four years ago, Agriculture More Than Ever’s goal is to encourage those involved in agriculture to speak up and speak positively about the industry.To view the new Agriculture More Than Ever video and learn about other ways to participate, go to, or follow the conversation on Twitter @AgMoreThanEver
Sept. 15, 2016 - When we talk about safety, we often talk about immediate consequences. For example, getting too close to a running power take off can result in immediate, and often catastrophic consequences. It’s important to talk about preventing these life-altering incidents, but it’s also important to talk about how exposure to things in your environment can affect your health, weeks, months or even years down the road. We make decisions daily that can affect our future selves. We’ve all taken a minute to either thank or criticize our past selves for things we’ve done or not done. Why not set yourself for a healthy future? There are environmental exposures that occur on and off the farm that can affect our hearing, our respiratory function, and our bones and joints This advice isn’t meant to capture all of these hazards, but is to get you to start thinking about what you’re exposed to. One of the most wonderful human functions is hearing. The boom of a well-placed slap shot, the hum of a finely-tuned engine, and the pure laughter of a baby are all small joys that we enjoy when our hearing is optimal. Unfortunately, many people experience hearing loss due to noise exposure. This loss is entirely preventable. (If you’ve already lost some hearing – you can retain what you have.) But you have to make a commitment to make some changes. Here are some easy tips to protect your hearing: Recognize when you are being exposed to excessive noise. This isn’t always easy, sometimes you might not expect a task to be noisy, but if you can’t carry on a conversation with someone three feet away without yelling, it’s a good idea to remedy the situation Control excessive noise. Maybe you need a new muffler on that equipment? Create a noise barrier. Close the window to your truck or tractor Select the quietest tool or equipment to do the job. Lastly, select the best and most effective hearing protection for you. Ear plugs and ear muffs work only if you use them consistently and correctly. Breathing is a good thing. On this, everyone can agree. Keeping our respiratory health in tip-top shape means being aware of the hazards that occur on the farm. Unfortunately, farmers and farm workers have the potential to be exposed to a tremendous variety of respiratory hazards. Some of the most common respiratory hazards include: grain dust, crop protection residues, waste and waste byproducts from insects and animals, and exhaust and fumes from equipment and tools. The health consequences from exposure to these respiratory hazards is long and complicated and varies in severity from mild to catastrophic. Keep these tips in mind: Decrease the generation of dusts and gases by improving management procedures or through engineering controls. An example would be reducing the distance the grain falls when unloading. A short fall means less dust. Remove any contaminants that are in the air. Have good ventilation! Use the right kind of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job. Make sure the PPE fits, is comfortable and most importantly, wear it! (And replace it once it becomes dirty or worn.) (These tips do not take into account confined spaces which are very hazardous and require extensive training and equipment to enter safely.) Creaky bones, sore knees and hip and achy backs are all too common in the farming community. Farmers start out young and strong, but eventually all that repetitive lifting, kneeling, stooping, twisting and shoveling catches up resulting in conditions like arthritis, repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis, muscle inflammation and chronic pain. Try to vary your posture, especially when bending over or when your hands are over your head. Practice good lift hygiene. Lift properly and keep the load close to your body. Ask for help for heavy loads or use a mechanical solution. Use well-maintained, proper tools for the task. Let the tool do the work, not your body. Limit your exposure to vibrations. On older tractors, use vibration-dampening seat cushions. Take breaks from equipment that causes your body to vibrate. It’s easy to forget that each thing that we do can affect our health in the future. Reminding ourselves that although we may not immediately feel the effects of bad decisions, it can damage our health and vitality in the future. For more information about farm health and safety, please visit
September 16, 2016 - Fortune Magazine interviews McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook on the company's reasoning behind the decision to utilize only cage-free eggs in North America in the next 10 years. READ MORE 
Ontario is helping farmers comply with recent rules that protect insect pollinators by extending the time that the free mandatory training will be available. Farmers need the training if they wish to purchase and use neonicotinoid-treated corn and/or soybean seeds. Free training is available until April 30th 2017.The half-day course is available in English or French, online or in class in towns across Ontario and at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus. To register, call 1-866-225-9020, or go online at and helping farmers to recognize and determine the field presence of insect pests is part of the Pollinator Health Action Plan to be released soon. The plan also helps farmers learn best management practices for dealing with Neonicotinoids (NNI), a class of synthetic pesticides, used extensively in Ontario. NNIs are targeted to kill pests, but they are also toxic to beneficial insects like bees and other pollinators. The plan is part of the Province’s larger strategy to reduce neonicotinoid use and improve pollinator health.Ontario has taken action on pollinator health, working towards an 80 per cent reduction in the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed by 2017. This is the strongest action to date on neonicotinoid pesticides in North America.
Sasso and Hendrix Genetics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strategically connect the colored breeding activities of Sasso with the worldwide network and R&D center of Hendrix Genetics. To accommodate the transaction Sasso will strengthen is equity structure via emission of new shares to Hendrix Genetics. It is anticipated that the final transaction will be completed in the autumn of this year, after regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. With access to the latest breeding technology and specialized breeding IT of Hendrix Genetics, Sasso’s breeding program will be intensified to accelerate overall product development. Hendrix Genetics will support Sasso with its international asset base to establish a back-up for the core breeding program and all international GPS activities. This will ensure continuity of international Parent Stock sales, necessary to respond to any disease challenge and to set up efficient worldwide distribution. The strategic alliance will provide Sasso with a stronger financial base for its asset renewal program and international expansion plans. Sasso will continue to be managed independently to maintain its focus and dedication to breeding for the colored broiler sector, both in France and globally. Yves de la Fourchardière, President of Sasso, comments: “Management and shareholders of Sasso understand the ongoing consolidation process within the animal breeding sector, driven by exponentially increasing R&D cost and demand for global supply security. We are pleased that Hendrix Genetics offers Sasso the opportunity to maintain our focus on breeding traditional poultry, our company culture and French ownership and at the same time link with a strong international breeding company.” Antoon van den Berg, Chief Executive Officer of Hendrix Genetics, added: “We have been looking for this partnership for several years. With this alliance Sasso can maintain and further develop itself as a sustainable co-leader in alternative broiler breeding which is particularly beneficial to the broiler sector at large.”
September 6, 2016 - Cara Operations Limited recently announced that it has successfully completed the St-Hubert acquisition.  The company announced on March 31, 2016, that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100 per cent of Group St-Hubert, Quebec's leading full-service restaurant operator as well as a fully-integrated food manufacturer for $537 million. Jean-Pierre Léger, the outgoing Chairman and CEO of St-Hubert commented, "I'm proud of the St-Hubert legacy and confident that this new alliance with Cara will open up opportunities for St-Hubert associates as well as new possibilities, both inside and outside of Quebec, for the St-Hubert business".  Cara's Chief Executive Officer, Bill Gregson, commented, "This acquisition represents a historic alliance and an excellent strategic fit for both companies. It gives St-Hubert the opportunity to expand its restaurant network as well as to drive a national retail food program on behalf of Cara, leveraging St-Hubert's existing management, Quebec manufacturing facilities and supplier network".  Cara has acquired St-Hubert for a purchase price of $537 million on a cash-free, debt-free basis.  The purchase price is subject to customary working capital adjustments. St-Hubert generates approximately $620 million in System Sales, including sales from its food operations division, and approximately $44.8 million in Operating EBITDA. The St-Hubert transaction is immediately accretive to Cara's Adjusted Net Earnings per Share, before synergies are considered. Cara and St-Hubert will leverage their combined businesses to achieve an estimated $10 million of annual run-rate synergies within 3 years.  Cara has financed the St-Hubert acquisition through the issuance of $50 million in Cara subordinate voting shares ("Shares") to the vendor, approximately $230 million in proceeds from Cara's previously announced offering of subscription receipts (the "Subscription Receipts"), on a private placement basis, and through upsizing its credit facility with Scotiabank and a syndicate of lenders.  At closing, Cara's Pro Forma Net Debt to Operating EBITDA ratio is expected to be approximately 1.9x, providing Cara with room on the balance sheet to fund further growth, including acquisitions. In accordance with the terms of the agreement pursuant to which the Subscription Receipts were issued, each outstanding Subscription Receipt will be exchanged today for one Share, resulting in the issuance of 7,863,280 Shares and a cash payment equal to $0.20 per Subscription Receipt. The cash payment is equal to the aggregate amount of dividends per Share for which record dates occurred since the issuance of the Subscription Receipts, less withholding taxes, if any. The Shares issued in exchange for the Subscription Receipts will be listed for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Non-IFRS Measures This press release makes reference to certain non-IFRS measures. These measures are not recognized measures under IFRS, do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. Rather, these measures are provided as additional information to complement those IFRS measures by providing further understanding of the Cara's results of operations from management's perspective. Accordingly, they should not be considered in isolation nor as a substitute for analysis of Cara's financial information reported under IFRS. Cara uses non-IFRS measures including "System Sales", "Operating EBITDA", "Adjusted Net Earnings per Share" and "Pro Forma Operating EBITDA" to provide investors with supplemental measures of its operating performance and thus highlight trends in its core business that may not otherwise be apparent when relying solely on IFRS financial measures. Cara also believes that securities analysts, investors and other interested parties frequently use non-IFRS measures in the evaluation of issuers. Cara's management also uses non-IFRS measures in order to facilitate operating performance comparisons from period to period, to prepare annual operating budgets, and to determine components of management compensation. "System Sales" represents top line sales received from restaurant guests at both corporate and franchise restaurants including take-out and delivery customer orders. System Sales includes sales from both established restaurants as well as new restaurants.  Pro forma System Sales for the acquisition of St-Hubert include third party sales from the food division which consist of sales to franchise restaurants, grocery, industrial and food service clients net of commercial expenses.  Management believes System Sales provides meaningful information to investors regarding the size of Cara's restaurant network, the total market share of Cara's brands and the overall financial performance of its brands and restaurant owner base, which ultimately impacts Cara's consolidated financial performance. "Operating EBITDA" is defined as net earnings (loss) from continuing operations before: (i) net interest expense and other financing charges; (ii) gain (loss) on derivative; (iii) write-off of financing fees; (iv)  income taxes; (v) depreciation of property, plant and equipment; (vi) amortization of other assets; (vii) impairment of assets, net of reversals; (viii) losses on early buyout / cancellation of equipment rental contracts; (ix) restructuring; * conversion fees; (xi) net (gain) / loss on disposal of property, plant and equipment; (xii) stock based compensation; (xiii) change in onerous contract provision; and (xiv) lease costs and tenant inducement amortization. "Adjusted Net Earnings per Share" is defined as net earnings per share attributable to shareholders of Cara adjusted for the following: (i) gain (loss) on derivative; (ii) write-off of financing fees; (iii) impairment of assets, net of reversals; (iv) losses on early buyout / cancellation of equipment rental contracts; (v) restructuring; (vi) conversion fees; (vii) net (gain) / loss on disposal of property, plant and equipment; (viii) change in onerous contract provision; (ix) normalized interest expense, which adjusts for proceeds from the IPO and certain capital changes related to the IPO; and, normalized income tax expense. "Pro Forma Operating EBITDA" is defined as Operating EBITDA adjusted for full-year contribution of New York Fries and the acquisition of St-Hubert, as if the acquisitions had occurred on December 27, 2015. Forward Looking Information This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking information in this press release includes statements regarding the timing and completion of the proposed Original Joe's acquisition, timing and value of expected synergies, the effective accretion, growth prospects, future business strategy and expectations regarding operations. In some cases, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "targets", "expects", "estimates", "intends", "anticipates", "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might", "will" or "achieve". Forward-looking information is necessarily based on a number of assumptions and estimates that, while considered reasonable by Cara as of the date such statements are made, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that may cause the actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including: the accuracy of management's assessment of the effects of the acquisition, including the ability to generate synergies consistent with management's expectations; and the ongoing performance of the businesses of Cara and St-Hubert. These assumptions and estimates are not intended to represent a complete list of the assumptions and estimates that could affect Cara. There are several factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, including: future operating results; future general economic and market conditions, including equity capital markets; changes in laws and regulations; and such other factors and risks as described in detail from time to time in documents filed by Cara with securities regulatory authorities in Canada. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Cara does not undertake to update any forward-looking information contained herein, except as required by applicable securities laws.  
September 2, 2017 - The 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) has surpassed 510,000 square feet of exhibit space with five months remaining until the trade show, setting a new record. Comprised of the three integrated trade shows – International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo and International Meat Expo – IPPE has secured more than 1,100 exhibitors. “We are very pleased with the level of exhibitor participation and the expanded square footage of the trade show floor. We anticipate more than 30,000 attendees at the 2017 IPPE, with the Expo providing an excellent location to learn about new products and services for the protein and feed industries,” stated IPPE show organizers. The world’s largest annual feed, meat and poultry industry trade show will be held Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, 2017, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. The Expo will highlight the latest technology, equipment and services used in the production and processing of feed, meat and poultry products. IPPE will also feature dynamic education programs addressing current industry issues, combining the expertise from AFIA, NAMI and USPOULTRY. 2017 IPPE SHOW HOURS: Tuesday, Jan. 31: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information about the 2017 IPPE, visit
September 2, 2016 - With the price of industrial milk set to increase for a second time this year on September 1st as a result of a recent decision by the Canadian Dairy Commission, it is once again the poorest families that will suffer from such a policy, as shown in a Viewpoint published today by the Montral Economic Institute (MEI). According to numerous studies, Canada's supply management system, which governs the country's dairy, egg, and poultry sectors, forces families to bear a large cost by imposing higher prices than those that could be obtained on open markets. "Supply management hits the poorest Canadian families the hardest by forcing them to pay $339 more per year to feed themselves," explains Vincent Geloso, economist and co-author of the publication. "These measures are highly regressive, costing poor families five times more than rich families, in proportion to their incomes." The authors' calculations show that a considerable number of Canadians are hurt by supply management. Using different thresholds measuring economic vulnerability, an estimated 133,032 to 189,278 Canadians find themselves in poverty because of this system. "Supply management protects 13,500 Canadian producers of dairy, poultry, and eggs, but this represents just one eighth of all the farms in the country," argues Alexandre Moreau, Public Policy Analyst at the MEI and co-author of the Viewpoint. "While it may help certain farms, supply management hurts 35 million Canadian consumers who are forced to pay higher prices." "The government should once and for all abolish supply management, which is nothing more than an unjust, inefficient policy that impoverishes the most vulnerable Canadian families," concludes Vincent Geloso. The Viewpoint entitled "Supply Management Makes the Poor Even Poorer" was prepared by Vincent Geloso, economist, and Alexandre Moreau, Public Policy Analyst at the MEI. This publication is available on our website.
September 1, 2016- This September marks the first annual National Chicken Month in Canada. All month long, Canadians from coast to coast will be celebrating their favourite protein – and the hard-working Canadian chicken farm families that raise it. It's no surprise that Canadians love chicken. Not only is it great for your health – with a great mix of lean protein and healthy fats – it's delicious, versatile, and raised to the highest standards: yours. But chicken is good for our country's health, too. Chicken in Canada is produced under a system called supply management. Under this system, farmers meet often to determine how much chicken consumers in Canada are asking for – and carefully match their production to meet that demand. Because of this system, consumers and farmers both win: consumers are guaranteed access to their favourite healthy protein, which continues to be the least expensive compared to other meats, and farmers are able to reinvest in their communities with confidence. "Celebrating National Chicken Month is just one way to celebrate the great chicken that we have been providing to Canadians for decades," said Dave Janzen, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada. "Canadians care deeply about their food, about knowing where it comes from and that what they're serving to their family and friends is of the highest quality; our farmers and their families are no different." With chicken being raised year-round from coast to coast, in every province, Canadians are assured a steady supply of fresh, high-quality chicken. Aside from quality and freshness that is among the best in the world, Canadian chicken farming represents: Food Safety You Can Count On: Chicken Farmers of Canada is the first national organization to achieve full federal, provincial and territorial government recognition for our On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program (OFFSAP). An Agriculture Success Story That Doesn't Need Handouts: Canada'schicken farmers contribute $5.9 billion to Canada's GDP, paying out $2 billion in taxes, funding critical infrastructure and services. Chicken farmers also sustain 78,200 jobs throughout the entire chicken supply chain. High Animal Care Standards: Canadians expect that farm animals in their country are raised to stringent standards. Canada's chicken farmers work every day to meet this demand with a national, credible, mandatory, and audited Animal Care Program. To celebrate Canadian chicken, and Canada's 2,800 family chicken farms, to enter one of the contests or to find out more about National Chicken Month activities happening throughout the month near you, visit for more information.  

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