What’s new with turkey?

What’s new with turkey?

An update on exciting new products and why year-round product sales are growing.

Promoting biosecurity compliance

Promoting biosecurity compliance

New research identifies factors critical to success.

Are we ready for modular loading?

Are we ready for modular loading?

Most barns in Ontario will require modifications to accommodate modular loading.

Who's Who - British Columbia – Dan Kampen

Who's Who - British Columbia – Dan Kampen

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

CPRC: Smart agriculture in the poultry industry

CPRC: Smart agriculture in the poultry industry

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

Avian influenza (AI) is a significant issue for the entire poultry industry with the potential to disrupt food production within a given country or even on a worldwide scale. And, because the virus exists in wild bird populations, it can be spread easily and has recognized potential to mutate into new and more dangerous strains.
The International Egg Commission (IEC) Avian Influenza Global Expert Group has developed a comprehensive new resource to promote biosecurity.IEC established the group, made up of leading scientists, vets and industry experts, in 2015 to develop practical solutions to combat avian influenza (AI). The group has already made significant progress. For instance, it identified that improving biosecurity is the single most important step in protecting businesses from a wide variety of diseases, including AI.Based on these findings, it developed a comprehensive practical biosecurity checklist that is now freely available for the egg industry to download. The document offers practical guidelines to egg farmers and producer businesses to help reduce the risk of infection on their farms and operational facilities.Critical guidelines featured within the checklist include: Preventing chickens having contact with rodents and wild birds Controlling the movement of vehicles and people Consistent use of dedicated, protective clothing and footwear for anyone that has access to chickens The AI Expert Group will next release a paper on AI vaccinations, providing an evaluation of the advantages and constraints of such programs.
October 27, 2017, Edmonton, ALta. –  An Alberta government panel is recommending the province subsidize farmers and ranchers to offset costs of new occupational health and safety rules.The panel said the long list of requirements in the occupational health and safety code, ``when added up, may be significant for some and may be perceived as overwhelming or unrealistic.''It recommends several suggestions including GST rebates, and government grants.Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier and Labour Minister Christina Gray released the panel's report on Thursday, but they aren't responding to the recommendations yet.Carlier was asked if such a subsidy would be fair if it is not offered to other industries.``Every industry is different,'' said Carlier. ``Even the crop insurance, the farming insurance, right now is subsidized in Alberta. That could be a fairness issue as well.''Gray said the government has been reviewing the reports for almost seven months and is now seeking public input for the next 11 weeks, with regulations to be drafted after that.The panel recommendations include: Employers must establish emergency evacuation plans. Employers must apply a reasonably predictable standard for safeguards to prevent a worker from falling into bins or hoppers. If a hazard assessment indicates that personal protective equipment is required, the employer must ensure that the worker is trained to use it. Employers are to provide appropriate equipment that will help workers lift, push, pull, carry, handle or transport heavy or awkward loads. Any machine that may cause injury must have protective barriers. Scaffolds must comply with industry safety standards. There must be written policy and procedures on potential workplace violence. A worker must not ride on a tongue or drawbar connected to equipment in tandem, or a bucket, forks or other equipment that pose a risk of injury. There is also a proposal on washrooms for those working in the fields. The recommendation is to let nature take its course, as it has for generations.``The norm in such instances is to perform functions otherwise appropriate for toilet facilities in the great outdoors,'' read the report.The panels could not come to a consensus on whether seatbelts are necessary, given the need for safety versus the needs of multitasking.They also couldn't agree on whether farmers and ranchers need to wear safety vests or whether roll bars or other safety devices should be mandatory on ATVs.The proposed changes are embedded in almost 200 pages of technical and legal detail that Gray herself says requires cross-referencing with occupational health and safety codes and legislation in order to fully comprehend.Gray said while those documents are available, her department will soon be coming out with a summary for Albertans that will make all the changes and implications crystal clear.``I'm committed to making sure that Albertans are able to fully participate in this and provide feedback because that is why we're here today, to engage with Albertans,'' she said.Carlier admitted that past government communication and outreach on the farm safety legislation have been problematic.There were protest rallies at the legislature when the legislation was passed in late 2015, with critics saying the rules would prevent family members from helping on the farm and would leave the farm way of life flailing in red ink and red tape.``Our new government learned some tough lessons,'' said Carlier.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a total of 50.4 million birds were affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the U.S. in 2015. It was significantly less in 2016 – only 43,000 – but the disease has not gone away. This year, AI has continued to rear its ugly head several times.
October 18, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Breaded chicken products sold under the Janes brand name are being recalled due to possible contamination from salmonella.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the uncooked products include Pub Style Chicken Burgers and Pub Style Snacks Popcorn Chicken.The burgers carry a code of 2018 MA 12 on the package and the code on the popcorn chicken packages is 2018 MA 15.Both are sold in 800 gram packages across the country and distributed by Sofina Foods Inc. of Brampton, Ont.The CFIA says the recalled packages should be thrown out or returned to the store where purchased.Food contaminated with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick.Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections.
September 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – A salmonella outbreak that left 13 people ill in four provinces this summer has been linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products.The Public Health Agency of Canada says seven cases were from Ontario while there were two each from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec.The agency says four of the people who became sick between June and August had to be hospitalized.Officials are still investigating.Salmonella is commonly found in raw chicken and frozen raw breaded chicken products.Illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing poultry.
September 29, 2017, Victoria, B.C. - British Columbia farmers are invited to safely and responsibly dispose of their unwanted or obsolete pesticides and livestock (including equine) medications from October 3 through 19, 2017.In partnership with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), Cleanfarms, an industry-led, national not-for-profit environmental stewardship organization, is offering this program at no cost to farmers.The obsolete pesticide and livestock/equine medication collection program is a national program that comes to each province every three years. In between collections periods, farmers are asked to safely store their unwanted pesticides and livestock medications until they can properly dispose of them through the program."British Columbia farmers are environmentally conscious and are pleased to partner with Cleanfarms to safely dispose of obsolete pesticides and livestock medications," Stan Vander Waal, chair of the British Columbia Agriculture Council, said in a press release. "The Cleanfarms collection program provides an excellent one-stop service for British Columbia farmers to continue to protect the land."Farmers in British Columbia have a long history of good stewardship practices. Since 1998, British Columbia farmers have turned in more than 282,000 kilograms of obsolete pesticides since program inception, and 47,000 kilograms during last collection in 2014 and 2015. Farmers across the province also turned in more than 500 kilograms of livestock medication in 2014 and 2015."British Columbia has a history of successful collections," Barry Friesen, general manager of Cleanfarms, said. "The participation of British Columbia farmers shows they are good stewards of their land and committed to protecting the environment."After collection, the pesticides and medications are taken to a licensed waste management facility where they are disposed of through high temperature incineration.The following locations will be accepting obsolete pesticides and livestock/equine medications from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the dates specified:VICTORIAOctober 3, 2017Capital Regional DistrictHartland Landfill1 Hartland AvenueT: 250-360-3030DUNCANOctober 4, 2017Bings CreekRecycling Centre3900 Drinkwater RoadT: 250-746-2540COURTENAYOctober 5, 2017Comox Valley WasteManagement Centre3699 Bevan RoadCumberlandT: 250-334-6000DELTAOctober 10 and 11, 2017Crop Production ServicesEvergro7430 Hopcott RoadT: 604-940-0290ABBOTSFORDOctober 17 and 18, 2017Univar Agriculture3256 McCallum RoadT: 604-859-4919PEMBERTONOctober 19, 2017Squamish-Lilloett RegionalDistrict Transfer Station1947 Carpenter RoadT: 604-894-6371 Ext. 236
August 18, 2017 - Perches are a necessity in cage-free housing systems, but changing them may be necessary, too.As cage-free egg farming is expanded around the world, some in the field are asking if the current round, metal tube perch design is the best for bird performance and welfare. On the welfare side, perches fulfill the hen’s natural desire to perch and give less dominant birds a way to escape more aggressive ones. From a management standpoint, including perches reduces aggressive behaviors and gives the farmer more usable space inside the layer house.At the Egg Industry Center’s Egg Industry Issues Forum, the attendees asked whether the perch is as beneficial as it can be for the hen and the farmer, and discussed innovations that could improve the devices. The conference took place April 19 and 20, in Columbus, Ohio. READ MORE
Modern commercial broiler breeders need to be feed restricted in order to control their growth rate and prevent obesity, lameness and reproductive problems. Although the birds are fed above their maintenance requirements, they exhibit behavioural signs of chronic hunger. 
August 3, 2017, Brussels, Belgium – The European Union says a pesticide-contaminated egg scare in some EU countries is under control.Dozens of farms were being checked in the Netherlands, and Belgium's food safety agency was probing how the anti-tick and flea pesticide Fipronil might have entered eggs destined for supermarkets. Fipronil is banned in products for treating animals like chickens that are part of the human food chain.European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said Thursday that ''the eggs are blocked. The contaminated eggs have been traced and withdrawn from the market and the situation is under control.''Belgian food authorities say suspect eggs have been destroyed and there is no danger to public health given the small amounts of the pesticide that might have entered any eggs that reached the market.
August 3, 2017, Shoreview, Minn. - There’s nothing like a complete, balanced layer feed. But what happens after your chickens are finished pecking away at the feeder?“Few of us consider the events after we bring a bag of chicken feed home; we just know our birds like us to keep the feeder full,” says Patrick Biggs, Ph.D., a flock nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “Have you ever thought about what happens between when a hen eats at the feeder and when she lays an egg 24 to 26 hours later?”To help answer this question, Biggs recently discussed bird anatomy with two bloggers: The Chicken Chick, Kathy Shea Mormino, and The Garden Fairy, Julie Harrison. During a tour of the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Mo., he explained once a crumble or pellet is consumed by a bird, it travels through a unique pathway for digestion with each ingredient serving a specific purpose.“Chickens are excellent converters of feed, channeling those nutrients directly into their eggs,” says Biggs. “Laying hens need 38 different nutrients to stay healthy and produce eggs. Think of a complete chicken feed as a casserole - it’s a mixture of ingredients where each part adds up to a perfectly balanced whole. Each ingredient is the digested by the hen, with many of them working together for bird health and egg production.”Ready to find out where chicken feed goes once eaten? Follow the journey beyond the feeder:Eating on the goWhile chickens need to eat to stay healthy just as people do, a bird’s digestive anatomy is quite different than ours.“Chickens don’t have teeth and they are a prey animal, so they can’t waste much time chewing,” explains Biggs. “Instead, they swallow food quickly and store it away. The crop, a pouch-like organ meant solely for storage, is the first pit stop feed will encounter.”Within the crop, very little digestion occurs. Feed will combine with water and some good bacteria to soften food particles before moving through the system. The feed in the crop will be released to the rest of the digestive tract throughout the day.The chicken stomachThe next stop in the feed journey is the proventriculus, which is equivalent to the human stomach. This is where digestion really begins in the bird. Stomach acid combines with pepsin, a digestive enzyme, to start the breakdown of feed into smaller pieces.“For birds, feed doesn’t spend much time in the proventriculus,” Biggs says. “Instead, it quickly moves to the gizzard where the real fun begins. The gizzard is the engine of the digestive system - it’s a muscle meant for grinding food particles. Since chickens lack teeth, they need a different method of mechanically digesting food. Historically, this is where grit would play a big role; however, many of today’s complete layer feeds include the necessary nutrients without a need for grit.”Absorbing the magicNutrients are then absorbed through the small intestine and passed into the bloodstream. These absorbed nutrients are used for building feathers, bones, eggs and more. Many of these essential nutrients must be provided through the diet.“For example, methionine is an essential amino acid, that must be provided through the diet,” explains Biggs. “Like all amino acids, methionine comes from protein sources and is needed at the cellular level to build specific proteins used for feathering, growth, reproduction and egg production.”This is also where calcium and other minerals are absorbed into the blood stream to be stored for bone strength and shell production.Building an egg“In addition to absorbing nutrients to stay healthy, hens also channel feed nutrients directly into their eggs,” says Biggs.The yolk is formed first. The yolk color comes from fat-soluble pigments, called xanthophylls, which are found in a hen's diet. Hens may direct marigold extract from the feed to create vibrant orange yolks and omega-3 fatty acids to produce more nutritious eggs.Next, the shell is formed around the contents of the egg in the shell gland. This is where shell color is created. Most shells start white and then color is added. Breeds like Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Marans, Ameraucanas or Easter Eggers, will apply pigments to transform white eggs to brown, blue or green.No matter the shell color, calcium is essential at this stage. Calcium travels to the shell gland via the bloodstream. Hens channel calcium first into their eggs and then into their bones. If a hen doesn’t have enough calcium, she will still form the eggshell but her bone strength may suffer which could lead to osteoporosis.“There are two types of calcium chickens need: fast release and slow release,” Biggs explains. “Fast release calcium is found in most layer feeds and breaks down quickly. This quick release is important for bird health, but can leave a void after hens have eaten and are forming eggs at night.”“Slow release calcium breaks down over time so hens can channel the calcium when they need it most for shell development,” continues Biggs. 
Seventeen-year-old high school student Bertin Cyr was working at the local chicken processing plant in northern New Brunswick when opportunity came knocking.
Necessity is the mother of invention, as we all know, but Wayne McCauley knows this better than most. He’s nothing less than the inventor and commercializer of a new disruptive poultry-feeding technology.
As the elimination of the preventative use of antimicrobials in poultry production fast approaches, it’s time to take a closer look at ways to prevent stress and illness in the barn. One approach is by providing the optimum environment for the birds – proper ventilation is a key component of that environment.
Wichita, Kan., November 30, 2017 – Consumers can now trace Honeysuckle White brand turkeys from a family farm to their table as part of a new pilot project enabled by Cargill.Shoppers in select markets can simply text or enter an on-package code at HoneysuckleWhite.com to access the farm's location by state and county, view the family farm story, see photos from the farm and read a message from the farmer.For years, the Honeysuckle White brand has surveyed consumers about transparency.In 2014, it found 44 per cent of turkey consumers think it is important for companies to be transparent in their practices.Studies in 2016 revealed 73 per cent of consumers feel positively about companies that are transparent about where and how their products are made, grown or raised.Also, more than half of consumers consider farmers one of the most trusted sources on food-related issues.This year, the brand held consumer focus groups that confirmed consumers feel good about buying turkey raised by family farmers.These insights led the company to develop and pilot a first-to-market blockchain-based solution for turkey in partnership with Cargill.Blockchain models build a trusted, transparent food chain that integrate key stakeholders into the supply chain and create a distributed ledger with immutable records.Because all participants inside the blockchain network must agree before a new record is added to a ledger, the technology also reduces the risk of fraud or human error, and cryptography within the network ensures security, authentication and integrity of transactions.“The transparency pilot with Honeysuckle White brand turkeys is one example of how we are using technology to shape the food system of the future and deliver on consumers' desire for transparency in food,” Deb Bauler, Cargill chief information officer for North American Protein, said in a press releaseCargill will use the pilot as an opportunity to learn more about the value of traceability in its turkey supply chain.Turkeys that are part of the Honeysuckle White brand transparency pilot will be primarily available in retailers in the Texas market for the pilot year.
The protein product market has never been more crowded in Canada. The widest variety of meat, poultry egg and vegetarian options in history all entice us from their grocery store shelves, constantly vying with each other for a bigger slice of the protein product pie. However, Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) says that while Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter still account for over 90 per cent of annual whole turkey sales, the popularity of other turkey products throughout the year continues to grow.
"U.S. shift to cage-free eggs causing market disruption.” That was the title of an editorial blog published in July by WATT, publisher of WATT Poultry USA magazine. In it, Terrence O’Keefe, content director of agri-business, notes, “It will continue to be a bumpy transition for the cage-free egg market unless major egg purchasers set and stick to interim goals for cage-free egg purchases.”
It’s well known that livestock diseases can be transmitted by mechanical means – by boots and vehicles. In response to this fact, producers have created barn entry and exit biosecurity protocols. However, many researchers have shown that compliance can be low around the world, and on poultry and swine farms in particular.
November 23, 2017 – Each year, Americans eat an average of 250 eggs, and right now there is a surplus in most parts of the country because of increased production. In California, however, there is a decrease in the number of eggs being laid.Why? It could be a case of happier hens, new research suggests.A law in that state titled the “Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act” (also known as Prop 2) requires all eggs produced in California come from chickens “that are provided enough room to turn around and fully extend their wings”.Passed in late-2008, it came into effect on January 1, 2015 to allow producers time to transition.Now, a study shows the regulations have already had a significant impact on hens, farmers and consumers – and not just in California.It’s all part of new research from Conner Mullally of the University of Florida and Jayson Lusk of Purdue University titled “The Impact of Farm Animal Housing Restrictions on Egg Prices, Consumer Welfare, and Production in California.”“You can change the animal welfare and the treatment of animals but it’s not going to be free,” Mullally says of the study results, which were recently published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.“We were able to look at how much people paid for a dozen eggs compared to some cities outside of California thanks to grocery store data.”For the study, the researchers looked at 16 years of monthly data on egg production and input prices.They found that by July 2016, both egg production and the number of egg-laying hens was about 35 per cent lower than they would have been in the absence of the new regulations.Out-of-state eggs were able to compensate for falling California production until around the time the new rules were implemented, at which point imports of eggs into California fell.For consumers, the study found that the average price paid per dozen eggs was about 22 per cent higher from December 2014 through September 2016 than it would have been in the absence of the hen housing restrictions.The price impact fell over time, from an initial impact of about 33 per cent per dozen to about 9 per cent over the last six months of the observed time horizon.These price increases correspond to welfare losses of at least $117 million for the three California markets over the observed time horizon.The results suggest that because of the policy change, California consumers can expect to experience annual welfare losses of at least $25 million in future years from higher retail egg prices alone.
In terms of the modular handling of poultry, Ontario and Quebec lag decades behind Europe and the rest of North America. But, that may be changing soon.
November 20, 2017, Sede Boqer, Israel – A new study shows that poultry excrement may have a future as a fuel for heat and electricity.Treated excrement from turkeys, chickens and other poultry, when converted to combustible solid biomass fuel, could replace approximately 10 per cent of coal used in electricity generation, reducing greenhouse gases and providing an alternative energy source, according to a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers.While biomass accounts for 73 per cent of renewable energy production worldwide, crops grown for energy production burden land, water and fertilizer resources. According to the researchers, “Environmentally safe disposal of poultry excrement has become a significant problem. Converting poultry waste to solid fuel, a less resource-intensive, renewable energy source is an environmentally superior alternative that also reduces reliance on fossil fuels.”According to the study in Elsevier’s Applied Energy, researchers at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at BGU evaluated two biofuel types to determine which is the more efficient poultry waste solid fuel.They compared the production, combustion and gas emissions of biochar, which is produced by slow heating of the biomass at a temperature of 450°C (842°F) in an oxygen-free furnace with hydrochar. Hydrochar is produced by heating wet biomass to a much lower temperature of up to 250°C under pressure using a process called hydrothermal carbonization (HTC). HTC mimics natural coal formation within several hours.“We found that poultry waste processed as hydrochar produced 24 per cent higher net energy generation,” says student researcher Vivian Mau and Prof. Amit Gross, chair of the Department of Environmental Hydrology and Microbiology at BGU’s Zuckerberg Institute. “Poultry waste hydrochar generates heat at high temperatures and combusts in a similar manner to coal, an important factor in replacing it as renewable energy source.”For the first time, the researchers also showed that higher HTC production temperatures resulted in a significant reduction in emissions of methane (CH4) and ammonia (NH3) and an increase of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.“This investigation helped in bridging the gap between hydrochar being considered as a potential energy source toward the development of an alternative renewable fuel,” Gross explains. “Our findings could help significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity generation and agricultural wastes. Field-scale experiments with HTC reactor should be conducted to confirm the assessments from this laboratory-scale study.”The study was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Rosenzweig-Coopersmith Foundation. BGU Ph.D. candidate Vivian Mau received financial support from the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, the Rieger Foundation and the Zuckerberg Scholarship Fund at BGU’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research.
November 15, 2017, Brampton, Ont. - Olymel has completed a $30 million investment to redevelop its Orenda poultry further processing plant in Brampton, Ont., and to acquire a new plant (Westwyn), also located in Brampton. This investment increases the company's production capacity, particularly in the breaded poultry products segment, in order to capitalize on business opportunities that the market offers both in the HRI (Hotel, Restaurant and Institution) network and in the retail distribution sector. The acquisition of a new building represents an addition of more than 50,000 square feet to the existing surface area of these two Olymel plants, and makes additional space available to be used for future developments.Thanks to this investment, the Brampton Orenda plant, which had reached its full production capacity, is now equipped with a fourth breading line and high-performance equipment. Notably, the plant is now able to produce gluten-free products at all times, both for its house brands, such as Flamingo, and for private brands.The recently acquired and refurbished Westwyn plant is specialized in deboning, which was previously done at the Olymel Orenda plant. The reorganized and extended activities of these two Olymel Ontario plants that specialize in poultry processing will create more than 100 new jobs.
St-Hyacinthe, Que., Nov. 16, 2017 - Olymel is investing $14 million to redevelop a section of its Berthierville, Que., poultry processing plant and install a new CO2 bird anaesthesia system. The work, which will start in December, should be completed by the fall of 2018 and includes the construction of a new building designed for receiving birds and conducting CO2 anaesthesia.The company is also adding equipment for the operation of this new slaughtering method and other stages of production.Improving animal welfare, working environmentIn a press release, the company outlined a number of advantages of the CO2 bird anaesthesia system. First of all, it improves animal welfare by reducing bird stress, in particular due to a 40 per cent larger crate. Reduced bird stress also helps to avoid injuries, consequently improving the quality of the meat. This system does not require changes to farm buildings. In addition, CO2 anaesthesia improves the working environment for employees assigned to slaughtering, who will work in an area with better lighting and air conditioning, as well as far less dust. Finally, the installation of this system will also increase the plant's production capacity in terms of volume.The CO2 anaesthesia system that Olymel has chosen meets the industry's highest standards for animal welfare. The company intends to implement the same slaughtering method by 2019 at its other primary poultry processing plants in St-Damase, Que., Montérégie. Que., and Clair, N.B. The latter is jointly owned with the Westco Group, one of the largest poultry producers in Canada. In 2011, Olymel installed the same type of CO2 anaesthesia system for turkeys at its St-Jean-Baptiste-de-Rouville turkey plant in Montérégie, Que., jointly owned with Exceldor (Olymel 68% - Exceldor 32%).Olymel's Berthierville poultry processing plant in Lanaudière specializes in chicken slaughtering, cutting and deboning, and has a weekly capacity of nearly one million birds. The plant employs more than 425 people. The majority of its production consists of fresh products, such as trussed chickens for rotisseries and various cuts. The plant also supplies other Olymel further processing plants with fresh poultry meat.
February 8, 2017, Victoria, B.C. – British Columbia's privacy commissioner says a chicken-catching company was not authorized to use video surveillance on staff in response to an animal cruelty investigation.Elite Services in Chilliwack said in June it would require one supervisor and two staff members to wear cameras on their vests after an animal advocacy group released an undercover video that allegedly showed workers hitting, kicking and throwing chickens.Drew McArthur, the province's acting information and privacy commissioner, says he launched an investigation following media coverage of the case over concerns the video surveillance was being used as a ``quick fix'' and could violate privacy rights.The investigation found that Elite Services implemented the video surveillance to prevent employee misconduct and restore the company's reputation.``But video surveillance should only be used as a last resort, not as a substitute for ineffective recruitment and training protocols,'' McArthur says in the report released Wednesday.He says the company did not consider the privacy risks involved in collecting the video, and the employees who were under surveillance were not the same workers who were allegedly responsible for the original misconduct.Elite Services said in June that six staff members were fired as a result of the undercover video, including two who were let go before the footage was released.The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but McArthur's report says it stopped video recording its employees once it was aware of the privacy commissioner's investigation. McArthur's report recommends the company stop using the video cameras.McArthur says his office found the company was collecting personal information from individuals without consent, including from farmers, truckers and contractors.The investigation found the collection and use of the personal information was not reasonable.``Too often, organizations like this one turn to surveillance believing it will fix their crisis or problem. Organizations need to understand the privacy risks associated with surveillance and take all reasonable efforts to avoid them,'' the report says.McArthur's report makes seven recommendations, including that the company destroy all existing surveillance video and develop formal procedures to make sure personal information is protected in the future.
December 6, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - The holidays are a time when the issue of hunger seems to hit home a little harder, and when an army of Food Bank volunteers continue to work, helping their neighbours. This season, Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) has decided to celebrate those generous people with a delicious and nutritious surprise breakfast hosted by none other than Chef Lynn Crawford."I have been a partner of Egg Farmers of Canada for many years now and I know how deeply Canadian egg farmers are rooted in their communities," chef Lynn Crawford, EFC's national chef ambassador, said in a press release. "Preparing this meal to say thank you to food banks volunteers was a very humbling experience."EFC has been supporting Food Banks Canada for more than two decades, helping to deliver fresh, nutritious food items that help the issue of hunger in Canada."Every year, egg farmers donate more than a million eggs to community food banks," EFC chairman Roger Pelissero said. "We're proud to partner with Food Banks Canada and Chef Lynn Crawford and are happy to celebrate the people who, by volunteering their time, contribute to the fabric of our communities."Along with its affiliates, Food Banks Canada assists over 860,000 Canadians who turn to food banks each month. Throughout the holiday season there is an increased demand for food banks services, creating a greater need for volunteers, support and donations."Sometimes an action as simple as making a cherished recipe or a meal can bring a lot of joy in someone's life," added Tania Little, director of development and partnerships at Food Banks Canada. "We're very touched by the wonderful breakfast Egg Farmers of Canada and Chef Lynn Crawford prepared for our volunteers."In the spirit of the holiday season, EFC and Food Banks Canada is calling on all Canadians to set aside some time for friends and neighbours who need them. Bring joy to someone's life by sharing a cherished recipe or a meal on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #RecipesThatGive, or by supporting your local food bank.
December 7, 2017, Levis, Que. - Exceldor, a poultry production cooperative, unveiled plans today to build a new distribution centre that will become the hub of a logistical chain.The new 135,000 sq. ft. facility will require a $35 million investment and employ about 60 workers. It will be strategically located in Beloeil, Que. next to the Jean-Lesage highway."The distribution centre's design will greatly increase effectiveness and optimize our processes. Destined to become a veritable logistical nerve centre, it will link our many production sites to the ultimate delivery to our customers," Exceldor's president and CEO René Proulx said in a press release.Construction will begin in spring 2018 with commissioning slated for the first quarter of 2019. The project requires prior consent from the City of Beloeil, with whom Exceldor is working closely."The vitality of the poultry market, combined with the quality and freshness of our products, makes for highly interesting business prospects. We are excited to launch this new chapter of growth with the commitment of our members and the dedication of our employees, with whom we have proudly collaborated in growing our organization," Proulx added.Exceldor will retain ownership of the new facility and will decide in the coming weeks which specialized logistics company will manage the day to day operations.
Blog number three follows what turned out to be a very busy November. I knew things were ramping up when I heard my husband Nick tell a salesman that he “wished there were two of him”.First, I think I should elaborate on why we chose to convert to an enriched colony system. We looked at free-run and free-range, but our gut is telling us that the consumer will still want to purchase the cheapest eggs available in grocery stores.Our son works at Food Basics and sees the specialty eggs passed over. Actually, they have to be shipped back as they are on the shelf to the expiry date.As a family, including our children (all of whom are in their twenties), we decided we did not want to work in an environment where our hens would greet us openly upon entering the barn.We also think an enriched system will give us more control with respect to animal care, our routine and the amount of time we spend in the barn.In addition, we would probably have to have a bigger barn for free-run or free-range. That being the case, our present building site would have been compromised by size and perhaps would have had to be moved to a different location on the farm.We decided to stay with Clark Ag Systems partly because they are only a half-hour away. Being nearby has aided in service calls for repairs to our conventional system.What’s more, the Farmer Automatic system includes many interesting add-ons. I will discuss these more when we are at the housing installation phase of the build.A busy monthIn the last month, concrete work finally began. We built the forms for the concrete walls in the cooler, packing room and front area of the barn in a few days.The first cement truck came on November 6th. This was exciting and relieved some stress for both of us, as we could see the barn build finally physically taking shape.We had to bring in loads of stone. Also, the barn floor had to be levelled and packed with a roller to make a smooth floor for the concrete that would be poured on top in the future.We used the services of Chris Best to haul in stone, move it, roll it and pack it. They also helped with excavating a new electrical line.In the week of November 20th, three contractors were working on the same day.Two were doing the concrete walls. Three were moving stone from the dump pile to a dump truck to the back of the barn site, spreading it on the floor and rolling/packing the stone to make a level floor.And three men from Jorna Construction had started the preliminary work for building the first wall.Nick is being the general contractor for the barn build project. He was overseeing all aspects, such as making sure the present water line from the deep well to our existing layer barn was buried beneath the floor, doing drawings for fan placement so the builder made the correct size of opening in the side walls and getting anything else that was needed.Building a cistern under the cooler was a last minute decision. There was such a large hole under the cooler that it made more sense to use it as a cistern, instead of filling it in with gravel.In that week, we also had the electricians come and install underground conduit for the electrical service. I think at least 10 truckloads of stone were brought in, and three loads made by the cement truck.On Wednesday, November 22, the first west framed wall was up, and the size difference of the new barn compared to the present conventionally housed barn is quite impressive.The opposite east wall was up two days later and we had the weekend to gaze upon all of the week’s efforts.Saturday, Nick called upon a former worker to help him take down more of the existing pig barn so the carpenter has more working space at the south (far) end.We are going to hold on to our hats for December, as it looks like we will need good weather to get everything enclosed before winter.Even with all of this activity, barn chores still must get done. I find myself in the barn alone more, but know it is important for Nick to be present when building work is being done.I can hear lots of extra banging, vehicles beeping, engines revving and hammering from inside the barn. I do think the chickens are getting used to this!
December 4, 2017, Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. – ADM Animal Nutrition, a division of Archer Daniels Midland Company, announced today that it will be introducing a new specialty feed additive for Canadian swine, poultry and dairy producers called Anco AC.Developed in partnership with Austria-based Anco Animal Nutrition Competence GmbH, it is an anti-caking agent and yeast primary used in all phases of production across multiple species.It is designed to allow animals to deal more efficiently with nutritional stressors in their feed.“The pressure for efficient animal production continues to motivate our team to find the best nutritional solutions for our customers,” said Maurice Champagne, regional business manager for ADM Animal Nutrition in Canada, in a press release.“Anco AC is one such solution, providing a cost-effective way for producers to enhance the overall well-being of their animals and maintain consistent and profitable production.”
December 4, 2017, Toronto, Ont. – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. says it's acquiring Seattle-based Field Roast Grain Meat Co. for US$120 million in a bid to further strengthen its position in the alternative proteins market.CEO Michael McCain says the deal aligns with the Toronto-based packaged meats company's vision to be a leader in sustainable protein.Field Roast has products marketed across North America that include fresh and frozen grain-based roasts and loaves, sausages and frankfurters, burgers, deli slices and appetizers, and Chao brand vegan cheese slices and entrees.The American company, which was founded in 1997, has sales of approximately US$38 million and employs approximately 200 people.Maple Leaf (TSX:MFI) says it expects to finance the purchase, plus related costs, through a combination of cash-on-hand and drawings under its existing credit facility.The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to customary regulatory review and transaction conditions.Earlier this year in February, Maple Leaf bought U.S. company Lightlife Foods, another maker of plant-based protein foods, for US$140 million plus related costs.
November 24, 2017, Mississauga, Ont. – World Vision Canada and Burnbrae Farms are once again giving Canadians the opportunity to provide families with hens, roosters and eggs this holiday season.For the sixth year, Burnbrae will match every Hens and Roosters gift purchased from World Vision's Gift Catalogue (up to $10,000). According to the company, the average hen provides up to 300 eggs per year, meaning the partnership has provided families around the world with approximately one million nourishing eggs to date. What's more, it has the potential of putting another 240,000 eggs in the hands of children and families in developing countries this coming year.As with other development programs that World Vision leads around the world, families that receive livestock gifts from the Gift Catalogue receive training on how to care for the animals, keep them healthy, and create a sustainable income as part of the gift."We are thrilled to be continuing this amazing partnership with World Vision," Margaret Hudson, president, Burnbrae Farms, said in a press release. "Making a difference is a top priority of Burnbrae Farms and knowing that we've played a role in a million eggs reaching children and their families in developing countries is incredible," Margaret Hudson, president, Burnbrae Farms, said in a press release.
Since my first article, I’ve come up with my “author” name – Cindy Egg Farmerette. Like it?This time, I’ll add a little more about our present set up, task sharing and, of course, discuss what we’ve accomplished in the last month for the new site.As a reminder, this blog is all about our journey from conventional housing to building a new Farmer Automatic enriched housing facility.My husband Nick and I contribute fairly equally to the present workload for our egg business.We gather eggs by hand at the front of the barn, with the cooler right beside where we make stacks of trays of eggs and, eventually, the full skid of 60 stacks of eggs.I do probably 95 per cent of the record keeping, animal care checks and all of the bookkeeping.I absolutely refuse to do the manure – that’s Nick’s job. With the majority of our equipment being 21 years old, the manure removal apparatus has several quirks that only he knows how to operate.He monitors the amount of feed to order with the help of our salesman Neill Vroom from Masterfeeds. We’ve stayed with this feed company since the beginning.I also work one morning a week for a lawyer and “retired” last year from teaching piano one day a week at Dunnville Christian School after doing this for 25 years.Our two youngest children attend post-secondary schools and help on the weekends that they’re home. Our two oldest moved out in July to Hamilton, Ont. They have full-time jobs and will help when we need them. Digging away Digging away Solid base Solid base   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria4e241156cc In the last month, Nick has had to find workers willing to clear the barn site with him. His hired man was in a motorcycle accident and could not work while he healed.He found a couple of guys to help for a few days here and there and managed to get everything cleared from the former farrow-to-finish pig barn that we’re converting.The backhoe operator he had lined up was busy. It seems everyone in the construction industry is busy as well!He was going through his contacts on his cellphone and remembered that his long-time friend Bill that we visited in the summer showed him the backhoe he had bought.He asked him if he was interested in picking up some extra work and he agreed. He is a helicopter pilot, former dairy farmer and is sometimes home for weeks at a time.We caught him when he had just gotten home for a good chunk of time. He started with digging the trench for the new driveway.Next, he broke concrete into pieces that could be put in the driveway “trench” as a base for the new driveway.Nick also moved pieces with his loader tractor, managed any helpers and split concrete pieces with a sledgehammer. He also ordered loads of crushed stone for under the concrete floor and for rodent control along foundations.And Nick hired a bobcat with a jackhammer on the front to break thick concrete into smaller pieces. Lots of this was done in the beautiful stretch of weather that we had, but when the rain came one October day, we got soaked with four inches. Everything just had to sit for a few days!The concrete contractor was supposed to be here the beginning of October, but we are still waiting for him. This is holding up the start of the actual building. The builder had called two months ago to warn us to order trusses right away, as there is a backlog.The photos I've included are of the new driveway with concrete pieces and the backhoe and tractor working at the old pig barn site.I hope you continue to follow along and see what happens in the next month.
November 23, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) has been named by executive search firm Waterstone Human Capital as one of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures for the second year in a row. Based in Ottawa, the organization has a growing team of 58 employees."At the core of our success is a dedicated and passionate team, and a commitment to making a difference," EFC's CEO Tim Lambert said in a press release. "As a result, we strive to foster a culture of high-performance and create an environment that offers our team the tools to grow and continuously improve."This philosophy complements EFC's mission to position the egg industry as a leader in Canada's agricultural future, and its vision where everyone can enjoy an egg."At Waterstone, we believe corporate culture drives performance and that it's your organization's greatest asset," said Marty Parker, Waterstone's president and chief executive officer and chair of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures."The 2017 winning organizations are to be admired for the diverse and impactful ways they make sure culture underpins all that makes them successful."In addition to being one of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures, EFC has also been named a National Capital Region Top Employer for five consecutive years.
Zurich, Switzerland, November 17, 2017 – Nestle, the world’s largest packaged foods company, has committed to sourcing only eggs from cage-free hens for all its food products globally by 2025.This includes all shell eggs and egg products directly sourced as ingredients by the company.In Europe and the U.S., Nestle will make the transition by the end of 2020.For the rest of the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania it will happen by 2025, with the move in Asia to be completed in the same transition period, as conditions allow.In some parts of the world, such as in Europe, over 40 per cent of eggs Nestle uses are already from cage-free sources.In a statement, the company explained the timeline for its transition.“Switching to cage-free supplies worldwide requires time and investment.“We will manage this in a sustainable and cost effective way during the implementation period, ensuring consumers continue to access affordable high quality foods throughout.“We look forward to working with our suppliers, farmers, civil society and customers to drive progress.”Several of the company’s rivals have already made similar pledges, including Kraft Heinz, Conagra and Mondelez International.
November 8, 2017 – Hendrix Genetics announced a number of changes in its top management today.Effective January 1, 2018, Ronald de Haan and Dave Libertini will join the company's newly expanded executive committee, which will better represent Hendrix Genetics’ worldwide profile and ambitions.De Haan will join the company as chief operating officer, reporting to chief executive officer Antoon van den Berg. He has extensive management experience in integrated food and meat production. De Haan has lived for 13 years in Thailand acting as CEO in Golden Foods Siam (vertical broiler integrator), Bangkok Ranch Group (vertical duck integrator including duck breeder Cherry Valley) and Godaco SeaFood Company (Vietnamese Pangasius integrator).Libertini will be appointed to the executive committee as vice president Americas, also reporting to van den Berg, and will be based in Kitchener, Canada. He has long term experience in animal breeding in Hendrix Genetics and its predecessor, Euribrid. The Americas is an important development area for Hendrix Genetics and in this role, Libertini will ensure that all activities there are well supported to maximize synergies and growth in the region.The company also announced changes to its turkeys unit. Raf Beeren will be appointed to the position of managing director, business unit turkeys, reporting to van den Berg. Beeren has delivered strong results within Hendrix Genetics and with clients around the world. Most recently, he led the swine business unit of Hendrix Genetics and has worked hard to position that business unit for growth over the last six years. Prior to this role, Beeren held various roles with Hypor and the former broiler breeding division of Hendrix Genetics, Hybro.Libertini and Beeren will work closely together to ensure a seamless transition of leadership in the turkeys business unit. Libertini will continue to be involved in ongoing projects around the world as well as representing Hendrix Genetics on industry and advisory boards.The process for replacement of Beeren in the swine business unit is well underway, and his successor is expected to be named shortly.
Huntsville, Ala. – Aviagen, the global poultry genetics company, has become the first poultry breeder in the U.S. to be certified as an Avian Influenza Clean Compartment.The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) established the program to set standards for protection against avian influenza (AI) in primary poultry breeding companies. Aviagen's pedigree and great grandparent facilities were audited and certified that they meet these standards by the USDA APHIS.Compartmentalization is an international program developed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). It provides a mechanism for countries around the world to accept stock from an exporting country with an AI outbreak by providing the importing country’s officials with the ability to evaluate suppliers based on an exporting company’s management practices and biosecurity program. In 2010, Aviagen became the first primary poultry breeding company to achieve compartment status recognized by a government agency for its facilities in the U.K.Since compartment status has been in place, the company has successfully exported to several countries throughout the world during outbreaks of notifiable disease in the U.K.Later in 2015, Aviagen India’s Elayamuthur facility was granted the status by the Central Indian Government and State Government of Tamil Nadu. Thus, in the event of a notifiable disease, Aviagen India continues to deliver birds to customers in India or other countries that have formally recognized and accepted the status.In a press release, Aviagen CEO Jan Henriksen praised the program for facilitating international trade.“In today’s world, AI has become the biggest threat to international trade, and compartmentalization helps eliminate this threat,” he said. “With compartment certification, primary breeding companies like Aviagen can offer poultry growers worldwide an uninterrupted supply of quality breeding stock, enabling them to sustain the earth’s growing populations with reliable, healthful and affordable protein.”
October 24, 2017, Debert, N.S. – Vandals have destroyed a beloved, five-metre-tall sculpture of a bear, a Nova Scotia farmer's annual tradition promoting his family's poultry and pumpkin farms.Blake Jennings, who has fashioned a bear out of hay every fall for 14 years, said he awoke Tuesday to discover this year's sculpture had been burned overnight.``A ridiculous amount of people are contacting me to say how much it means to them and their children,'' he said. ``Everybody is so upset, and their kids are upset.''He posted photos to his Facebook showing the happy-looking teddy bear had been turned into a blackened, smoking ruin.Jennings' younger sister, who has special needs, is among those devastated by the vandalism.``My little sister – that's her pride and joy. She would name it every year after her favourite stuffed animal,'' he told Global News. `` She was quite upset this morning to find out someone burned it.''The bear was still sitting in its place in the middle of a field Monday night when he came home from delivering pumpkins at around 9 p.m. By 6 a.m. when he woke up, he could smell smoke.``My cousin texted me and told me, 'Someone burned your bear,''' he said. ``Because I had smelled smoke, it immediately dawned on me that I had been smelling burning hay.''Based on the tire tracks in the field, Jennings believes whoever started the fire came on a four-wheeler and attempted to leave quickly.Jennings has filed a report with police but says he knows there isn't much they can do.Meanwhile, he said he plans to keep the tradition alive next year.``I'll just keep putting it up every year, but it sucks how someone could be so disrespectful,'' he said.``There are a lot of families looking forward to taking their pictures in front of it. I've put a lot of effort in it for many years for the families coming to buy pumpkins. Last year, I left it up all through Christmas and decorated it and everything.''He was also upset at how dangerous the arson was, saying the ditches around the field are currently filled with dead grass, and conditions have been dry.
December 13, 2017 - According to new research, eating whole eggs versus an egg-white-only meal does a better job of stimulating muscle-protein synthesis after resistance training.For the study, the results of which were published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fed 10 healthy resistance-trained young men 18 grams of protein from either egg whites or whole eggs (three eggs worth of protein) immediately after a strength workout.Blood and muscle biopsy samples were collected to measure muscle-protein synthesis.One to two weeks later, the participants who consumed the egg whites were tested again after eating whole eggs, and vice versa.Muscle-protein synthesis for 3.5 hours after exercise was greater after eating whole eggs compared to egg whites, despite each egg meal being matched for protein content.For the full story, click here. For the full study, click here.
December 13, 2017 - Over the last five years, researchers from the University of Georgia University and Georgia Institute of Technology have been using machine learning technology to understand and analyze patterns in chicken speech.Georgia Tech research engineer Wayne Daley and his colleagues studied the effects on six to 12 broiler chickens of moderately stressful conditions and recorded their vocalizations.The conditions included increased ammonia levels in the air, minor infections and higher temperatures.The resulting audio data was fed into an AI learning program that enabled it to learn the difference between contented and distressed birds through their vocalizations.The scientists hope to use their findings to better inform farmers about the health and happiness of their poultry.For the full story, click here.
October 12, 2017, Calgary, Alta. – The Alberta government is bumping up funding for more spaces at the University of Calgary's veterinary medicine program.Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt says the province will reallocate $4.7 million per year to the Calgary program beginning in 2020.However, the move is accompanied by a decision to withdraw more than $8 million in annual funding to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.The dean of WCVM, Douglas Freeman, says he is ''deeply disappointed'' with the move, saying it severs a 54-year-old partnership that began in 1963 when the Saskatoon institution was jointly established by the four western provinces.Freeman says losing that large chunk of funding beginning in 2020 will ''certainly have an impact'' on the WCVM's programs and services.Alberta hopes to add 80 additional positions to the Calgary program by 2023, bringing its capacity to more than 200 veterinary students.''The University of Calgary's veterinary program has grown into a world-renowned institution, and with this new funding we will now have the capacity to train all of our students right here in Alberta,'' Schmidt said in a news release.''The partnership with the other provinces worked for many years, but by focusing our support on one Alberta-based program, we will achieve provincial cost savings and increase access. This will make life better for students, families, and communities.''Dru Marshall, academic vice-president at the University of Calgary, said the government investment cements the province's support for the Alberta livestock industry.Freeman, meanwhile, said the WCVM will soldier on without Alberta's participation.''One province's decision doesn't erase all that we have built and accomplished together in the past five decades,'' he said. ''The WCVM will continue to be Western Canada's veterinary college, providing quality veterinary education, research and clinical expertise to the region. We will not let the loss of support from one partner jeopardize our college's value to all western Canadians.''
The topic of slow-growth broilers is a complex one, with a battle to sway public opinion seemingly at the forefront. As background, about a century ago it took around four months for a typical commercial chicken to get to three pounds. Today’s broilers reach about twice that size in about half the time due to changes in production factors such as genetics and nutrition.
September 21, 2017, Calgary, Alta. – New research was released last week by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI), studying consumer concerns and expectations surrounding food transparency and the overall food system. Canadians feel the food system is headed in the right direction, proven by an increase from 30 per cent in 2016 to 43 per cent of Canadians this year.While consumer confidence is increasing, an equal number of Canadians (43 per cent) say they aren’t sure if the food system is on the right track, down from 50 per cent in 2016. These findings are significantly different than the American consumers’ findings from 2016, which showed more definitive opinions with 55 per cent choosing right direction and only 23 per cent saying they were unsure.The 2017 CCFI Public Trust Research occurred in-the-field in June, asking 1,307 Canadians about top life concerns, specifically their level of concern, trust and transparency expectations related to food and how it’s grown.Those polled clearly identified food companies to be the most responsible for providing information about food and how it’s grown. Other food system partners including farmers, government, restaurants and grocery stores also ranked highly as being responsible for transparency.“Canadians are looking for credible information to make informed decisions about their food,” stated Crystal Mackay, CCFI's president, in a press release. “This research reinforces that everyone in the Canadian food system, from the farm through to grocery stores and restaurants, should engage in conversations about food.”Those polled are personally concerned and want more information about specific topics, including food safety, environment and farm animal treatment. Consumers are looking for information on food company websites such as third-party audits, track record, practices and policies that demonstrate their values. When studying these elements of transparency, accuracy rose to the top as the most important attribute to Canadians.Many Canadians are unsure about their food or how it’s grown, but want to learn more. Canadians ranked the rising cost of food and keeping healthy food affordable as their top two life concerns above rising energy costs, healthcare and the economy for the second year in a row.These findings and other insights were key areas for discussion when leaders from across the entire Canadian food system met at the CCFI Public Trust Summit in Calgary last week.Find out more by reading the full 2017 CCFI Public Trust Research report on www.foodintegrity.ca.
September 5, 2017 - The 20-somethings were from all over the world: the U.S., England, Ireland, Turkey, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Peru. And if they had one thing in common, it was their view of the supermarket.“Do you think grocery stores are important?” they were asked by Alltech chief innovation officer, Aidan Connolly.“Yes, they’re very important,” replied one young woman, “for old people.”Leading Alltech’s Corporate Career Development Program, Connolly was hearing in this next generation of consumers a receptiveness for the sweeping, fundamental changes in the production, distribution, purchase and consumption of food heralded by the $13.4 billion Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods.“When we buy our groceries, we mostly buy online,” one student told him.The huge e-commerce company had already been dipping its toe in the food delivery market when it turned its eye toward Whole Foods. AmazonFresh, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, is a grocery delivery service currently available in some U.S. states, London, Tokyo and Berlin.The announced intentions of this mega consumer product distributor to take a step further into the brick-and-mortar premium grocery business has made waves all along the food chain, from retail to agriculture.“I think it's an extraordinary moment,” said Mary Shelman, former director of Harvard Business School's Agribusiness Program. “This could truly be a disruption rather than a change."“Disruption means you do something in a completely different way rather than just making some incremental changes to it,” Shelman continued. “Amazon, which had historically envisioned a world without brick-and-mortar stores, is now, in one fell swoop, making a significant run into that brick-and-mortar world.”The deal, providing Amazon access to Whole Foods’ 466 stores in the United States and the United Kingdom, hasn’t yet closed, and there is plenty of speculation that competitive bids could materialize. But Amazon has its reasons to pursue the acquisition with determination.“Food is the least penetrated category from the online shopping standpoint,” explained Shelman. “Amazon clearly wants to bring that into the fold. I think the realization is that it takes some different skills and infrastructure in food than perhaps they are set up to deal with, so this gives them a tremendous opportunity to learn from that, and to run with that.”Addressing widely held consumer perceptions may also play an important role in this odd-couple marriage.As Shelman sees it, “For Amazon, the biggest challenge in delivering fresh products to your home is what everybody always says: ‘Oh, I don't trust them. I want to go pick out my fruits and veggies and my meats myself.’ Whole Foods brings in that brand name that has value, so it’s: ‘I trust Whole Foods, so now I trust Amazon bringing me Whole Foods quality. Do I trust Whole Foods to deliver for me? I don't think they're very efficient. But Amazon delivering Whole Foods is like, wow!’ So both sides win from the opposite brand name.”What might this mean at some key points along the food supply chain?Producers and growers in an Amazon/Whole Foods worldThe biggest obstacle for producers trying to access markets through the food retail industry today is the enormous power held by the supermarket and big box chains as gatekeepers to the consumer.Control of in-store product positioning provides an enormous source of revenue for traditional supermarkets. So-called “slotting fees” must be paid to win premium space in order for a product to appear on the shelves of Krogers, Safeways and other major chain stores.“Only big companies can afford to do that,” said Shelman. “Even if you are a small company and can find the money to pay a slotting fee to get on the shelf, the ongoing costs of the promotion and support that it takes to actually get your sales up to a level that is acceptable to that retailer is a staggering number — something like $100 million, $10 million to introduce a new brand today.”A major casualty of this, she notes, is creativity.“We see that in the big packet food industries: They just bring out yet another flavor, another line, another variation in that brand, and they keep blocking up that shelf,” she explained. “You really don't get any true innovation there.”Shelman believes the evolution of the “Amazon marketplace” is providing new opportunities for smaller producers to bypass those costs and directly reach the consumer.But Connolly believes “Big Ag” and smaller farmers alike have some concern.“It's part of seismic changes taking place in the food chain,” he said. “The top 10 food companies have seen a decline in their sales, profits and share prices as consumers reject traditional famous food brands built around processed foods.”Every day these shifts are reflected in the news: Nestlé being a $3.5 billion target by an activist investor; Kraft’s attempted takeover of Unilever; Amazon gobbling up Whole Foods; and Wal-Mart’s purchase of Jet.comSo, if traditional “Big Food” players are in trouble, how should agribusiness respond?“It must adapt to the new reality,” says Connolly, listing the top three strategies food businesses must take to thrive in the changing landscape:Become lean: Big Food that is merging or being acquired will seek to drive costs out of the system.Deliver prosumer values to address the prosumer and millennial agenda of traceability, transparency, sustainability, welfare and removing unwanted additives.Go direct and to build your own brands again.Connolly notes that “this is a new era with the food business re-fragmenting, and smaller brands will be faster to build and sell direct. Consumer sales over the internet offer an opportunity for ‘Big Ag’ that was not available 20 years ago.”In this new coupling, who will take the lead? Shelman expects that Amazon will pull Whole Foods toward its brand promise and mass appeal: convenience and reasonably priced items across quality levels.“I don't believe Amazon will broadly adopt the same positioning and values as Whole Foods across their broader food portfolio,” she said. “I can't imagine them not selling Cheerios or Kraft Mac & Cheese online. They may initially adopt a higher quality approach in fresh products — meats and produce, since those seem to require a stronger brand to sell.”Consumers in an Amazon/Whole Foods worldToday’s consumer is swimming in a sea of options and information. The innovation of the “food kit” has given rise to the home-delivered packages offered by Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Plated, Purple Carrot and Home Chef. Nestlé has invested in the prepared meal delivery service Freshly, and Sun Basket has attracted Unilever capital.It takes time to complete a merger with all the complexities brought to the table by Amazon and Whole Foods. So what's going to happen to the rest of the food industry while t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted? Views differ about the extent to which the merger will cause change.Speaking to analysts and investors at a conference in Boston, Kroger CFO Mike Schlotman said he doesn’t envision a major shift to people ordering groceries online for delivery to their homes.“Part of me refuses to believe that everybody is just going to sit at home and everything is going to be brought to their doorstep and nobody is ever going to leave home to do anything again,” said Schlotman.But, according to Connolly, “the United States has been slower to the party than other parts of the world,” and there is plenty of evidence that significant change is already well underway.“Maybe there are some of us that take joy in walking up and down the grocery aisle and doing that as our chore, but what consumers are saying is that they're voting with their feet,” Connolly said. “They're saying, ‘If you give me a better alternative, I won’t go to the store.’"Connolly recalls the observations of a friend who is involved in the food industry in the U.K., working with Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, who forecasts that we're in the last five to eight years of the big box model of the supermarket.“What we're going to see in the future, according to him, is much more of a Starbucks version of a grocery store,where you can buy the small produce, organic, the pieces that you want to have hands on, but for the most part, you're going to pick it on your cell phone, ordering it directly, and it will arrive today by delivery in a half-an-hour increment,” he explained. “So if you say 4:00 p.m., it'll be between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. In the future, that will be delivered by robots, which is already happening in England, and eventually it'll happen by drone.”One of the world’s largest pork producers, Smithfield Shuanghui of China, has a strategic cooperation agreement to sell packaged Smithfield meats through JD.com, a Chinese version of Amazon.“They’re creating a cold chain system from the warehouse to the customer, selling fresh chilled foods, including packaged meats,” says Michael Woolsey, senior strategic manager for Alltech China. “If a customer in the morning decides they want to have hotdogs from Smithfield for dinner that night, they take out their cell phone, dial up JD.com, order the hotdogs and the truck shows up later that afternoon. Chilled distribution the entire way to the consumer’s door. So, it’s a superior product. It’s what consumers want. It’s an exciting development.”Shelman says today’s marketplace “is just fundamentally different” as consumers are being conditioned to a whole different set of solutions.“I think for everybody now, the fun of thinking about these different scenarios and letting go of the old retail model is leading us all to be very challenged to think about what that future is going to be like,” she said. “How are we going to get our food 10 years from now?”Connolly sees profound change arriving even sooner.“If we think of machine vision, where you use a camera with artificial intelligence, you can teach your camera to recognize what you want in your meat, what you want in your produce,” he said. “It can learn to smell the produce. It can learn to recognize the color that you want. It can probably even, using these internet of things-type devices, give you all of the origins of and the pesticides used in the products, all of the things that might cause allergies.“So, your drone, equipped with the right camera and the right artificial intelligence, can do these things,” continued Connolly. “And we are not talking about something that is going to happen in the next 30 years. This can happen within the next 12 months.”And 20-somethings from Brazil to Kazakhstan can hardly wait.
August 25, 2017 - For its latest World Mycotoxin Survey, Biomin conducted more than 33,000 analyses on 8,452 finished feed and raw commodity samples from 63 countries from January to June 2017. These analyses covered common components used for feed such as corn, wheat, barley, rice, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, dried distillers grains (DDGS) and silage, among others.Results of the analyses found that deoxynivalenol (DON) and fumonisins (FUM) are the most common mycotoxins found in feedstuffs.The survey details the incidence of the main mycotoxins occurring in agricultural commodities, which include aflatoxins (Afla), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol, T-2 toxin (T-2), fumonisins and ochratoxin A (OTA).Overall, deoxynivalenol and fumonisins were detected in 81 per cent and 71 per cent of all samples at average levels of 798 parts per billion (ppb) and 1,840 ppb, respectively. Out of all samples, 52 per cent were contaminated by zearalenone. Aflatoxins, T-2 and OTA were present in 26 per cent, 19 per cent and 18 per cent of samples, respectively.Ninety-four per cent of all samples contained at least one mycotoxin, and 76 per cent of all samples contained two or more mycotoxins. READ MORE
August 16, 2017, Mumbai, India  – The rapid growth of factory farming in Asia for livestock and seafood poses enormous environmental and forced labor risks, in addition to threats to public safety and health, according to a report by an investor network. Half of Asia's aquaculture production is from factory farms, said the report published this week by Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR), referring to the major, industrial operations that raise large numbers of animals for food. "Asia's meat, seafood and dairy industries face a range of badly managed sustainability risks – from emissions to epidemics, fraud to food safety, and abuse of labor," said Jeremy Coller, founder of FAIRR. "It is clear that significant environmental and social risks are building up."READ MORE
Housing and managing poultry in ways that are sensitive to the birds’ needs while respecting the sustainability of farming in the United Kingdom is the focus of Dr. Victoria Sandilands work. Sandilands is a senior behaviour and welfare scientist at the Monogastric Science Research Centre at Scotland’s Rural College. 
Half of Canadians are unsure about whether our food system is going in the right direction. It’s with this as the backdrop that the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) launched last summer. Its goal is to help Canada’s food system earn trust through research, dialogue and forums.Understanding consumer concerns and questions is the important base everyone in the food system needs to set benchmarks for success in communicating with Canadians about our food and how it’s produced.  Success will only happen if there are shifts between consumer expectations and industry practices – the two must be more closely aligned. New public trust research by CCFI aims to help bridge that gap. It shows the rising cost of food and access to healthy, affordable food as two top concerns for Canadians, above concerns for health care or the economy. But with 93 per cent of Canadians saying they know little or nothing about farming, determining fact from fiction about our food continues to be a growing issue. The study, which polled 2,510 Canadians, shows two-thirds want to know more about how their food is produced. Overall impressions of agriculture and trust in farmers and researchers are high.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria6d61e9202c However, when asked specific questions on topics like antibiotics, environmental stewardship or GMOs, the support shifts significantly from positive to close to half being unsure.   When people are unsure, it’s easiest to be against something. Advocating for scientific advancements in general requires significant planning, strategy and resources to be effective. Advocating for scientific advancements related to food requires even more effort and investment.   After studying lessons from losing social licence and public trust in other sectors like oil and gas and forestry and agri-food sectors in other countries, we clearly need to be proactive and transparent about how our food is produced in Canada. The CCFI research shows it’s an opportune time to open up more dialogue with Canadians. Let’s bridge the gap between farm gates and dinner plates!Crystal Mackay is president of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, which represents a coalition of farmers and associated food and agri-businesses proactively working together to provide credible information on food and farming. She is a dynamic presenter who has delivered hundreds of presentations to a broad range of audiences from farmers to university students to CEOs across North America. Visit www.foodintegrity.ca for more information on the organization’s work and a summary of key research findings. Look for new work on public trust in food and transparency to be released at the CCFI Public Trust Summit Sept. 18-20, 2017 in Calgary.
July 28, 2017, Qingdao, China – Experts from agricultural colleges and research institutions throughout China joined together to discuss agricultural and environmental challenges, including how to reduce waste and making farming operations more sustainable, at a recent Alltech China Research Alliance meeting, held in Qingdao.Alltech China has built long-term cooperative research relationships with 10 well-known universities, research institutes and leading feed and food enterprises.“The Alltech China Research Alliance is focused on building toward a green agriculture future in China,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president and head of Greater China for Alltech. “The roadmap to this future requires practical solutions, which will be developed through advanced scientific research and technology and the powerful partnership of these leading agricultural minds.”Defa Li, professor at China Agricultural University and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Kangsen Mai, professor at Ocean University of China and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, along with more than 30 other professors from agricultural colleges and research institutions, attended and spoke at the meeting, sharing the results of their latest research.“This meeting of the alliance explored how to reduce antibiotic residues in food, how to effectively use limited resources in the midst of population explosion, and how to reduce water and soil pollution,” said Karl Dawson, vice president and chief scientific officer at Alltech.A new mycotoxin detection methodThe Institute of Agriculture Quality Standards and Testing Technology for Agro-Products of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IQSTAP) has established a method for the simultaneous detection of 21 mycotoxins, or their metabolite residues, in the plasma of animals. These include toxins such as aflatoxin B1. This testing is expected to become the agricultural industry standard for the detection of mycotoxins in China.Recently, Alltech and IQSTAP published an article entitled "Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Simultaneous Determination of 21 Kinds of Mycotoxins or Their Metabolites in Animal Plasma." Dr. Ruiguo Wang of IQSTAP, who introduced the study, says that it established a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method that simultaneously detects animal plasma aflatoxin B1 and 21 other kinds of mycotoxins or their metabolite residue.Existing mycotoxin detection methods have very complex sample treatment operations, and high detection costs make it generally difficult to do a variety of simultaneous determinations of mycotoxins. The QuEChERS method (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, Safe) is a fast, sample pre-treatment technology developed for agricultural products. It uses the interaction between adsorbent filler and the impurities in the matrix to adsorb impurities to achieve purification.In this study, 21 samples of mycotoxins and their metabolites in animal plasma were developed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) based on the QuEChERS principle. The method is simple, rapid, low-cost and accurate. It can be used for combined mycotoxin animal exposure assessment and mycotoxin toxicokinetic study. Wang said this method has been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China for review and is expected to pass as a fungal detector by agriculture industry standards.Functional ingredients for better pork qualityAnother breakthrough came from collaboration between Alltech and Jiangnan University to improve food safety and quality. A Jiangnan University research project showed that the addition of rapeseed selenium in the diet can improve the quality of pork, increasing its water-holding capacity and tenderness. An article published based on Alltech and Jiangnan University’s study confirmed that the additions of flaxseed oil and sesame selenium to the diet can improve pork quality, reducing drip loss by 58–74 percent. The organic selenium diets increased muscular selenium content up to 54 percent. Flaxseed oil and selenium can be used to alter the fatty acid structure of pork, increase omega-3 fatty acids and reduce the proportion of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids in meat, which can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in consumers.Minerals matter: How trace minerals can impact pollutionImproper sewage treatment and greenhouse gas emissions are leading to heavy pollution of water, soil and air, and some small-scale farms have been closed because of this pollution."This will require improved feed conversion, which will reduce damage to the environment without affecting the performance of the animal," said Li.Inorganic trace minerals in feeds have contributed to this environmental pollution. Due to their low absorption rates, 80–90 percent of inorganic zinc and copper will generally be excreted by the animal, contaminating water and soil.Organic trace minerals, however, are absorbed more readily. Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology™ is a groundbreaking approach to organic trace mineral nutrition. It features products such as Bioplex®, which includes copper, iron, zinc and manganese, and Sel-Plex®, which includes selenium. Compared to conventional inorganic minerals, these formulations are better absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal and are thus able to meet the higher nutrient needs of modern livestock for rapid growth, maximum reproductive performance and animal health. Additionally, because they are absorbed more readily, less is excreted into the environment.Some Chinese feed companies are already using Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology. In addition to aiding in animal performance and health, many customers have noted it improves the smell of pig farms.
July 26, 2017. Madison, NJ - Recently, Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) hosted its High Quality Poultry Congress (HQPC) for Europe and the Middle East in Prague, Czech Republic. The main theme of this HQPC was “Broiler Production in the face of the Changing Consumer Landscape.” The Congress brought together experts from all over the world, who spoke about antibiotic free (ABF) production, nutritional health, hatchery management, animal welfare, and intestinal and respiratory disease control. Attendees also had the opportunity to hear about the role of INNOVAX-ILT and INNOVAX-ND vaccines for control of Marek’s, Newcastle disease and Infectious Laryngotracheitis, including a customer presentation about their experience with the products. “We are very proud to have had this opportunity to serve the poultry industry and support our customers as they adapt to an evolving marketplace and new consumer demands,” said William Vaughn, Global Poultry Marketing Director at Merck Animal Health. Speakers at the High Quality Poultry Congress included: Pavel Mikoska (AHOLD Central Europe) – Consumer & Retailer Perspective Jeff Courtney, DVM (Pilgrim’s Pride) –  Antibiotic Free Production: USA Industry Perspective Dr. Atle Lovland (Nortura) – Managing Production and Broiler Health in the Norwegian ABF Programme Ron Meijerhof (Poultry Performance Plus) – Managing for Chick Quality Using Management Techniques in Hatchery & Brooding Ellen van Eerden (Schothorst Feed Research) – Nutritional Perspectives for ABF Programs Daniel Dring (PD Hood Hatcheries) – Managing Antibiotic Free Production and Bird Welfare in a UK Integration Florence Humbert (FlowBio-Veto) – Food Safety Implications of ABF Richard Currie (x-OvO) – Next Generation Sequencing: Validating the Protectotype Concept Merck Animal Health also introduced at this Congress, its first High Quality Poultry Science Award. This Award was established to offer students of poultry science the opportunity to share their research with a large global audience of poultry industry specialists. The 2017 award was presented to Dr. Vishi Reddy, a post-doctoral scientist at The Pirbright Institute, who presented on “Novel Insights in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Laryngotracheitis and Bronchitis Viruses in Chickens.” On behalf of the attendants of the High Quality Poultry Congress, Merck Animal Health also made a donation to the International Egg Foundation (IEF) in support of their mission to help famers in developing countries sustainably produce eggs to give more people access to a high-quality source of protein.
November 29, 2017, Regina, Sask. - Saskatchewan has announced amendments to the province's Animal Protection Act, which the government suggests will give it more teeth.Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced the changes Monday and they include broadening the definition of animal distress and giving animal protection officers the ability to issue corrective action orders.It will also expand the locations animal protection workers can inspect to include boarding kennels and other places where services for animals are provided.Under the amendments, veterinarians must report suspected cases of animal cruelty.''It's bound to keep those who operate slaughterhouses and kennels on their toes a bit and they'll make sure they're in compliance with the Act at all times,'' Stewart told reporters at the legislature Monday.Kaley Pugh of Animal Protection Services Saskatchewan said the amendments will make it possible to investigate outside of normal hunting and trapping procedures.She said the act was very vague before, so her group is pleased with the amendments.''Animals that are kept in unsanitary conditions will now be considered distressed, animals that require protection from injurious heat or cold will be defined as distressed, so those are improvements that are significant for us,'' Pugh said.Stewart said the amendments will bring Saskatchewan's legislation in line with other jurisdictions, as well as provide clear direction for enforcement agencies.Calls for tougher regulations in the province came last year after 14 dogs died of heat stroke and dehydration when a rooftop heating unit malfunctioned at a facility in Saskatoon.The owner of the kennel, Dave Deplaedt, pleaded guilty to negligence under the Animal Protection Act and his business was fined $14,000, plus a victim surcharge of $5,600.The president of the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Lesley Sawa, said the organization was pleased to see mandatory veterinary reporting of animal neglect and abuse included in the amendments, noting the organization had requested it.''Updating the Animal Protection Act will go a long way in helping ensure the health and welfare of animals across the province,'' Sawa said in a news release.Pugh said some vets have been reluctant to report suspected abuse in the past.''They were worried about the effect on their businesses prior to this. They didn't want to get in trouble with their clients if they did have something they wanted to report,'' she said.
For most marketers and producers of goods, the Chinese market spells opportunity. After all, the world’s most populous country boasts a potential 1.4 billion customers and its middle class and consumer purchasing power are both on the rise.
November 1, 2017, Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Meat Council (CMC) released its submission to the Government of Canada pertaining to the “Consultations on Canada's discussions with the remaining members of what was previously the Trans-Pacific Partnership”.The Council’s submission called for the “earliest possible completion, ratification and implementation” of the TPP. Failure to do so, according to the Council, would result in a devastating blow to the Canadian Meat Industry, which represents a significant segment of Canada’s economy and jobs.The submission highlights the important part in which international trade represents for the Canadian livestock and meat sector. In 2016, $6.2 billion of meat products was exported to more than 100 countries around the globe. Twenty-eight per cent or $1.7 billion was exported to TPP-11 members, particularly Japan.According to the CMC, “under TPP-11, Canadian meat exports to Japan are projected to increase by $500 million.” Without the speedy implementation of the TPP, Canada risks losing a critical competitive advantage to other large exporters such as the European Union.The Canadian meat industry amid these current negotiations, is reminded of the costly decline it experienced as a result of stalled Canadian negotiations with South Korea. The CMC notes that “not only did Canadian meat exports collapse by 56 per cent after competitors gained preferential access to the Korean market, the Canadian market access disadvantage will endure during the remaining years of the 15-year implementation period of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement.The cost of Canada’s non-participation in the TPP could spell disaster for the meat industry, particularly, in the meat packing and processing sector which is typically a major or primary employer in towns and cities across Canada.The CMC affirms that abstention or indecision by Canada should not be accepted as a viable option. The Council also notes that should the ratification or implementation of the TPP by other countries be delayed, Canada should immediately re-invigorate negotiations of the Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement to counter the increasing loss of Canadian competitiveness to other countries.
Numerous major North American food makers, restaurants and retailers have formed a united front committed to sourcing only cage-free eggs by 2025. That being the case, it seems inevitable that most producers will shy away from enriched housing as the industry phases out conventional cages.
November 8, 2017, Hanoi, Vietnam – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists he will not be pressed into signing an updated Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty too hastily, even if some of Canada's partners are keen to secure a quick agreement.Trudeau made the remarks Wednesday when asked whether he would walk away from the 11-country trade pact if the revised deal failed to include several new ``progressive'' chapters Canada has been pushing for.``We believe that progressive, solid trade deals can help citizens in all sorts of different countries, at different levels of development and our ministers are very much focused on that,'' Trudeau told reporters in Hanoi, where he started his multi-day trip through Southeast Asia.``But let me, of course, remind everyone that Canada will not be rushed into a deal that is not in the best interests of Canada and of Canadians.''Trudeau then added, in French: ``I can assure people that we will not be rushed into signing a deal at all costs.''The remaining TPP economies are trying to revive the deal following President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw earlier this year.The TPP is expected to be a central theme at this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang. Trudeau will attend the APEC meetings and there has been speculation that some kind of deal could be reached by the end of the summit.International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has said Canada wants the updated TPP to contain progressive chapters on the environment as well as workers' and women's rights.But trade experts have predicted that persuading Asia-Pacific economies on progressive chapters will be a tough sell.Some of the countries at the table are far less developed than Canada and would have difficulty implementing them, while others might prefer to leave social issues separate from trade agreements.Trudeau is travelling in the Asia-Pacific over the next week to strengthen Canada's ties to the region.He arrived Wednesday in the buzzing, moped-filled city of Hanoi. It's the capital of a fast-growing country that has a deep cultural connection for many Canadians.Trudeau met Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and civil society leaders, with whom he discussed issues like human rights, gender equality and freedom of expression.On Thursday, he's scheduled to travel to Ho Chi Minh City to visit the stock exchange, hold a roundtable with business leaders and appear at a university event.He will head to Danang on Saturday for the two-day APEC leaders' summit, before moving on to the Philippines to attend the annual meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.At both the APEC and ASEAN events, Canada is expected to press its trade agenda. It's already engaged in exploratory trade talks with the ASEAN countries as well as negotiations to salvage the TPP.When it comes to the members of the TPP, much of the focus remains on Japan, the world's third-largest economy.But Vietnam is also at the TPP table and it's an ASEAN member, which sets it up as a key partner in a region where Canada wants to increase its presence.Vietnam, projected to see economic growth this year of 6.3 per cent, features a sturdy consumer base, an emerging business class and an expanding footprint in supply chains.Dominic Barton, the global managing partner of consulting giant McKinsey & Co., said in an interview that the rapid changes in Vietnam's key cities remind him, in some respects, of what Shanghai went through less than two decades ago.Barton, who also chairs the Trudeau government's economic growth council, said Vietnam is an example of why Canada must be ``motoring ahead'' into Asia, particularly with so much uncertainty around the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.``We've got to go hard on those Asian relationships,'' said Barton, who led McKinsey operations in Asia and South Korea for nearly a decade.``I think we just have to have irons in many fires.''Dan Ciuriak, a former deputy chief economist for what is now known as Global Affairs Canada, believes an updated TPP pact is closer to fruition than Canada's potential deals with ASEAN or China.``Vietnam and Japan would be the two biggies for Canada in terms of diversifying trade,'' said Ciuriak, who is now the director of Ciuriak Consulting Inc.There are other parts of the original TPP where Canada would like to see modifications.A senior government official has said Canadian negotiators are seeking changes to the original TPP in several areas, such as its intellectual-property provisions, cultural exemptions and its impact on Canada's supply management system for dairy, poultry and eggs.Former Quebec premier Jean Charest, who is honorary chair of the ASEAN-Canada Business Council, said Vietnam not only shows real economic potential, it also has strong people-to-people links with Canada.Both countries have French heritages and both are members of la Francophonie, he said in an interview.But Charest said it's the story of the Vietnamese refugees, or boat people, who came to Canada in the late 1970s that really forged the bond.By 1980, around 60,000 people from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos arrived in Canada after fleeing violence in their homelands. Today, about 240,000 people in Canada have Vietnamese roots.``Certainly, the story of the boat people in Quebec, I can tell you without hesitation that it resonates positively in the minds of Quebecers as being a good example of integration into the broader Quebec society,'' said Charest.However, when looking at today's Vietnam, Charest said the promising economy is accompanied by negatives, such as the fact ``it is a communist regime and everything that comes with it.''Canada's pursuit of a more open trading relationship with Vietnam comes with pressure to have frank discussions about the serious concerns over the communist government's human-rights record.Human Rights Watch calls the Vietnam's record ``dire in all areas'' because of the Communist party's firm grip on political power. The group also said the government has harassed, intimidated, physically harmed and jailed its opponents.Earlier this week, Conservative Sen. Thanh Hai Ngo urged Trudeau to use his time with Vietnamese leaders to raise Canada's ``serious concerns'' about Vietnam's human-rights abuses, such as its suppression of a growing democratic movement.Canada and Vietnam signed a partnership agreement Wednesday that would focus on deepening co-operation in many areas, like trade, security and cultural exchanges.Trudeau told reporters the agreement would also help advance the countries' ongoing dialogue on human rights.
November 7, 2017, Geneva, Switzerland – The World Health Organizations (WHO) is recommending that farmers and the food industry stop using antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals.The new WHO recommendations aim to help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics that are important for human medicine by reducing their unnecessary use in animals. In some countries, approximately 80% of total consumption of medically important antibiotics is in the animal sector, largely for growth promotion in healthy animals.Over-use and misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans is contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance. Some types of bacteria that cause serious infections in humans have already developed resistance to most or all of the available treatments, and there are very few promising options in the research pipeline.“A lack of effective antibiotics is as serious a security threat as a sudden and deadly disease outbreak,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said in a statement. “Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to turn back the tide of antimicrobial resistance and keep the world safe."A systematic review published recently in The Lancet Planetary Health found that interventions that restrict antibiotic use in food-producing animals reduced antibiotic-resistant bacteria in these animals by up to 39%. This research directly informed the development of WHO’s new guidelines. WHO strongly recommends an overall reduction in the use of all classes of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals, including complete restriction of these antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention without diagnosis. Healthy animals should only receive antibiotics to prevent disease if it has been diagnosed in other animals in the same flock, herd, or fish population.Where possible, sick animals should be tested to determine the most effective and prudent antibiotic to treat their specific infection. Antibiotics used in animals should be selected from those WHO has listed as being “least important” to human health, and not from those classified as “highest priority critically important”. These antibiotics are often the last line, or one of limited treatments, available to treat serious bacterial infections in humans.“Scientific evidence demonstrates that overuse of antibiotics in animals can contribute to the emergence of antibiotic resistance,” says Dr Kazuaki Miyagishima, Director of the Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses at WHO. “The volume of antibiotics used in animals is continuing to increase worldwide, driven by a growing demand for foods of animal origin, often produced through intensive animal husbandry.”Many countries have already taken action to reduce the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals. For example, since 2006, the European Union has banned the use of antibiotics for growth promotion. Consumers are also driving the demand for meat raised without routine use of antibiotics, with some major food chains adopting “antibiotic-free” policies for their meat supplies. Alternative options to using antibiotics for disease prevention in animals include improving hygiene, better use of vaccination, and changes in animal housing and husbandry practices. WHO's Guidelines on use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals build on decades of expert reports and evaluations of the role of agricultural antibiotic use in the increasing threat of antibiotic resistance. They contribute directly to the aims of the Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2015 and the Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Antimicrobial Resistance, adopted in 2016.
November 2, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – The final step in concluding a new Federal Provincial Agreement for Chicken (FPA) was taken earlier this week. On October 31st, Farm Products Council of Canada determined that Governor-in-Council approval is not required for the new FPA.This brings to close more than eight years of discussions and negotiations to arrive at a new allocation methodology that is not only supported by all federal and provincial signatories, but also delivers on the requirements of the Farm Products Agencies Act for Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) to take comparative advantage into account when allocating production growth.The new FPA provides increased certainty to all industry stakeholders. "With it, we have the tools we need to grow, develop and thrive," Benoît Fontaine, chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada, added in a press release. "This FPA marks our industry's total commitment to a dynamic and always evolving supply management system for chicken."With the new FPA in hand, today, the Canadian chicken industry welcomed back Alberta Chicken Producers into the agreement, bringing all provinces back into the system. Alberta had withdrawn from the FPA in 2013, but continued to work at CFC on the modernization of the allocation system to ensure that Canadians from coast to coast continue to enjoy a steady supply of fresh, high-quality, Canadian-grown chicken."Our focus on responding quickly to the changing demands of consumers in every province, and to meeting all our challenges, are among the many reasons we are a Canadian success story," Fontaine said. "We're excited to have all our provinces back on board.""The agreement provides strength to the Canadian chicken industry and shows that we can work together to evolve our supply management system for the benefit of all," CFC executive director Michael Laliberté added.Supply management is a uniquely Canadian response to market volatility in a perishable product market. Consumer demand is rarely static. It changes as a result of demographic shifts, immigration from countries with different food preferences, and new science related to human health and nutrition.This latest FPA is paramount to the Canadian chicken industry's continued strategic growth. The active support and participation of the federal and provincial governments enhances the nation's international trade position, backing Canada'sright to use the marketing systems of its choice.
October 20, 2017, Washington, D.C. – American policy-makers admit they have not worked to analyze the economic impact of the end of the North American Free Trade Agreement, even as President Donald Trump threatens to cancel the agreement.That absence of research applies to both elected branches of the U.S. government: neither the White House nor congressional researchers have an impact assessment, despite uncertainty over the fate of the 23-year-old pact.Frustrations at the bargaining table exploded into the open at the last round where the most common conversation topic in the hallways involved whether Trump's team was intentionally trying to sabotage a deal.A research unit for Congress, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which performs studies for lawmakers, tells The Canadian Press that it has in the past conducted analysis on international issues like the monitoring of Iran's nuclear program, but nobody has yet requested research on NAFTA.``We have not been asked to look at the (NAFTA) issue,'' said an official there.It's the same at the White House. Donald Trump's trade czar, Robert Lighthizer, says he hasn't yet done the research. Inside U.S. Trade quoted him telling a group of American reporters that his current focus is trying to get a deal, not studying life without NAFTA.The countries have pushed the negotiation schedule into next year, shelving talk of a quick easy agreement.``You always think about what might happen, but we haven't done any analysis of that at this point,'' Lighthizer told a gathering of American trade reporters earlier this week, according to Inside U.S. Trade. ``No, we don't really have a plan beyond trying to get a good agreement...``(But) if we end up not having an agreement, my guess is all three countries will do just fine.''The Canadian government says it has been researching the potential impact of various trade scenarios.Some trade-watchers say it's stunning that Washington isn't.Duncan Wood, a Mexico expert, said the U.S. is certainly acting like it wants to leave the pact, putting forward proposals the other countries could never accept. Wood said he fears the Trump administration is inching toward a pullout – without doing its homework.``That doesn't make me feel very good when I go to bed at night,'' he told panel this week at the Washington International Trade Association.``If they were taking these decisions based upon years and years of studies and saying, 'You know what, we think we'll be absolutely fine, because the stats show it,' I could say, 'Okay, fine, I get it, I may disagree, because I like Mexico, but for the United States, I get it'...``(But) that (absence of research) worries me.''He cited the poultry trade as just one example of the complex potential consequences.Producers sell different chicken parts to different markets, based on local preferences. He said Mexico's huge chicken tariffs would lead to an oversupply of dark meat on the U.S. market; a shortage in Mexico; and chicken plants moving to Mexico.But he said broken cross-border supply chains aren't what worries him most. Wood expressed fear that the current fight at the NAFTA table is a prelude to a bigger battle against the World Trade Organization and international trading system: ``These are dark days, my friends... This is near-apocalyptic what we're looking at. I don't mean to exaggerate. I'm not one for hyperbole.``I actually am terrified about what's about to happen.''The last Republican president expressed similar concerns.George W. Bush delivered a gloomy speech this week that, without mentioning Donald Trump, warned about the degradation of American democracy, mean-spiritedness, racism, conspiracy-mongering, and attacks on open commerce.``Free trade helped make America into a global economic power,'' Bush said. ``We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.''He said policy-makers should be sensitive to the painful effects globalization has had on some industries: ``People are hurting. They are angry. And, they are frustrated. We must hear them and help them. But we can't wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the agricultural revolution or the industrial revolution.''The Canadian government says it's been studying a variety of NAFTA contingency scenarios since last August.Some of that work has involved the legal and political questions surrounding a breakup. But officials say multiple departments, including Global Affairs Canada and the Department of Finance, have also been conducting economic analysis of the potential impact of a NAFTA cancellation.The former head of Foreign Affairs' computer-modelling unit, Dan Ciuriak, said he's working on a paper on different scenarios for the C.D. Howe Institute. His preliminary estimate is that the most drastic result – the end of free trade in North America – would see Canada's economy contract 2.5 per cent long-term, with a larger shock in the short term.
October 16, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – The Trudeau government took the first of several steps Monday to stanch the bleeding from a self-inflicted political wound, resurrecting a campaign promise to cut taxes for small businesses outraged by its controversial tax-reform proposals.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to gradually trim the small-business tax rate to nine per cent by 2019, down from its current level of 10.5 per cent, and also to make further changes to the plan that triggered the angry backlash from entrepreneurs in the first place.''This tax cut will support Canada's small businesses so that they can keep more of their hard-earned money, money that they can invest back into their businesses, their employees and their communities,'' Trudeau told a news conference in Stouffville, Ont.The small business tax rate will fall to 10 per cent in January 2018 and again to nine per cent in 2019.Doctors, lawyers, accountants, shop owners, farmers, premiers and even some Liberal backbenchers have denounced the tax proposals, contending they'd hurt the very middle class Trudeau claims to be trying to help.Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have said the reforms will be designed to ensure they target wealthy individuals who've used the incorporation of small businesses to gain what the government maintains is an unfair tax advantage.In hope of calming critics, Trudeau also announced Monday he will abandon at least one of the tax-reform elements: changing the lifetime capital gains rule. The adjustment is intended to avoid negative impacts on the intergenerational transfer of family businesses, like farms.On another controversial proposal, the government intends to move ahead. The change is aimed at limiting the ability of business owners to lower their personal income taxes by sprinkling their income to family members who do not contribute to their companies.Trudeau said a simplified version of the original proposal announced in July would be introduced, effective Jan. 1, 2018, but added the adjustments would be made clear as the government moves forward.He also said nothing Monday of any impending changes to what is perhaps the most-controversial aspect of his tax proposals and, potentially, the most lucrative for government coffers: limiting the use of private corporations to make passive investments unrelated to the company.The government is expected to announce more changes related to its tax proposals later this week.Morneau, who's been tasked with the difficult job of trying to sell the government's tax proposals to the public and even fellow Liberal MPs, joined Trudeau at Monday's announcement.''I spent the last few weeks travelling the country, listening to people,'' he said. ''We know that our current system just isn't fair. It rewards people who are successful more than it rewards people who are working hard to be successful.''We didn't design the system that we inherited, but we've made clear that we intend to fix it. We're going to leave a fairer system behind for the next generation.''Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on a promise to reduce the small business tax rate to nine per cent from 11 per cent over three years.But he announced in Budget 2016 he would freeze the rate at 10.5 per cent, cancelling in the process a legislated reduction to nine per cent instituted by the previous Conservative government.Faced with vocal opposition to the tax proposals, the Liberal government is now reviving the nine per cent promise.Trudeau insisted Monday the government stated it would only lower the small business tax cut after it had conducted a tax-system review, which it undertook last year.But Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accused Trudeau on Monday of only reinstating the small business tax cut as a way to manage the growing political crisis around the tax proposals.''The very first thing the prime minister did, in his first budget, was to cancel that tax cut,'' Scheer said in Ottawa. ''Today, he would have you believe that this was the plan all along. I reject that.''The small business tax rate applies to the first $500,000 of active corporate income.On Monday, the Liberal government said lowering the rate will provide entrepreneurs with up to an additional $7,500 per year. Combined, Ottawa estimates the tax reductions will reduce Ottawa's revenues by about $2.9 billion over five years.On the tax proposals, more changes are likely on the way.As originally proposed, the plan would restrict income sprinkling, in which an incorporated business owner can transfer income to a child or spouse who is taxed at a lower rate, regardless of whether they actually do any work for the company.It would also limit the use of private corporations to make passive investments that are unrelated to the company and curb the ability of business owners to convert regular income of a corporation into capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate.The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said overall the announcement was a good thing, though there are still some concerns.''What this decision will do is pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the small business community and that will help entrepreneurs create more jobs and grow the economy,'' said prairie CFIB spokeswoman Marilyn Braun-Pollon.''We are worried that the income-sprinkling changes will keep the benefits of ... ownership out of the hands of many spouses, who as we know participate in more informal ways in the business.''Braun-Pollon said they will also wait to hear more on passive income rules and the treatment of capital gains related to business succession, which is of particular interest to farmers.The Liberals' popularity has taken a hit in some opinion polls amid the backlash to the proposed reforms, first announced in mid-July.The damage control effort began Monday with the briefing for Liberal MPs, some of whom have been among the most critical of the proposals. Backbenchers emerged from the meeting saying they feel satisfied that the government has listened to their concerns, although they were not given details of the changes that are to be unveiled in a series of announcements later in the week.''I feel very, very positive. For the first time in a couple months, I've got a bit of a smile on my face,'' said New Brunswick MP Wayne Long, who was kicked off two Commons committees for voting against the government earlier this month on a Conservative motion calling for further consultations on the proposed reforms.''There wasn't a lot of specifics today, but I'm very, very confident – by certainly the tone and messaging of the minister – that a lot of these concerns ... will be addressed.''– With files from CJWW
October 17, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – The federal government is moving to pare down its controversial tax proposal on passive income so that it will only affect three per cent of small businesses.A senior government official tells The Canadian Press that Finance Minister Bill Morneau will be in New Brunswick on Wednesday to unveil changes to his passive investment proposal so that it only targets unfair tax advantages used by the wealthy.The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement, says Morneau will also share updated estimates showing there's between $200 billion and $300 billion in assets sitting in the passive investment accounts of just two per cent of all private corporations.The official says the finance minister will also point out that dollar figure is growing by $16 billion per year as wealthy incorporated individuals reap unlimited benefits from tax-advantaged savings accounts over and above RRSPs and TFSAs.The government is tweaking its original proposal after hearing concerns that cracking down on passive investments could adversely affect middle-class entrepreneurs who use their companies to save for economic downturns, sick leaves and parental leaves.The official refused to provide additional details ahead of Wednesday's announcement, part of a week-long Liberal effort to calm the anger surrounding the tax proposals, which have outraged entrepreneurs, doctors, tax professionals, farmers and Liberal backbench MPs.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began the week by announcing tax cuts for small businesses and plans to abandon part of one of the proposals to avoid negative impacts on the intergenerational transfer of family businesses, like farms.The official says the problem isn't with individuals, but the system, since it encourages wealthy Canadians to keep their personal money inside their corporations so they can receive tax advantages not available to everyone else.The changes will not be retroactive, as outlined in the original proposal, and they will not affect existing savings, nor the income from those savings, the official said.Morneau is expected to provide further details Wednesday on the changes to its passive-investment proposal, including a timeline and a plan for addressing the concerns of angel investors and venture capitalists.In announcing the proposals last summer, Morneau recommended limits on the use of private corporations to make passive investments that are unrelated to the company.However, tax experts have warned the original proposal would threaten entrepreneurship in Canada by preventing some business owners from saving for retirement, maternity leaves and economic slowdowns.
October 17, 2017 – Supply management: economists love to hate it, and Canadian farmers are loathe to give it up.The politically explosive issue emerged yet again Monday as a flashpoint in increasingly heated NAFTA renegotiation talks after the United States asked for an end to the system within the next decade.So what, exactly is supply management, and why does it stir up so much controversy?The debate has been going on since the federal government created the system in the early 1970s in response to wide swings in prices and interprovincial trade disputes as technology and other developments disrupted the agricultural markets.The complicated system sets prices and protects Canadian farmers from competition, creating stability for dairy, egg, chicken and turkey producers. But it is seen as a symbol of government overreach and distortion of the market by those opposed.Because the system blocks out foreign production from the Canadian market, it is a thorn in the side of trade negotiators as other countries look for freer access to Canada's food markets, while Canadian politicians have shied away from any drastic changes.The federal and provincial governments use a few ways to control the market.They keep out foreign competition with high tariffs on imports, which vary by product but run as high as 300 per cent for butter.To avoid oversupply, provincial boards regulate how much farmers are allowed to produce.For example, any farmer, except very small producers, that wants to produce eggs, milk, or poultry needs to secure a government ''quota,'' or production allotment. Much like the medallion system that regulates the number of taxi drivers, quotas mean a farmer has the right to produce a certain amount of the product.Any new farmer has to buy in, and the rights don't come cheap. The prices vary significantly by category and by province, some of which have capped how high the quota price can go.In 2015, the right to produce a kilogram of butterfat a day – the standard measurement for dairy quotas – sold for $42,500 in British Columbia, but for $23,000 in New Brunswick. Overall, the government says the value of all the supply management quotas issued stood at about $35 billion last year.Finally, with both foreign and domestic competition limited by the system, the government boards need to decide how much farmers will be paid for their production, since standard market forces that are supposed to set prices aren't at work.The government sets a minimum price that processors have to pay the farmers, or a ''price floor.'' Critics have argued that floor is artificially high, meaning dairy and other products cost more for Canadian consumers that they might otherwise.To help determine the price, provincial boards canvas producers to figure out the costs of production and then add a margin of profit to determine how much they're guaranteed to be paid, explained Alfons Weersink, a professor of food and agriculture economics at the University of Guelph.''The system provides a stable return, and a decent return. And that's the hallmarks of the system,'' said Weersink. ''It's not subject to volatility of other agricultural sectors, which are inherently variable; ups and downs in prices constantly.''But that artificial, government-controlled price stability goes against the basic tenants of free-market thinking, according to economists like Herbert Grubel.The senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, and professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University, says the system inflates prices, with several studies showing the average household pays hundreds of dollars more because of it, and that it would be better for the market to set prices and adjust for risks.''The free market adjusts the returns that people get from certain activities by taking account of the amount of risk they take,'' said Grubel.He believes the quota system adds significant costs to farmers (and therefore consumers) because they have to buy the right to produce, and take on significant debt to do so.The industry, however, disputes that there would be any savings from dismantling the system, and that other countries provide more indirect subsidies to their agriculture industries.The issue came up in Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, while U.S. negotiators have demanded an end to the system as part of ongoing NAFTA negotiations.Canada did make concessions in the recently enacted Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, allowing 16,000 tonnes of duty-free cheese plus another 1,700 tonnes for use in food processing, while leaving the system as a whole largely unchanged.There have been various proposals on how to dismantle the system, either by adding a surcharge to products to compensate farmers for their quota investments, or to gradually keep increasing the number of quotas allotted, but it won't be a simple affair to dismantle such an entrenched program.
October 16, 2017, Arlington, United States –  The United States has lit the fuse on one of Canada's most politically explosive trade issues, asking in NAFTA talks for an end to the supply management system for dairy, chicken, eggs and turkey within the next decade.With that demand, the U.S. has now adopted a highly aggressive posture on virtually all the key issues expected to arise in the current NAFTA talks: it has asked to erect trade barriers in its own politically sensitive sectors, while eliminating them north of the border.The latest demands come near the end of a week-long round where American negotiators dropped one bombshell demand after another, leading the other countries to question whether the U.S. goal is to actually reach a deal or to blow up NAFTA altogether.Two sources tell The Canadian Press the request came on Sunday evening, catching some on the Canadian side off-guard, since they hadn't expected the highly contentious issue to arise during the current round.One source says the supply-management request came with an initial phase-in period of five per cent more market access per year, leading to total duty-free, quota-free trade in protected supply-managed areas within 10 years.That adds dairy, poultry, and eggs to a list of irritants that includes auto parts, textiles, trade-enforcement panels, Buy American rules for public works and a proposed five-year termination clause embedded in the agreement, with the countries holding not just different positions, but sitting on opposite sides of gaping ideological differences.``Outrageous,'' said Pierre Lampron, president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, of the latest proposal.``It would be the end of supply management.... We are not surprised by the U.S. demands, they are in line with the demands they have made in other sectors.''The Canadian government, meanwhile, is calling the idea a non-starter.Canada's system of protections was born from a 1960s effort to stabilize dairy prices, and was later emulated in other industries. It works by limiting imports and setting fixed prices.The system's critics say the tightly controlled program stifles innovation, bars Canadian companies from selling onto international markets, limits choice at the grocery store and saddles Canadian consumers with higher prices.The U.S. move was praised by the Montreal Economic Institute, a free-market think tank in Montreal, which urged Canadian policy-makers to seize the opportunity to dismantle a system that it says costs Canadian families an extra $339 a year in grocery bills.``You can't on the one hand defend tariffs that sometimes reach 300 per cent for supply-managed products, then accuse the American government of being protectionist,'' said Alexandre Moreau, a policy analyst with the institute.``That being said, the Canadian government should also make sure the Americans abolish their own dairy programs, and obviously offer fair compensation to farmers for their (supply-managed) quotas.''Therein lies the challenge.Defenders of the current system say eliminating it would create new problems –  starting with the billions it would cost to buy out existing quotas. They say the status quo provides stability in rural communities, allows farms to survive without boom-bust cycles, and makes taxpayer bailouts unnecessary. The U.S., meanwhile, maintains numerous support programs to prop up its farmers, they note.No major Canadian political party has ever opposed the system.The federal Liberal government had said entering the talks it did not want to even discuss supply management, having promised to maintain the system. Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said Monday: ``I've indicated quite clearly that our government is going to fight to make sure (supply management) stays in place. To deal with anything else is simply a non-starter.''The U.S. has now tabled a series of positions far outside the realm of what Canada says it's prepared to negotiate, prompting fears that a deal may be slipping out of reach.Indeed, the prospect of a deal by year's end already seems impossible. With Mexico and the U.S. embroiled in national elections next year, the countries fear that a failure to get a deal by early next year will push the talks into 2019.U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, keeps threatening to cancel the existing agreement, to force concessions from the other countries. Mexico's finance minister, Jose Antonio Meade, blamed the uncertainty Monday for damaging his country's currency.Pro-trade U.S. senator John McCain tweeted a Wall Street Journal editorial with the headline, ``Trump's NAFTA threat: Ending the pact would be the worst economic blunder since Nixon,'' calling the editorial a ``must-read.''The head of the World Trade Organization warned against increasing uncertainty in the global trading system. The U.S. is being accused of sabotaging the dispute panels at the international body, as it's seeking to gut them within NAFTA.``I hope that (NAFTA) will not (end) because not only of the economic impact ... but also for the systemic implications,'' said WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo.``It's very important to have these initiatives because they are the groundwork, they are the foundations of the WTO itself.''The U.S. has introduced aggressive demands in virtually every major NAFTA area: Auto parts. The U.S. wants all cars to comprise 50 per cent U.S. content to avoid a tariff. The U.S. has requested this policy be phased in within one year – which automakers call impossible. Dispute-resolution. The U.S. wants to gut the enforcement systems of NAFTA, making the panels for Chapter 11, 19 and 20 disputes either non-binding, or voluntary. Buy American. The U.S. wants to severely curb other countries' access to public works contracts. Sunset clause. The U.S. has requested a termination clause that would end NAFTA after five years, unless all parties agree to extend the agreement. Dairy. The supply management request follows an earlier request for a de-facto veto over Canadian milk-classification decisions, which in the case of diafiltered cheese-making products has advantaged Canadian producers.

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