Who's Who - British Columbia – Dan Kampen

Who's Who - British Columbia – Dan Kampen

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

Who's Who: Saskatchewan  – Baildon Hutterite Colony

Who's Who: Saskatchewan – Baildon Hutterite Colony

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

Who's Who: Alberta – Tara deVries

Who's Who: Alberta – Tara deVries

Hands-on chicken farmer and dedicated transparency Ag-vocate

CPRC: Smart agriculture in the poultry industry

CPRC: Smart agriculture in the poultry industry

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

Talking emission control at EuroTier

Talking emission control at EuroTier

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

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
August 3, 2017, Brussels, Belgium – The European Union says a pesticide-contaminated egg scare in some EU countries is under control.Dozens of farms were being checked in the Netherlands, and Belgium's food safety agency was probing how the anti-tick and flea pesticide Fipronil might have entered eggs destined for supermarkets. Fipronil is banned in products for treating animals like chickens that are part of the human food chain.European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said Thursday that ''the eggs are blocked. The contaminated eggs have been traced and withdrawn from the market and the situation is under control.''Belgian food authorities say suspect eggs have been destroyed and there is no danger to public health given the small amounts of the pesticide that might have entered any eggs that reached the market.
August 3, 2017, Shoreview, Minn. - There’s nothing like a complete, balanced layer feed. But what happens after your chickens are finished pecking away at the feeder?“Few of us consider the events after we bring a bag of chicken feed home; we just know our birds like us to keep the feeder full,” says Patrick Biggs, Ph.D., a flock nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “Have you ever thought about what happens between when a hen eats at the feeder and when she lays an egg 24 to 26 hours later?”To help answer this question, Biggs recently discussed bird anatomy with two bloggers: The Chicken Chick, Kathy Shea Mormino, and The Garden Fairy, Julie Harrison. During a tour of the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Mo., he explained once a crumble or pellet is consumed by a bird, it travels through a unique pathway for digestion with each ingredient serving a specific purpose.“Chickens are excellent converters of feed, channeling those nutrients directly into their eggs,” says Biggs. “Laying hens need 38 different nutrients to stay healthy and produce eggs. Think of a complete chicken feed as a casserole - it’s a mixture of ingredients where each part adds up to a perfectly balanced whole. Each ingredient is the digested by the hen, with many of them working together for bird health and egg production.”Ready to find out where chicken feed goes once eaten? Follow the journey beyond the feeder:Eating on the goWhile chickens need to eat to stay healthy just as people do, a bird’s digestive anatomy is quite different than ours.“Chickens don’t have teeth and they are a prey animal, so they can’t waste much time chewing,” explains Biggs. “Instead, they swallow food quickly and store it away. The crop, a pouch-like organ meant solely for storage, is the first pit stop feed will encounter.”Within the crop, very little digestion occurs. Feed will combine with water and some good bacteria to soften food particles before moving through the system. The feed in the crop will be released to the rest of the digestive tract throughout the day.The chicken stomachThe next stop in the feed journey is the proventriculus, which is equivalent to the human stomach. This is where digestion really begins in the bird. Stomach acid combines with pepsin, a digestive enzyme, to start the breakdown of feed into smaller pieces.“For birds, feed doesn’t spend much time in the proventriculus,” Biggs says. “Instead, it quickly moves to the gizzard where the real fun begins. The gizzard is the engine of the digestive system - it’s a muscle meant for grinding food particles. Since chickens lack teeth, they need a different method of mechanically digesting food. Historically, this is where grit would play a big role; however, many of today’s complete layer feeds include the necessary nutrients without a need for grit.”Absorbing the magicNutrients are then absorbed through the small intestine and passed into the bloodstream. These absorbed nutrients are used for building feathers, bones, eggs and more. Many of these essential nutrients must be provided through the diet.“For example, methionine is an essential amino acid, that must be provided through the diet,” explains Biggs. “Like all amino acids, methionine comes from protein sources and is needed at the cellular level to build specific proteins used for feathering, growth, reproduction and egg production.”This is also where calcium and other minerals are absorbed into the blood stream to be stored for bone strength and shell production.Building an egg“In addition to absorbing nutrients to stay healthy, hens also channel feed nutrients directly into their eggs,” says Biggs.The yolk is formed first. The yolk color comes from fat-soluble pigments, called xanthophylls, which are found in a hen's diet. Hens may direct marigold extract from the feed to create vibrant orange yolks and omega-3 fatty acids to produce more nutritious eggs.Next, the shell is formed around the contents of the egg in the shell gland. This is where shell color is created. Most shells start white and then color is added. Breeds like Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Marans, Ameraucanas or Easter Eggers, will apply pigments to transform white eggs to brown, blue or green.No matter the shell color, calcium is essential at this stage. Calcium travels to the shell gland via the bloodstream. Hens channel calcium first into their eggs and then into their bones. If a hen doesn’t have enough calcium, she will still form the eggshell but her bone strength may suffer which could lead to osteoporosis.“There are two types of calcium chickens need: fast release and slow release,” Biggs explains. “Fast release calcium is found in most layer feeds and breaks down quickly. This quick release is important for bird health, but can leave a void after hens have eaten and are forming eggs at night.”“Slow release calcium breaks down over time so hens can channel the calcium when they need it most for shell development,” continues Biggs. 
Seventeen-year-old high school student Bertin Cyr was working at the local chicken processing plant in northern New Brunswick when opportunity came knocking.
July 11, 2017 - Significant economic losses are attributed to immunosuppression in the poultry industry worldwide.Exposure to stressors in the poultry production environment, along with infectious diseases (viral or bacterial) that impair immunity, contribute to an overall reduction in flock health, causing a decrease in productivity.Among the different viral diseases, infectious bursal disease (IBD), Marek’s and chicken infectious anemia (CIA), are the mainly recognized and implicated viruses, causing direct negative effects on the immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to other diseases and interfering with vaccinal immunity.In immunosuppressed birds, vaccine take can be decreased or post-vaccine reactions can be excessive, allowing secondary bacterial infections, like E. coli, to enter and manifest, thus requiring antibiotic treatment.It is therefore imperative, to reduce immunosuppression to enhance the immune system, and to establish barriers to the most common routes of infection by avian pathogens. And this can only be done by building a good and solid immune foundation.How to establish a good foundation? A solid immune foundation not only enhances the immune system, but also prevents entry of other pathogens by establishing barriers. This can be done by passively protecting the progeny through breeder vaccination programs and by protecting growing chickens against immunosuppressive diseases, and their economic consequences.Many of the vaccinations performed in the field are being moved to the hatchery, which can be done either in ovo, as early as 18 days of embryonation, and at day-old of newly hatched birds. READ MORE
July 7, 2017, Langley, B.C. – Approximately 2,000 wildfires occur each year in British Columbia. The effect of wildfires on the province’s agriculture community can be devastating and costly.More than half of the wildfires in 2016 were caused by humans.With the wildfire season upon on us in B.C., there are measures that ranchers, farmers, growers, and others who make their living in agriculture can do to protect their workers and their property. Addressing potential fire hazards will significantly reduce the chances of a large-scale fire affecting your operation.Controlling the environment is important. Clear vegetation and wood debris to at least 10 metres from fences and structures; collect and remove generated wastes whether it is solid, semi-solid, or liquid; and reduce the timber fuel load elsewhere on your property and Crown or lease land to help mitigate the risk.In the case that you have to address fire on your property, have a well-rehearsed Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place. The ERP should also include an Evacuation Plan for workers and livestock.“Having a map of your property, including Crown and lease lands, and a list of all of your workers and their locations is extremely helpful for evacuation and useful for first responders,” says Wendy Bennett, Executive Director of AgSafe. A list of materials and a safety data sheet of all liquid and spray chemicals and their locations should also be made available to attending firefighters.Bennett suggests checking the Government of BC Wildfire Status website regularly to report or monitor the status of fires in your area.For over twenty years AgSafe has been the expert on safety in the workplace for British Columbia’s agriculture industry and is committed to reducing the number of agriculture-related workplace deaths and injuries by offering health and safety programs, training, evaluation and consultation services.For more information about agriculture workplace safety or AgSafe services call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca
July 4, 2017, Athens, GA - Avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is a highly contagious coronavirus found in chickens worldwide that costs the U.S. poultry industry millions of dollars annually. Although it’s largely a respiratory disease, some strains of the virus can also cause kidney lesions resulting in nephritis, and in hens, the virus can replicate in the reproductive tract causing egg quality and production losses.IBV exists in the field as many different types, defined as serotypes or genetic types. In addition, the term “variant” is often used to describe a newly identified but not yet characterized type of the virus.Currently, the best strategy for managing the disease is the use of modified live IBV vaccines. However, because different serotypes or genetic types of IBV don’t cross-protect, the disease is very difficult to control. Selection of appropriate vaccines requires knowledge about the virus type that’s causing disease in the field. READ MORE
June 26, 2017, Ontario - Infectious bronchitis infections continued to increase this year in the Ontario broiler, broiler breeder and layer sectors. Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) can be spread by aerosol, ingestion of contaminated feed and water, and contact with contaminated equipment or clothing. The IB virus is not transmitted directly from the hen to the embryo in the egg. Variant virus strains, very different to the commercial vaccine virus strains, continue to be isolated. Clinical signs can include: increased mortality with or without respiratory signs, stall in growth rate, decrease in egg production in laying birds, and increased condemnations. The virus is fragile, easy to kill if exposed to warmer temperatures or disinfectants, but it will survive longer if protected in organic material. Properly implemented biosecurity is the poultry producer’s first line of defence against IBV. Your farm biosecurity protocols should be well thought out, stringently implemented and continuously followed. The following is a list of suggested biosecurity measures for Ontario poultry farms: Each farmer, employee and every person entering any poultry barn must put on clean footwear, protective clothing and follow all biosecurity protocols. Minimize visits to other poultry production sites and avoid any commingling of birds. Avoid exchanging equipment with other poultry production sites. Ensure all vehicles/farm equipment that access the barn vicinity are clean and that the laneway is restricted/secured. If possible, have a pressure washer or a hose available to wash tires and equipment, and make this available to all service vehicles and visitors. If possible, “heat treat” the barn/litter after cleanout and introduction of new bedding, and in advance of bird placement (to 32˚C or 90° F for a minimum of 2-3 days). Note the floor under the bedding must reach 32° C for this technique to be effective. The temperature should be measured with an appropriate thermometer (consider an infrared thermometer) at multiple locations along the inside perimeter of the barn at least three times a day. Although commercial IBV vaccines are not directly protective against variant strains, they may provide some local immunity; therefore, it is recommended to use a robust vaccination program in accordance with your veterinarian’s recommendations. Industry is investigating regulatory requirements to import vaccine to protect against the new strain that has been isolated. Should you suspect any health concerns in your flock, talk to your veterinarian to determine best health management measures. Additional information on IBV is available at: http://oahn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Dec-2016-OAHN-special-report-on-IBV-FINAL.pdf http://oahn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/OAHN-Producer-Report-Q1-2017-FINAL.pdf
June 8, 2017, Quebec, QB - Extensive planning was required when poultry companies like Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson Foods announced they were going antibiotic free in their operations.“Removing antibiotics completely is still a challenge,” said Shivaram Rao of Pilgrims Pride.It is essential to have treatment options available when early signs of increased deaths are observed, he said at the animal nutrition conference of Canada held in Quebec City May 10 to 11.In 2013, less than five percent of chicken produced in the United States was antibiotic free but by 2018 about 55 percent is expected to be raised that way, said Rao.Many companies remove antibiotics from chickens at 35 days of age and have adopted new health practices that start at the hatchery. READ MORE
April 25, 2017, Columbus, OH - Keel bone health is increasingly seen as an animal welfare metric in alternative housing systems. A new research study shows the majority of keel bone damage originates from collisions with perches inside the layer house.Dr. Maja Makagon, assistant professor of applied animal behavior at University of California, Davis’ Department of Animal Science, discussed the results of a study conducted to analyze keel bone damage in a layer environment. Makagon, who spoke on April 19 as part of the Egg Industry Center Egg Industry Issues Forum in Columbus, Ohio, said the study utilized accelerometers and 3D imaging technology to study the force of the collisions and measure their effects on the keel bone.The keel is an extension of the sternum that provides an anchor for the bird’s wing muscles and provides leverage for flight. As laying hens are being removed from a conventional cage environment, Makagon said, keel integrity is increasingly seen as an indicator of animal welfare. Damaged keels are associated with increased mortality, reduced egg production and egg quality, and keel damage is likely associated with pain for the animal. READ MORE
April 17, 2017, Dufferin County, Ont. – On behalf of the four feather boards, the Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC) is issuing an Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) Disease advisory to all poultry industry service providers operating in a 10-km zone in Dufferin County southwest of Shelburne. FBCC has been alerted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) that birds from a small backyard “dual purpose” chicken flock in Dufferin County have tested positive for Infectious Laryngotracheitis. The lab submission came through the Small Flock Surveillance Project administered by OMAFRA and the University of Guelph. OMAFRA staff are providing advice to the small flock owner and his veterinarian to ensure proper biosecurity and disease control measures are implemented. This advisory status is anticipated to last until late May. READ MORE
Increased pressure on the poultry industry to produce antibiotic-free chickens remains a challenge, as rearing birds without antibiotics results in an increased risk of pathogen contamination. The Canadian poultry industry is faced with an increased risk in the development of necrotic enteritis, known to be caused by Clostridium perfringens bacterium.  
August 30, 2017, Abbotsford, B.C. - Nestled in the red Farm Country livestock barns is a display set up by B.C. Eggs, the provincial egg-marketing board, of a new cage system for non-free-range or organic birds.Within the next two decades every caged chicken on a B.C. farm will be re-housed. Just over five per cent of chickens in B.C. are already in the new cages, while 23 per cent of B.C. chickens already live cage-free, in free-run or certified-organic conditions. The board says B.C. has the highest percentage of cage-free hens in all of Canada. READ MORE 
August 29, 2017, U.S. - Chlorinated chicken– or chlorine-washed chicken – simply means that chicken was rinsed with chlorinated water; chlorine is not present in the meat. Just as chlorine helps make drinking water safe, it can help remove potentially harmful bacteria from raw chicken.Numerous studies and research have confirmed that the use of chlorinated water to chill and clean chicken is safe and effective. Chlorine-washed chicken does not pose any human health concerns and it is not present in the final product.Hypochlorus (i.e. chlorine) is a common disinfectant used in water treatment and food processing worldwide. Although it is proven safe, a lot of U.S. plants have moved away from chlorinated water in their chilling systems and rinses, opting for alternatives.The National Chicken Council would estimate that chlorine is used in chilling systems and rinses in about 20-25 per cent of processing plants in the U.S., as a lot of U.S. plants have moved away from its use. Most of the chlorine that is used in the industry is used for cleaning and sanitizing processing equipment.All chicken produced in the U.S. is closely monitored and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). READ MORE
August 28, 2017 - Cage-free egg farming experts suggest ways to avoid negative behaviors that reduce bird health and productivity.With more egg producers switching to cage-free production, farmers now need to understand and manage the dynamics of hen socialization and behavior in order to consistently achieve the healthiest and most productive flocks.Keeping birds in cages limited activity and allowed the establishment of a social hierarchy inside the cage. Now, birds are free to interact with a larger group and are exposed to a wider range of conditions, which can cause antisocial behavior and lead to lower productivity. Bird experts say the transition requires farmers to spend more time observing the flock’s behavior, understand what conditions are causing negative behaviors, and make the necessary adjustments to the environment.Egg farmers are faced with three key behavior challenges: hens laying eggs outside of the nest, hens piling in one area or smothering one another, and generally aggressive behavior.These negative behaviors often don’t manifest, or can’t be observed and understood, when walking the house during routine management. Farmers need to sit and watch for a few minutes to see how the birds behave and interact on their own. That way, farmers can better understand the specific challenges, what in the environment may be causing them, and how they can change the conditions to control them. READ MORE
August 23, 2017, Grand Island, Neb. – Gov. Pete Ricketts was on hand Tuesday to help celebrate the opening of Hendrix Genetics’ new hatchery in Grand Island. The $18.5 million facility covers 20 acres in the northeast section of Grand Island’s Platte Valley Industrial Park. The company chose the site for its prime location, which will allow a chick to be delivered anywhere in the U.S. within 24 hours of hatching.“It is a fantastic state-of-the-art facility for this hatchery,” said Ricketts, who toured the facility with Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach. “This is a showcase for the company” added Antoon van den Berg, chief executive officer of Hendrix Genetics.Jamesway, a Canadian company based in Cambridge, Ont., attended the grand opening as supplier of the incubation, hatching and ventilation. The 24 million layer chick hatchery uses Jamesway Platinum 2.0 Single-Stage incubators and hatchers. The Platinum 2.0, with its removable ECU, allows the entire machine to be fully disinfected in minutes, making it the most biosecure machine on the market. Jamesway also supplied the HVAC systems.  The facility is installing 30 P120 incubators and 18 P40 hatchers.
August 14, 2017, Burlington, Ont. – The Ontario chicken industry is vibrant, robust and continues to experience significant growth. The industry has a responsibility to ensure that chicken is being responsibly raised, transported and processed – and that it has the proper practices in place to guarantee continued consumer confidence and trust in chicken.The industry is embarking on some of the largest transformational shifts in its history. Ontario’s recent shift towards modular loading enables safe handling and transportation of birds and has many animal welfare, worker safety, and operational efficiency benefits.On July 12, 2017, Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) enacted a new Modular Loading Regulation that was designed in consultation with industry, and is intended to support this transformational shift. Over the past few weeks, the CFO Board of Directors, District Committee Representatives and CFO staff have been educating farmer-members and industry stakeholders through a series of meetings that took place across the province. The meetings were held to ensure that the farmer-member and processor communities have a comprehensive understanding of the new Regulation.The information that was communicated at these meetings is now available on ontariochicken.ca and farmer-members are encouraged to visit the following sections of the website to learn more about the new Regulation and this transformational shift.CLICK HERE to access the presentations from the 2017 Summer Farmer-Member Regional Meetings (which includes detailed information on the Regulation and Cost Recovery Mechanism)CLICK HERE to access the Modular Loading RegulationCLICK HERE to visit the Modular Loading section of ontariochicken.ca, which includes information on barn requirements for farmer-members and access to over 25 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)CLICK HERE to learn more about the Modular Loading Cost Recovery MechanismCLICK HERE to read the Ontario chicken farms to be ‘Modular Loading Ready’ by 2024 news storyCLICK HERE to watch the 2017 Summer Regional Meeting video on CFO’s You Tube Channel
August 17, 2017, Guelph Ont. – Catching crews on poultry farms have made do for years when they needed an extra step loading full crates from the barn onto transport trucks. Using the tools at hand, they improvised and turned empty crates on end to get where they needed to be.But there are two big problems with this practice – the obvious health and safety risks of standing on a slippery, uneven surface, and the damage done to the crate when used as a makeshift step.The Poultry Service Association – that represents the vast majority of poultry-catching and live-haul poultry business in Ontario – set out to design, build and test a better way.With no commercially made loading steps available, the association engineered, fabricated and tested a lightweight, portable and safe poultry-loading step for the Ontario industry.Developing a new, safe, loading step was approached as a sector initiative involving the main commercial poultry-catching companies in Ontario. This collaboration made it a much more economical and unified way to arrive at a solution that all companies could access.Driving the need for a new safe step was two-fold – reducing slips and falls by crew, and reducing damage done to crates. It’s tough to calculate improved health and safety in dollars and cents. The savings in reduced crate damage is easier to estimate.At $85 per crate, and an estimated 30 per cent discard rate of damaged crates, the annual savings to the industry with the new safe step is estimated at more than $2.5 million.The new safe portable step is now in use by 85 per cent of commercial poultry-catchers in Ontario, and the industry is noticing the difference. Trucking companies have seen a reduction in crate damage and appreciate the safety aspect of the new loading platforms.This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
August 14, 2017, U.S. - The company has implemented the U.S. meat industry’s most extensive third-party remote video auditing (RVA) system, is fielding what is believed to be the world’s largest team of animal well-being specialists and is introducing a pilot project for controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) at two of its poultry facilities this year. “Ensuring the well-being of the animals in our care is a core part of our broader sustainability journey and these initiatives are the latest examples of our leadership in this important area,” said Justin Whitmore, chief sustainability officer for Tyson Foods. “We’re also piloting other potential innovations as we become the world’s most sustainable producer of protein.” “Animal welfare is part science, part compassion, and it requires management commitment to learning, training and constant monitoring,” said Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and a member of Tyson Foods’ Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel. To help monitor live bird handling, the company has rolled out the industry’s largest third-party RVA program in the U.S., covering 33 poultry plants. The company is using Arrowsight, a leading provider of remote video auditing technology and data analytics services, which has extensive animal welfare monitoring experience. Video from cameras in Tyson Foods’ chicken plants is analyzed by trained off-site auditors and data feedback is provided daily, weekly and monthly to plant management to deliver excellence in animal welfare practices. Tyson Foods also is launching an innovative RVA pilot project to assess on-farm catching of birds for transport to processing facilities. Video will be audited and analyzed by Arrowsight for adherence to humane treatment of animals, allowing immediate follow-up if any concerns are identified. In addition to video monitoring, Tyson Foods is also the first in the industry to employ animal well-being specialists across all its beef, pork and poultry operations. The company has trained and deployed nearly 60 dedicated fulltime animal well-being specialists. This includes at least one at every processing facility that handles live animals, to work collaboratively with our Office of Animal Well-Being and our plants to ensure best-in-class training and 2 practices. Half of the specialists are also involved in supporting animal well-being on the poultry farms that supply the company. The specialists have experience in either processing plant or live chicken operations and will have continual training. They have participated in animal welfare webinars and a week-long summit. They are also taking a certification course through the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). Tyson Foods also will launch two pilot projects within the next year to test a process called controlled atmosphere stunning. Support of the use of gas as a more humane way to render the bird unconscious before processing has increased over the past several years among scientists, veterinarians and animal welfare advocates, since it eliminates the handling of conscious birds. The company will evaluate the results of the pilot program to determine if CAS is a reasonable alternative to the existing method before it makes decisions about deploying it at other facilities. Tyson Foods is also piloting research into chicken house lighting and enrichments for the birds (e.g. perches). In addition, the company continues to work with its poultry breeding suppliers on the important relationship between breeding and bird health. It has also conducted work on enhanced poultry nutrition and ventilation.
One of the things I’ve been most impressed by during my first few months with Canadian Poultry is how invested the industry is in animal welfare. Researchers pour countless dollars and resources into ensuring birds are treated as humanely as possible.Farms, the vast majority of which are family owned, adhere to rigorously developed welfare standards. And producers often pack educational events to learn how to better care for their livestock. “The true welfare advocates are the farmers,” one egg producer told me.It’s understandable, then, that many producers are fed up with being unfairly demonized by activists whose main agenda is to eliminate animal agriculture altogether. It’s particularly irksome when  they use misleading footage.Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) called out one such case of deception this spring. After careful analysis, CFC concluded that one activist organization was using footage from a U.S.-based propaganda video to misrepresent Canadian farming practices.“Canada’s chicken farmers are appalled by the inaccurate and irresponsible portrayal of Canadian chicken production that is being used to target retail and foodservice companies,” CFC said in a press release. It then detailed factors that set Canadian chicken producers apart. Namely, that farms must adhere to a third-party audited Animal Care Program.The messaging is part of a broader communications effort the organization recently launched. “It’s a new approach for us where we’re facing accusations directly to ensure people know the truth,” says Lisa Bishop-Spencer, CFC’s manager of communications.By educating partners and the public about its Animal Care Program, the organization wants to avoid unnecessary regulatory duplication. “We started working with our partners to make it clear – you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to animal care,” Bishop-Spencer says.As part of that effort, CFC also created a brochure that discusses “replacing gossip with facts.”What’s more, CFC hosted a Facebook live video from a farm where a producer defended Canadian farmers and talked about the Animal Care Program. The video received over 100,000 views. In addition, CFC recently launched letstalkchicken.ca, a website that educates the public on how birds are raised.The organization now wants producers to get involved. “It’s important farmers and families play a role in promoting their own practices,” Bishop-Spencer says.Consider Tara deVries, for example. The Alberta-based chicken producer is a transparency advocate, regularly hosting barn tours and teaching youth at agriculture events. We’re exciting to share her inspiring journey (see page 30) and that of several other producers in this our annual Who’s Who issue!A few bad actorsWhile it’s important to confront unjustified complaints, it’s also necessary to speak out firmly when there’s evidence of wrongdoing. That’s what CFC did when a disturbing video surfaced in June allegedly showing members of a contract chicken-catching crew abusing birds inside a B.C. broiler barn.The secretly recorded video, which made national headlines, led Elite Farm Services to fire five employees. A barn supervisor was let go as well. “We are strongly supporting the BC SCPA in their efforts to bring justice and pursue the people who’ve allegedly committed these acts,” Bishop-Spencer says. “It’s not just about standing up to activists; it’s also about doing the right thing and taking a leadership role for the birds in our care.”
In the U.K., free range eggs have outsold those laid by caged hens for the first time.Major supermarkets are committed to ending sales of caged eggs – and official figures show consumers are backing the move.From October last year to June 35 million more free range eggs were produced by UK farmers than eggs from caged and barn-raised hens.READ MORE
August 2, 2017, Lucknow, Ont. - The optimally balanced feed and current environment are often not sufficient to satisfy the animals' need for activities during forage and feed intake. This leads to restlessness in the barn and misguided pecking activities. Restlessness, plumage damage and injuries or even cannibalism are commonly the result. "Manipulability materials" are intended to give the animals the opportunity to live out their natural behavior. Such activity materials have an effect when the treatment of the beaks is given up.PECKStones provide laying hens, turkeys and broilers from the first day of life, the possibility and the incentive to deal with the material. They work on it by picking and wearing out the beak tip in a natural way. When using PECKStones, stress-triggering interactions between the animals can be avoided and the risk of feather pecking can be minimized. In addition, the animals have the possibility to add to their diet, magnesium and sodium according to their individual requirements. As these elements play a role in nerve activity, this can help to calm the animals. PECKStones are also an added, individually accessible source of calcium. This is particularly important in the evening hours when filling the calcium storages for egg formation at night.Application: Chicks and broilers from the first day of life – place the stones directly on the ground Pullets and young turkeys, laying hens – place the stones on the inverted bowl Larger turkeys depending on the age – place the stones at the activity level by means of the hanging element (can be supplied) For 500 to 800 animals, at least one PECKStone should be provided PECKStones can also be stored, they have a long shelf life when kept in a dry and rodent-free storage Key points:PECKStones... Reduce stress-triggering interactions between the animals Secure active preoccupation by consuming the material Prevent behavior deviations Promote activity and agility Satisfy the animals' need for individual intake of minerals Contribute to calcium supply for a strong egg shell Support natural beak wear The stones are manufactured in Germany by VILOFOSS. 
July 31, 2017 - Canadian egg production has risen 4.4 per cent in the past year, according to data released by Statistics Canada.Canadian egg producers generated 64.5 million dozen eggs from May 2016 to May this year, said StatsCan.Placement of hatchery chicks on farms rose four percent to 65.5 million birds from June 2016 to June 2017 and stocks of frozen poultry in storage decreased 9.3 per cent to 86,453 tonnes, from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017.Manitoba produced 6.196 million dozen eggs in the May-to-May period, valued at C$10.641 million, compared to 3.084 million dozen (C$5.559 million) for Saskatchewan and Alberta produced 5.668 million dozen valued at C$10.574 million.
July 26, 2017, McKinney, TX - Global Re-Fuel is an energy technology company that is poised to make a significant impact on poultry farming. Its PLF-500 biomass furnace offers a pioneering farm technology that addresses financial, health and environmental issues facing the agriculture industry.Global Re-Fuel’s warm-air biomass furnace – now in use on a farm in Texas – converts raw poultry litter into energy, providing heat to broiler houses while creating a pathogen-free organic fertilizer.“A ton of litter has the equivalent energy content of 67 gallons of propane. Extracting that heat and using the ash as fertilizer is a really good situation, which not only helps farmers, but is also beneficial to the environment,” says Glenn Rodes, a farmer who has used the technology on his Virginia poultry farm.As the number of poultry operations in the U.S. increases, so do the attendant problems. Today, there are more than 110,000 broiler houses in the country, with that number expected to exceed 131,000 by 2024, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growth projections of the industry. More than 32 billion pounds of poultry litter were generated in 2015. That number is expected to grow to more than 37 billion pounds per year by 2024, which will exacerbate the soil nutrient overload that contributes to runoff pollution into US waterways.In addition, poultry farms require a great deal of propane to heat broiler houses, with the average broiler house using about 6,000 gallons of propane each year. In 2015, more than 8.5 million tons of CO2 were emitted from burning propane to heat broiler houses, and that number is projected to grow to almost 10 million tons by 2024, according to the USDA. Global Re-Fuel’s technology eliminates nearly 100 percent of propane usage, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 70,000 lbs/yr/house.“The Global Re-Fuel PLF-500 increases farmers’ operating margins, decreases pollution, eliminates propane usage – which reduces CO2 emissions – and improves poultry living conditions,” says Rocky Irvin, a founding member of Global Re-Fuel and a poultry grower for more than 10 years. “It’s good for the family farm and the environment.”
August 28, 2017 - Join egg farmers and champions from across Canada to celebrate fresh, local Canadian eggs and the benefits the system of supply management delivers to Canadians and farmers alike. Across the country, these champions are already sharing our industry’s story across their networks. Join the celebration by adding your support for Canada’s egg farmers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #EhInEggs.
For as long as he can remember, Dan Kampen has been in poultry barns. “My mom introduced me to the barns before I was two years old,” the Abbotsford, B.C. turkey and egg farmer recalls.After going to university to take teacher training and spending a year in Japan, Kampen returned to the family farm, taking over management of the egg farm with his brother in 1996. “My dad believed in education,” he says. “He even offered me flying lessons.”Rough startIn 2000, Kampen bought his dad’s turkey farm. Four years later, he bought his present farm with the intent of moving both the turkey and egg production to the new location. It was not exactly the start he had imagined. “Four months later, I had a newborn child and Avian Influenza (AI) hit the Fraser Valley,” the producer says.Although his flocks were not infected, he was in an AI hot zone and among the first wave of farms to be depopulated. Eventually, all commercial poultry farms in the Fraser Valley were depopulated, destroying about 18 million birds in the highest-density poultry production region in Canada. “I had a year of downtime,” Kampen states. AI has hit the Fraser Valley several times since but Kampen has not had to endure any further depopulations.When he purchased his farm in 2004, he joined the Fraser Valley Egg Producers Association (FVEPA) and the BC Egg Producers Association boards, serving as FVEPA president for over eight years until stepping down in 2016. It was also when he started growing specialty turkeys for J.D. Specialty Poultry.Specialty turkeys“(J.D. owner) Jack (Froese) had talked to me about growing specialty birds for him when I bought my dad’s turkey farm in 2000, but I wasn’t ready and he found another grower. When I bought my new farm in 2004, he talked to me again and I agreed.”Kampen now grows about 8,000 birds per year for J.D. Although not organic, they are raised without antibiotics and fed an all-vegetable diet. “The flocks are grown for the four main holidays: Easter, the Canadian and American Thanksgivings and Christmas.”In 2009, he built a new 190-by-48-foot turkey barn. The facility is big enough to grow his quota in two flocks – one for Easter and the other in the fall. “I think RWA (raised without antibiotics) works because I have so much downtime between flocks,” Kampen states, adding the key to such production is to maintain good water and litter quality.With that in mind, he reduces the pH in his water to reduce challenges, adds Gallinet+ (an organic acid) to the feed and often top-dresses the litter to keep it dry.Between flocks, the barn gets a full floor wash. When Kampen built the barn, he put a three-inch drop on the floor to the side doors so the rinse water automatically flows to the side. “I am so happy I did that because it reduces the work,” he says.If turkey quota increases in future, Kampen hopes to grow a third flock in the summer rather than build a brand new barn.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria314621aa81 High tech conventionUnlike the turkeys, his egg farm is a conventional caged layer operation. When he built a new egg barn in 2009, it was 15 per cent larger than he needed. However, with all the quota increases egg producers have since received, he has already expanded it to accommodate about 25,000 layers.The new layer barn has tunnel ventilation, which Kampen says has made a huge difference. “On hot July days, birds were panting in the old barn but I’ve never seen an open mouth in this barn.”It is also fully metered, with real-time data available on his smartphone. “I was at a meeting in Calgary and noticed lower feed consumption so I asked my worker to check the feed bin. It was plugged. Having that information available makes leaving the farm less stressful.”He has not decided how and when, or even if, he will transition out of conventional cages but notes he did build an “adaptable” barn. “It was designed so the beams can be removed to create a floor system. It can also be divided into four zones so I can have an aviary in one or more zones.”Supply management praiseKampen is a fierce proponent of supply management, saying the future is bright for the Canadian poultry industry if the system is continued and producers can convince consumers of its benefits. He feels that is easier than many believe. “I was involved in a focus group with adult consumers a few months ago. They liked the camaraderie between growers and that we don’t have to compete with each other. They didn’t fully understand supply management but grasped that with it I wouldn’t be forced out of business by a bigger farm.”He believes one way to sell supply management is to compare it to fair trade in coffee. “People understand the concept of fair trade and if we can associate that with supply management they will support us.”
August 23, 2017, Ottawa, Ont.  – Chicken Farmers of Canada has announced that Michael Laliberté has been selected as the incoming Executive Director, replacing Mike Dungate, who has held the role for over 20 years. Laliberté will assume the position on October 2nd with outgoing Dungate remaining in an advisory capacity until the end of 2017. With 26 years’ experience at Chicken Farmers of Canada, most recently as Director of Operations, Laliberté brings a wealth of corporate knowledge and experience. In this most recent role, he has managed the Finance Unit, the Human Resources and Administration Unit, and the information systems within the Market Information and Systems Unit. He has been serving as the second in command to the Executive Director and has provided leadership and strategy on the financial affairs to support the Executive Management Team, the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors. A graduate of the Queen’s University Executive Management Program, who also holds a Management certificate from the Sprott School of Business, Laliberté will be the chief staff person reporting to the Board of Directors, and serve the same role with the Executive Committee and the Governance Committee. In addition, he will oversee a 25-member staff complement that promotes the consumption of chicken, develops and audits on-farm food safety, animal care and specialty production programs on 2,800 farms across Canada, and has an active government and public relations program. “The Board of Directors undertook a robust, external recruitment process to find the right candidate,” chair Benoît Fontaine explained in a press release. “We are pleased that Michael Laliberté will be bringing his vast experience to the role and we look forward to working with him.”
Dr. Gregoy Bédécarrats, professor at the University of Guelph, Canada is the 2017 Novus Outstanding Teaching Award recipient. A successful academic career, innovative research and his dedication to encouraging the next generation of poultry scientists make Novus proud to honor Bédécarrats.Part of Novus’s goal to help cultivate sustainable animal agriculture is the encouragement of young people to succeed in the industry. Each year, Novus honors those who exhibit excellence in research, teaching and their contributions to poultry science at the Poultry Science Association annual meeting.“Receiving the Novus Teaching award at this year’s PSA meeting is a true honor. From being a student myself to my academic appointment, I had the opportunity to meet exceptional people who helped carve my teaching style, serve as mentors and be inspirational,” said Bédécarrats.He got his start in poultry science as a master’s student at the University of Rennes, France where he studied the effect of prolactin on incubation behavior in turkey hens. He continued his studies in poultry science pursuing his doctorate at McGill University. After three years of a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Medical School, Bédécarrats joined the department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph. He points to a great support system and industry partnership when reflecting on his success.“In particular, this achievement would not have been possible without the help of late Professor John Walton (University of Guelph) who made me understand the value of engagement in undergraduate teaching, and Dr. Donald McQueen Shaver who helped me connect the dots between research, education and the poultry industry. Constant engagement and exchange between these three pillars is key to success and, thanks to the support of Novus International, this is a reality for many students and industry partners,” said Bédécarrats.In addition to his research pursuits, Bédécarrats is also actively involved in undergraduate teaching and curriculum development, review and improvement. Bédécarrats works with both graduate and undergraduate students and does his best to support their interests and future endeavors. Bédécarrats encourages students, at any level, to attend at least one international science meeting per year, present their work often and get published as much as possible. “Dr. B is the best professor ever. He explains content clearly and with a sense of humor that actually helps a lot of us understand the complicated concepts and makes sure you know what’s important for your future work,” one student posted online. Most of Bédécarrats’ students have moved on to higher education and many have advanced into significant positions in the livestock industry. Bédécarrats is also the co-creator of the University of Guelph Poultry Club, which is an organization developed to expose students to the poultry studies and promote interactions within the industry.Bédécarrats is also passionate about improving reproductive efficiency in poultry and finding a better balance between production parameters, health, animal welfare and the environment. One of Dr. Bédécarrats’ biggest accomplishments has been the development of an innovative LED, known as AgriLux™, based on the discovery that different lighting sources had different effects on laying hens and that chickens find the red spectrum more favorable. This product intends to increase egg production in hens using the light without increasing their feed consumption, as a helpful tool for producers.Bédécarrats has proven to be an innovator in research and teaching and will continue to push himself and his students to make advancements in the field.“Above all, my utmost gratitude goes to my wife and children who have sacrificed countless hours of family time while I pursue my dream and goals,” said Bédécarrats.
As we say goodbye to 2017 this December, Baildon Hutterite Colony in Saskatchewan will begin shipping out the first organic eggs produced in the province. It will be an achievement that is the culmination of much research, discussion and planning.Baildon Colony was established in 1967 and is located just south of Moose Jaw, Sask. Colony members currently farm about 19,000 acres in a continuous rotation of wheat, barley, canola, lentils, chickpeas, peas and soybeans. “Our land is a little bit rolling, but some of it is very flat as we are near the Regina Plains,” notes layer manager Paul Wipf. “Some of our cereal crops are used for our livestock, as we have a large hog operation, dairy, layers and also some turkeys.” Feed-grade grain goes for that purpose, with additional feed grain purchased as needed, and higher quality grain is sold.Free-run transitionWhen the colony started in 1967, members built a barn for 7,000 layers and maintained that number of hens until 1983, when another Hutterite colony was established in the province. At that point, colony members bought a 20,000-layer farm and split the quota in half so, in total, each colony had about 12,000 birds.“All the hens were housed in conventional cages at the time as this was the going trend,” Wipf explains. “However, in 2009 we decided we needed to build a new pullet barn as our existing one was not big enough to produce all the pullets for our layer operation, and we decided to completely rebuild the layer barns too. The question was what kind of a layer barn do we build, as the growing concern was about whether conventional cages will be good enough in the future.”To answer this question, Wipf approached Star Egg in Saskatoon to see if they were in need of free-run eggs to fill provincial demand. The company told him there was only one small free-run producer and that, yes, free-run eggs were sometimes in short supply. After a lengthy discussion, all the colony members agreed to pursue the challenge. They also decided that they would convert the old layer barn to a free-run pullet barn, and selected Hellman Poultry for the equipment needed for this and the new layer barn.Then, in 2016, Star Egg approached Baildon to ask if the colony would be interested in turning half their free-run barn into organic production. There was no commercial organic egg producer in the province and demand was growing.“Again, after a lengthy discussion, we decided rather than convert half our barn that we would build a completely different barn, as we had some layer quota that we were having to lease out anyway,” Wipf recalls. “This January we started talking with Pro-Cert, an organic certification company out of Saskatoon, to find out what was involved to produce organic eggs and built the organic barn accordingly.”The colony again went with Hellman, and decided to situate the new organic barn close to the free-run barn. He notes that a lot of the construction of the new organic barn is made out of stainless steel, which he considers a must in free-run production.The heating system is a hot water delta tube design from Europe, which Wipf believes should be both very efficient and also easy to clean. The ventilation system is Hotraco from Holland, chosen because the colony already has this in the layer barn and it is working very well.The lighting, however, is different. Baildon went with LED lighting for the organic building because of the higher energy efficiency it provides and also because the LED fixtures are placed on the ceiling. What’s more, chickens sometimes break fixtures that hang down by flying against them.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria1eda129457 Barn design and placement aside, the colony also had to answer the question of where the organic layer feed would be sourced. The answer was considered in light of the fact that this spring, Baildon had also decided to replace its existing centralized hammer mill used to grind feed for the hogs, dairy cattle, turkeys and layers.“It had always served the colony well, but we felt it was time to change over to a disc grinder mill, as they are now more common,” Wipf explains. “The organic regulations would have allowed us to use the new mill for both organic and regular feed, but we would have had to flush the system every time we switched from one type to another, so we decided we will produce organic feed with our old hammer mill. It’s still in good-enough shape, and we’ll be making our organic layer feed with purchased organic grains.”Baildon will achieve organic certification in January 2018. The colony members had gone into the January meeting with Pro-Cert with plans to have their first organic egg layer pullets arrive in early May. However, Pro-Cert informed them of a new organic regulation that had come into effect in December 2016. The new rule requires that the free-range pasture attached to the organic layer barn be monitored for a year before certification is granted. Wipf says it was a bit disappointing to learn about this new regulation, but there is nothing that can be done to speed things up.In terms of the biggest challenge facing egg producers today, Wipf names hen housing. “The egg producers here in Canada will have to spend a lot of money in the next 15 years to change from conventional cages to enriched housing,” he notes. “However, the system has been good to us in the last 30 years, so it makes it a lot easier to accept that change.”Once organic egg production is rolling in 2018, the colony will look at its degree of success and consider expanding and growing organic feed grain in the future.
When you look at the career accomplishments of fifth-generation farmer Peter Clarke, it’s clear to see that his dedication to agriculture runs deep. “I am passionate about agriculture and I am proud to be a farmer,” Clarke proclaims.After attending the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in the 1960s, Clarke returned to the family farm in Annapolis Valley, N.S., to work with his father, Harry, who was mainly a potato grower but was also involved in egg and pullet production.In the late 1970s, Clarke and his father formed a partnership, until 1984, when he and his wife, Janet, took over the farm. They formed a limited company they named Southview Farms, which owns three farms on 750 acres growing corn, winter wheat, barley and soybeans.Southview Farms is very much a family operation, Janet operates Clarke’s Trucking, which processes and distributes grains for the farm’s flocks.Their son Jeff is the operations manager of Southview Farms, Clarke’s Trucking, plus another farm he owns separately. His wife, Kelly, is the farm office manager.Southview Farms has three employees. There’s a full-time feed mill manager, Garry Rafuse. Matthew Tanner manages the layer facility. And Clarke’s nephew, Matt Petrie, is involved in most aspects of the daily operations, including feed distribution and product procurement.The volume of production has risen greatly at Southview Farms over the last 13 years, from 16,000 layers and 40,000 pullets produced under license annually in 2004 until 2017 with an estimated 32,000 to 33,000 laying hens and “between Jeff and myself in excess of 100,000 pullets,” Clarke estimates.He puts it all in perspective. “The average size of a family egg farm now in Canada is about 25,000 birds and there are approximately 1,000 egg farmers. These are family farms unlike in the U.S. where you can have flock sizes of several million birds. There are some U.S. operations that have more birds than all of the layers in Canada.”Industry involvementHaving family members highly involved in the farm business has enabled Clarke to devote more of his time off-farm to industry groups.Throughout his farming career Clarke has been a regular on numerous industry organization boards, including in the role of director of Egg Farmers of Nova Scotia, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, chairman of ACA Co-operative Ltd., chairman of Agra Point, the provincial consulting body now known as Perennia, director of the Nova Scotia Winter Grains Marketing Board and Atlantic Grains Council as well as Atlantic representative on the Canada Grains Council.Clarke also served as Nova Scotia’s representative to the Net Income Stabilization Agency and he was a member of the advisory committee of the Atlantic Veterinary College as well.In 1995, Clarke was appointed to the Egg Farmers of Canada board as the Egg Farmers of Nova Scotia representative. Over the years, he chaired EFC’s budget, research and production management committees. He became first vice-chairman of the EFC in 2006 and chairman in 2011.In that most senior role, Clarke helped guide the organization towards notable achievements. For example, during the international trade negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), his lobbying efforts helped secure continued support for supply management from every major Canadian political party.Clarke is also proud of EFC’s role in helping to create several poultry research chairs. Universities across the country now have experts focused on issues such as egg industry economics, poultry welfare, public policy and sustainability.The International Egg Foundation, a charitable arm of the International Egg Commission (IEC), was founded. Tasked with increasing egg production and consumption in developing countries, it worked with EFC on Project Canaan’s egg layer operation in Swaziland. In September 2014, it awarded EFC The Crystal Egg Award for outstanding commitment to corporate and social responsibility.Clarke’s passion and dedication to agriculture has long been recognized. In 1990, the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists presented him with its inaugural Outstanding Farmer Award. In 2007, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia presented him with the Order of Nova Scotia and in 2012 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture.Clarke’s acumen as a rural businessman was also saluted in 2006 with the Kings County Business Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce.After six years as EFC chairman, Clarke stepped down as a director last March, returning to the family farm and assuming the role as a controller for the IEC. “We review the finances of the IEC on behalf of its membership,” he says.He believes firmly in the concept of social license. “We are producing a product for the consumers of this country,” he says. “We owe it to the consumers to be as open as possible about the production of that food.” He sees social license as encompassing the issues of animal welfare and care, codes of practice and sharing knowledge of what producers do on the farm. “By being transparent we will not encounter as much challenge to how we operate,” he says.In 2016, the Canadian egg industry made a decision to transition from conventional cages to alternative housing. By 2026, Clarke believes Canadian egg farmers will be well along into the transition process, which has a deadline of 2036. He cautions, however, “when we do all of that; we have to consider both the health and welfare of our birds as well the people who tend our flocks.”
August 2, 2017, Alberta - As a child, poultry researcher Sasha van der Klein didn’t beg her parents for a puppy, but for pet chickens. By eventually fulfilling her request, her parents put her solidly on the path that has led to a Vanier Scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious award for PhD students.Van der Klein’s award is one of 10 Vaniers earned by University of Alberta students for 2017, and the only one for the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, where she is studying under the supervision of Martin Zuidhof, an expert in poultry precision feeding.Her thesis is investigating how day length during the rearing period of broiler breeders and controlling their body weight affects their reproductive success and nesting behaviour.“When you give them too much light, it prevents the birds from becoming sexually mature and laying eggs in the year they are hatched,” said van der Klein.Broiler breeders, the parents of the meat-type chicken, have to get short day lengths when they grow up, to mimic the winter season, just as most birds get in nature, she said.“This helps the chances of survival of the offspring—it’s essential for the offspring to be hatched in favourable conditions. In nature, the parents sexually mature in spring, and that increases the chicks’ chance to survive. The cue is day length, as winter days are shorter than summer days.”By answering such questions as how long the hens who had light controls during rearing look for a nest, how long they sit on the nest, and how many eggs they finally produce, she hopes to offer the poultry industry solutions for an array of concerns. These include the high percentage of unusable floor eggs broiler breeders are prone to lay, the poor overall productivity of broiler breeder hens, and also how producers can be most efficient with feed.Vanier Scholarships are worth $50,000 per year for three years and are difficult to attain because selection criteria includes not just a student’s academic excellence and the research potential of their project, but also the leadership the students demonstrate in their community or academic life.Although van der Klein is an international student who moved from the Netherlands to pursue her PhD at the University of Alberta, she quickly became immersed in assisting with complex student affairs on campus. For the past two years, she has been the vice-president of labour for the Graduate Students’ Association, assisting graduate students with compliance issues in their research or teaching assistant contracts. This year, she will be negotiating a new collective agreement for graduate students at the university.The Vanier Scholarship definitely relieves some of the many challenges a PhD student must cope with, and that’s especially welcome when a thesis project involves responsibility for the welfare of more than 200 chickens, said van der Klein.“I’m thankful to have a great team and many volunteers that helped me during my experiments, but even then the commitment to being a farmer at the same time as being a student is an intense responsibility,” she said.Van der klein’s research will take advantage of a new feeding system developed at the University of Alberta that minimizes variation in broiler breeder body weights, said Zuidhof“By controlling this variable, we have already had important new insights into sexual maturation that have not been possible previously,” he said. “Ultimately, commercial application of Sasha’s precision feeding research could decrease nitrogen, phosphorus and CO2 emissions by the broiler breeders by 25 per cent, which is transformational for the poultry industry.”
It’s difficult to sum up Tara deVries’ involvement with the poultry industry. That said, one thing is certain – her passion for farming and for supporting agriculture is strong.Growing up, she lived with her family near an urban golf course in B.C. DeVries met her first husband, a dairy farmer, in high school, igniting a fire inside her for agriculture that has never gone out.Shortly after they married, the couple left to seek their fortunes in the wide-open prairies of southern Alberta. “Although we would love to have farmed right away, financially it was not possible so we took our savings and started a manure-hauling and highway trucking company,” she remembers.In early 2000, they had an opportunity to try their hand at chicken farming when the owner of a poultry operation had to unexpectedly go back to Holland. The realtor involved knew they wanted to be part of the poultry industry and asked if they would be willing to manage the farm for a time. “We were so thankful for the opportunity to get our feet wet,” she says.Just before shipping out their first flock, however, deVries’ husband was severely injured in a farm accident. She found herself not only a wife and mother to their three young children, but a nurse and farmer as well. “We had committed to three cycles and, with help from friends, we fulfilled our commitment,” she says proudly. “Then, the new owners of the farm arrived and I was now teaching them. It was an emotional day when we realized we had to step away from something we had begun to love.”In 2005, the couple was able to purchase a poultry farm in Coaldale, Alta. “We were so excited to be back at it!” she remembers. “As the years progressed, we built up a feedlot. I managed the poultry and, together, we managed the cattle and land.”In 2009, tragedy struck. DeVries’ husband took ill, and by 2011, had died of cancer. It was only with the support of family, her local church and her farming neighbours that she was able to keep her family and her farm going. “Although the months after his passing were sometimes quite overwhelming, I was committed to running a successful operation,” she says.“I learned more in those months about mechanics and furnaces, inlets and actuators, bearings and motors than I had ever known before. The feed salesman and local livestock service company were the top two numbers on my phone’s favourite list. They and others were always willing to come to my aid when I couldn’t find my own way through a problem.”DeVries married again, and her new husband’s clients were all in Edmonton. So when a farm became available in the area, they purchased it with the intent of moving there after her youngest child graduated high school. It was a great fit, as her two older children had settled there with grandchildren already born, and her youngest deciding after his graduation that he wanted to move to B.C.DeVries and her husband now farm 58,000 birds in three barns on the farm’s 25 acres. “I know this farm has been here for many years, alternating between turkeys and chickens,” she relates. “It’s about a 40-minute drive to Edmonton, and 15 of our acres are cropped by a neighbouring dairy farmer.”DeVries and her husband – who is a graphic designer with a full-time career in his field, but also helps out daily in the barn – have upgraded almost everything. “Some of the bigger changes were adding computer systems in each barn, replacing furnaces and exhaust fans, and adding stir fans to be able to create a better environment for the birds,” she says. “It’s important to me that I am able to monitor what is happening inside the barns when I am not there.”It’s also important to deVries and her husband that their children get a post-secondary education or trade outside of farming, and while both their older son and son-in-law are apprenticing in the electrical trade, they also help out at their parents’ farm with weekend chores, barn clean-outs and maintenance. “Words can’t describe how wonderful it is to work together as a family on our farm,” she says.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleriaf20dd5cb36 Ag-vocacyFor 10 years while on the Coaldale farm, deVries had hosted a farm tour for second-year agriculture students from Lethbridge College. But at the new farm near Edmonton, she hadn’t done any tours at that point.“One day a senior lady from our church mentioned she knew where we lived because she had driven through our farm,” she remembers. “At first the alarm bells went off, but then I got to thinking maybe she was just curious. I think it’s important to be transparent in our industry, so I thought what better way to educate people on where their food comes from than a farm tour.”DeVries started the day by serving 10 lovely senior ladies pastries and coffee and talking about the farm. “And then we headed to the barn to put on our coveralls and booties and have a look at the chickens,” she remembers. “They were so excited! They absorbed everything that I shared with them and when it was time to leave, they really didn’t want to.” Two days later, deVries got a text from a woman from another seniors’ group, requesting a tour. And so, she began regularly hosting tours.DeVries has also hosted the Alberta Chicken Producers (ACP) booth at Aggie Days in both Lethbridge and Calgary and found it very enlightening. “I was naive when I thought everyone knows what a farmer does!” she says. “It was so good to be able to share our industry with everyone that came through both young and old.” Most recently in terms of advocacy volunteering, deVries worked alongside ACP staff at a three-day Amazing Agriculture event in Edmonton, where 1,500 grade four students learned about where their food comes from.Transparency is a must, in her view. “There are widespread misconceptions of our farming practices in all sectors of agriculture and this places a lot of pressure on farmers,” she notes. “A recent consumer study conducted for the Alberta chicken industry, for instance, revealed that a vast majority of consumers believe that chicken in Canada is raised with hormones and steroids – both of which have been banned in Canada for over 50 years! The study also revealed that most consumers cannot differentiate between hormones and antibiotics.”She believes that while many farmers are uncomfortable with social media and other forms of public communication, there are other ways every farmer can do his or her part. She says it’s been “an incredible experience” to see how the act of hosting a farm tour or participating in a trade show immediately transforms perceptions of farming. In the fall of 2017, deVries hopes to join the Classroom Agriculture Program and attend more ACP seminars. She eventually would like to serve on the ACP board.DeVries sees a current industry challenge to be the possibility of allowing more imports into the Canadian market. “Canadian farmers are local farmers and they have been providing safe, high-quality food to Canadians for years,” the producer notes. “I know this because I grow chicken under audited, mandatory Animal Care and On Farm Food Safety Assurance Programs. Being audited every year by a third party means that I and all chicken farmers across Canada are accountable for our practices.”She believes opening up the markets to more imports will also undoubtedly place the livelihood of Canadian farming families at a great risk as well as compromise the supply of fresh, Canadian grown-products for consumers.“I’m proud to be a Canadian farmer and to be able to pass a strong and sustainable profession onto future generations,” she says. “We as farmers, along with all members of the supply chain, have a responsibility to tell our story and do our best to ensure Canadians understand how and why we do what we do and what’s at stake. If we don’t tell our story, others will.”
July 24, 2017, Lexington, KY - Connecting the farm to the lab through research is critical for agricultural innovation. Illustrating its commitment to encouraging student research, Alltech presented the 34th Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award to Matthew Aardsma of Purdue University during the 106th annual Poultry Science Association meeting, held in Orlando, Florida, July 17–20.The Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award is given to a student who is the senior author of an outstanding research manuscript in Poultry Science or The Journal of Applied Poultry Research. Aardsma’s winning paper titled, Relative metabolizable energy values for fats and oils in young broilers and adult roosters, focused on developing a bio-assay where feed-grade fats and oils were evaluated for their relative metabolizable energy content quickly and accurately. The paper showed results for several fats and oils that are commonly fed in the poultry industry, and that the results obtained for adult roosters are the same with young broiler chickens."Research is an integral part of Alltech and the poultry industry's success to date," said Dr. Ted Sefton, director of poultry for Alltech Canada. "Alltech is proud to sponsor the Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award to encourage students to publish their research in peer-reviewed journals and communicate new technologies and discoveries being made in the lab that can have a direct impact on the farm."Aardsma grew up in Central Illinois, where his parents encouraged him to explore his interests in agriculture and animal production. He received his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2013 and his master’s degree in animal sciences with an emphasis in poultry nutrition in 2015, working with Dr. Carl Parsons. After a summer internship at Southern Illinois University working in aquaculture nutrition, he began a Ph.D. program in animal nutrition at Purdue University. Aardsma is currently studying with Jay Johnson and focusing on nutrition-based stress physiology in poultry and swine.Alltech has sponsored the Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award since 2000, recognizing young leaders in scientific innovation for their commitment to publishing and sharing their work within the poultry sector.
Passion, relevant experience, commitment, dedication and time – these are just a few of the qualities that successful boards look for in their directors. When it recruited egg and pullet farmer Catherine Kroeker-Klassen, Manitoba Egg Farmers was rewarded with all of these qualities and more. She is the first woman to join the board and in March was elected vice-chair.A strong advocate for the industry, she hopes her position will help her to improve the industry for producers and consumers alike.Kroeker-Klassen is a fourth-generation egg farmer who grew up on her parents’ farm in rural Manitoba. She left for the city after high school and returned in 2002 when her father asked if she wanted to keep the farm’s books part time. Back then, she had two young children at home, so the part-time role fit her schedule well.Gradually, she took on a bigger role on the farm, eventually looking to her brother, James Kroeker, as a potential partner. “We both recognized that we had certain skills and character traits that complemented each other,” she says. “When we approached mom and dad, they were quite happy to have another generation step in.”In 2008, the siblings began to expand the family farm. “Up until that point it had been just one family, but now we were looking at supporting two or three families on one farm,” Kroeker-Klassen explains. Together, they bought more quota – both layer and pullet – and actively sought out more land to rent or buy. Eventually, the siblings took over the farm and their father took on the role of company president.Today, the pair raise 16,600 laying hens and 34,000 pullets, and crop 1,400 acres of corn, soybeans, canola and wheat near Landmark, Man., which sits 30 minutes southeast of Winnipeg. The layers and the pullets are raised in conventional barns with the hens producing white omega-3 eggs for the Omega program.On the farm, the duo is responsible for the day-to-day chores. Kroeker-Klassen’s husband, Ed Klassen, works for the Manitoba government, which takes him off farm and into the city of Winnipeg.The couple has two children, daughter Talia and son Adam. Talia and her husband, Jeremy, have an egg farm as well. Jeremy was one of the Manitoba new entrants winners, an award that gave the couple 6,000-layer quota. They’ve been in production for just over a year now.Adam is still in high school. He spends a lot of time on the farm and has a lot of mechanical skill, his mother says. Although he talks about one day farming as well, he has plans to take a welding program in the fall.As most producers will attest to, working with family on a daily basis can sometimes be tough, and farming is often isolating. Occasionally, time off the farm rejuvenates the spirit and offers a fresh perspective, which is why when it was first suggested that Kroeker-Klassen would be a great fit as director on the Manitoba Egg Farmers board she strongly considered it. But, when the idea first came up, she admits that she was not ready. “At the time, discussion here on the farm was that it wasn’t the right time – that I was still too hands-on involved in everything that was going on with the farm,” she says.A year later, another opening came up on the board, a shorter, one-year term. Although the timing still wasn’t perfect, the board’s requirements were reasonable enough that she felt she could take on the role. “My husband was probably my biggest encourager to pursue something outside of the farm,” Kroeker-Klassen says. “In his words, he thought I was kind of stagnating a bit and not using some of the skills that I had gained from my other career choices and other jobs that I had had.”Those accomplishments include administrative skills gained through work at one of Winnipeg’s largest hospitals, and the social finesse that comes with working as a real estate agent. “I guess he thought that I should probably try to branch out a little bit,” she continues. “A farm can be isolating. He was a good encourager on that.”   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria63175d967e It turned out he was right, as Kroeker-Klassen found she enjoyed working on the board. Since then, she has taken on an even more active role. In March, she was elected vice-chair of Manitoba Egg Farmers with the idea that she could possibly fill the role of chair in the future. “We work very much for Manitoba’s egg farmers, as far as developing policies and procedures to ensure that our Manitoba egg and pullet farmers are kept up to date with changing markets and consumer trends, and making sure that we are staying at the forefront of that,” she says.Those who serve on the board must be active farmers. “Because we are all active farmers the decisions we make impact us as well,” she said. “I think that’s important.”Manitoba Egg Farmers also promotes eggs and agriculture to the general public through events like the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon, Touch the Farm at the Red River Ex in Winnipeg and Agriculture in the Classroom throughout the province. “All of these are places where we can actually talk to the general public and consumers about eggs and how eggs are produced in Manitoba and Canada, and put a face to farming,” Kroeker-Klassen says.“I find that very rewarding to be able to have a conversation with somebody and show them how farming is done,” she continued. “If we can open people’s eyes to that, that’s a win in my books.”As the only woman on the board, Kroeker-Klassen brings with her a unique perspective. Her earlier, off-farm employment also comes in handy, as it enables her to see a bigger picture – one that includes both producers and consumers. It also helps that she is an active farmer at the forefront of the farm operation. “I guess I would be in a unique position in that my husband has nothing to do with the farm,” she adds. “It’s my thing. It’s my job, my career.”As someone who is goal driven, Kroeker-Klassen finds her role on the board to be deeply fulfilling. “To be able to sit in a room where we can brainstorm and plan together and see a plan executed – for me, there’s huge satisfaction in that,” she says.Keeping in line with her personality, she has also set goals that she’d like to accomplish while on the Manitoba Egg Farmers board. “I would very much like to see a national pullet agency,” she said. “Being both an egg producer and a pullet producer, I just see so much value in having a regulated agency for pullets.”Perhaps her most important goal, though, is to make the industry as good as it can be. “Not just for farmers, but for all of Canada,” Kroeker-Klassen says. “We need to protect our food supply and anything I can do to help that along, I want to try and do that.”“I like being a farmer and knowing that we’re providing safe, nutritious and economical food products, and I want to protect that for the whole country because I think it’s important for everybody,” she concludes.
July 19, 2017, Swaziland - The Project Canaan egg farm in Swaziland has been up and running for more than a year and a half, providing a high-quality protein to children and supplying eggs to the local community, but that does not mean its supporters’ work is done.The initiative continues to grow and expand, supplying eggs and expertise to an ever-wider area, transferring skills to allow people in need to help themselves, and setting its sights on expanding horizons.The farm itself was the first step of the project, said Julian Madeley, managing director of the International Egg Foundation (IEF), which is supporting lead partners Heart for Africa and Egg Farmers of Canada.Capacity at the farm has doubled through construction of a second house, and this means that, in addition to supplying the orphanage, 4,000 children can now be supplied with an egg, which is done via 31 church feeding stations. READ MORE
July 17, 2017, Trenton, Ont. - When retired master corporal William Hawley met Prince Charles on Friday, it was a chance to say thank you — and to talk a little turkey.Hawley is a graduate of the Prince's Operation Entrepreneur program, one of Charles's charities in Canada that helps veterans transition to civilian life. In Hawley's case, that transition has led him from the battlefield to the farmer's field — his own organic poultry and vegetable operation.Hawley and his wife, Carolyn Guy, were among the beneficiaries of the program who met the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in Trenton, Ont., during the royal couple's three-day tour of Canada. READ MORE 
September 5, 2017 - The 20-somethings were from all over the world: the U.S., England, Ireland, Turkey, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Peru. And if they had one thing in common, it was their view of the supermarket.“Do you think grocery stores are important?” they were asked by Alltech chief innovation officer, Aidan Connolly.“Yes, they’re very important,” replied one young woman, “for old people.”Leading Alltech’s Corporate Career Development Program, Connolly was hearing in this next generation of consumers a receptiveness for the sweeping, fundamental changes in the production, distribution, purchase and consumption of food heralded by the $13.4 billion Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods.“When we buy our groceries, we mostly buy online,” one student told him.The huge e-commerce company had already been dipping its toe in the food delivery market when it turned its eye toward Whole Foods. AmazonFresh, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, is a grocery delivery service currently available in some U.S. states, London, Tokyo and Berlin.The announced intentions of this mega consumer product distributor to take a step further into the brick-and-mortar premium grocery business has made waves all along the food chain, from retail to agriculture.“I think it's an extraordinary moment,” said Mary Shelman, former director of Harvard Business School's Agribusiness Program. “This could truly be a disruption rather than a change."“Disruption means you do something in a completely different way rather than just making some incremental changes to it,” Shelman continued. “Amazon, which had historically envisioned a world without brick-and-mortar stores, is now, in one fell swoop, making a significant run into that brick-and-mortar world.”The deal, providing Amazon access to Whole Foods’ 466 stores in the United States and the United Kingdom, hasn’t yet closed, and there is plenty of speculation that competitive bids could materialize. But Amazon has its reasons to pursue the acquisition with determination.“Food is the least penetrated category from the online shopping standpoint,” explained Shelman. “Amazon clearly wants to bring that into the fold. I think the realization is that it takes some different skills and infrastructure in food than perhaps they are set up to deal with, so this gives them a tremendous opportunity to learn from that, and to run with that.”Addressing widely held consumer perceptions may also play an important role in this odd-couple marriage.As Shelman sees it, “For Amazon, the biggest challenge in delivering fresh products to your home is what everybody always says: ‘Oh, I don't trust them. I want to go pick out my fruits and veggies and my meats myself.’ Whole Foods brings in that brand name that has value, so it’s: ‘I trust Whole Foods, so now I trust Amazon bringing me Whole Foods quality. Do I trust Whole Foods to deliver for me? I don't think they're very efficient. But Amazon delivering Whole Foods is like, wow!’ So both sides win from the opposite brand name.”What might this mean at some key points along the food supply chain?Producers and growers in an Amazon/Whole Foods worldThe biggest obstacle for producers trying to access markets through the food retail industry today is the enormous power held by the supermarket and big box chains as gatekeepers to the consumer.Control of in-store product positioning provides an enormous source of revenue for traditional supermarkets. So-called “slotting fees” must be paid to win premium space in order for a product to appear on the shelves of Krogers, Safeways and other major chain stores.“Only big companies can afford to do that,” said Shelman. “Even if you are a small company and can find the money to pay a slotting fee to get on the shelf, the ongoing costs of the promotion and support that it takes to actually get your sales up to a level that is acceptable to that retailer is a staggering number — something like $100 million, $10 million to introduce a new brand today.”A major casualty of this, she notes, is creativity.“We see that in the big packet food industries: They just bring out yet another flavor, another line, another variation in that brand, and they keep blocking up that shelf,” she explained. “You really don't get any true innovation there.”Shelman believes the evolution of the “Amazon marketplace” is providing new opportunities for smaller producers to bypass those costs and directly reach the consumer.But Connolly believes “Big Ag” and smaller farmers alike have some concern.“It's part of seismic changes taking place in the food chain,” he said. “The top 10 food companies have seen a decline in their sales, profits and share prices as consumers reject traditional famous food brands built around processed foods.”Every day these shifts are reflected in the news: Nestlé being a $3.5 billion target by an activist investor; Kraft’s attempted takeover of Unilever; Amazon gobbling up Whole Foods; and Wal-Mart’s purchase of Jet.comSo, if traditional “Big Food” players are in trouble, how should agribusiness respond?“It must adapt to the new reality,” says Connolly, listing the top three strategies food businesses must take to thrive in the changing landscape:Become lean: Big Food that is merging or being acquired will seek to drive costs out of the system.Deliver prosumer values to address the prosumer and millennial agenda of traceability, transparency, sustainability, welfare and removing unwanted additives.Go direct and to build your own brands again.Connolly notes that “this is a new era with the food business re-fragmenting, and smaller brands will be faster to build and sell direct. Consumer sales over the internet offer an opportunity for ‘Big Ag’ that was not available 20 years ago.”In this new coupling, who will take the lead? Shelman expects that Amazon will pull Whole Foods toward its brand promise and mass appeal: convenience and reasonably priced items across quality levels.“I don't believe Amazon will broadly adopt the same positioning and values as Whole Foods across their broader food portfolio,” she said. “I can't imagine them not selling Cheerios or Kraft Mac & Cheese online. They may initially adopt a higher quality approach in fresh products — meats and produce, since those seem to require a stronger brand to sell.”Consumers in an Amazon/Whole Foods worldToday’s consumer is swimming in a sea of options and information. The innovation of the “food kit” has given rise to the home-delivered packages offered by Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Plated, Purple Carrot and Home Chef. Nestlé has invested in the prepared meal delivery service Freshly, and Sun Basket has attracted Unilever capital.It takes time to complete a merger with all the complexities brought to the table by Amazon and Whole Foods. So what's going to happen to the rest of the food industry while t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted? Views differ about the extent to which the merger will cause change.Speaking to analysts and investors at a conference in Boston, Kroger CFO Mike Schlotman said he doesn’t envision a major shift to people ordering groceries online for delivery to their homes.“Part of me refuses to believe that everybody is just going to sit at home and everything is going to be brought to their doorstep and nobody is ever going to leave home to do anything again,” said Schlotman.But, according to Connolly, “the United States has been slower to the party than other parts of the world,” and there is plenty of evidence that significant change is already well underway.“Maybe there are some of us that take joy in walking up and down the grocery aisle and doing that as our chore, but what consumers are saying is that they're voting with their feet,” Connolly said. “They're saying, ‘If you give me a better alternative, I won’t go to the store.’"Connolly recalls the observations of a friend who is involved in the food industry in the U.K., working with Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, who forecasts that we're in the last five to eight years of the big box model of the supermarket.“What we're going to see in the future, according to him, is much more of a Starbucks version of a grocery store,where you can buy the small produce, organic, the pieces that you want to have hands on, but for the most part, you're going to pick it on your cell phone, ordering it directly, and it will arrive today by delivery in a half-an-hour increment,” he explained. “So if you say 4:00 p.m., it'll be between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. In the future, that will be delivered by robots, which is already happening in England, and eventually it'll happen by drone.”One of the world’s largest pork producers, Smithfield Shuanghui of China, has a strategic cooperation agreement to sell packaged Smithfield meats through JD.com, a Chinese version of Amazon.“They’re creating a cold chain system from the warehouse to the customer, selling fresh chilled foods, including packaged meats,” says Michael Woolsey, senior strategic manager for Alltech China. “If a customer in the morning decides they want to have hotdogs from Smithfield for dinner that night, they take out their cell phone, dial up JD.com, order the hotdogs and the truck shows up later that afternoon. Chilled distribution the entire way to the consumer’s door. So, it’s a superior product. It’s what consumers want. It’s an exciting development.”Shelman says today’s marketplace “is just fundamentally different” as consumers are being conditioned to a whole different set of solutions.“I think for everybody now, the fun of thinking about these different scenarios and letting go of the old retail model is leading us all to be very challenged to think about what that future is going to be like,” she said. “How are we going to get our food 10 years from now?”Connolly sees profound change arriving even sooner.“If we think of machine vision, where you use a camera with artificial intelligence, you can teach your camera to recognize what you want in your meat, what you want in your produce,” he said. “It can learn to smell the produce. It can learn to recognize the color that you want. It can probably even, using these internet of things-type devices, give you all of the origins of and the pesticides used in the products, all of the things that might cause allergies.“So, your drone, equipped with the right camera and the right artificial intelligence, can do these things,” continued Connolly. “And we are not talking about something that is going to happen in the next 30 years. This can happen within the next 12 months.”And 20-somethings from Brazil to Kazakhstan can hardly wait.
August 25, 2017 - For its latest World Mycotoxin Survey, Biomin conducted more than 33,000 analyses on 8,452 finished feed and raw commodity samples from 63 countries from January to June 2017. These analyses covered common components used for feed such as corn, wheat, barley, rice, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, dried distillers grains (DDGS) and silage, among others.Results of the analyses found that deoxynivalenol (DON) and fumonisins (FUM) are the most common mycotoxins found in feedstuffs.The survey details the incidence of the main mycotoxins occurring in agricultural commodities, which include aflatoxins (Afla), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol, T-2 toxin (T-2), fumonisins and ochratoxin A (OTA).Overall, deoxynivalenol and fumonisins were detected in 81 per cent and 71 per cent of all samples at average levels of 798 parts per billion (ppb) and 1,840 ppb, respectively. Out of all samples, 52 per cent were contaminated by zearalenone. Aflatoxins, T-2 and OTA were present in 26 per cent, 19 per cent and 18 per cent of samples, respectively.Ninety-four per cent of all samples contained at least one mycotoxin, and 76 per cent of all samples contained two or more mycotoxins. READ MORE
August 16, 2017, Mumbai, India  – The rapid growth of factory farming in Asia for livestock and seafood poses enormous environmental and forced labor risks, in addition to threats to public safety and health, according to a report by an investor network. Half of Asia's aquaculture production is from factory farms, said the report published this week by Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR), referring to the major, industrial operations that raise large numbers of animals for food. "Asia's meat, seafood and dairy industries face a range of badly managed sustainability risks – from emissions to epidemics, fraud to food safety, and abuse of labor," said Jeremy Coller, founder of FAIRR. "It is clear that significant environmental and social risks are building up."READ MORE
Half of Canadians are unsure about whether our food system is going in the right direction. It’s with this as the backdrop that the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) launched last summer. Its goal is to help Canada’s food system earn trust through research, dialogue and forums.Understanding consumer concerns and questions is the important base everyone in the food system needs to set benchmarks for success in communicating with Canadians about our food and how it’s produced.  Success will only happen if there are shifts between consumer expectations and industry practices – the two must be more closely aligned. New public trust research by CCFI aims to help bridge that gap. It shows the rising cost of food and access to healthy, affordable food as two top concerns for Canadians, above concerns for health care or the economy. But with 93 per cent of Canadians saying they know little or nothing about farming, determining fact from fiction about our food continues to be a growing issue. The study, which polled 2,510 Canadians, shows two-thirds want to know more about how their food is produced. Overall impressions of agriculture and trust in farmers and researchers are high.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria6d61e9202c However, when asked specific questions on topics like antibiotics, environmental stewardship or GMOs, the support shifts significantly from positive to close to half being unsure.   When people are unsure, it’s easiest to be against something. Advocating for scientific advancements in general requires significant planning, strategy and resources to be effective. Advocating for scientific advancements related to food requires even more effort and investment.   After studying lessons from losing social licence and public trust in other sectors like oil and gas and forestry and agri-food sectors in other countries, we clearly need to be proactive and transparent about how our food is produced in Canada. The CCFI research shows it’s an opportune time to open up more dialogue with Canadians. Let’s bridge the gap between farm gates and dinner plates!Crystal Mackay is president of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, which represents a coalition of farmers and associated food and agri-businesses proactively working together to provide credible information on food and farming. She is a dynamic presenter who has delivered hundreds of presentations to a broad range of audiences from farmers to university students to CEOs across North America. Visit www.foodintegrity.ca for more information on the organization’s work and a summary of key research findings. Look for new work on public trust in food and transparency to be released at the CCFI Public Trust Summit Sept. 18-20, 2017 in Calgary.
July 28, 2017, Qingdao, China – Experts from agricultural colleges and research institutions throughout China joined together to discuss agricultural and environmental challenges, including how to reduce waste and making farming operations more sustainable, at a recent Alltech China Research Alliance meeting, held in Qingdao.Alltech China has built long-term cooperative research relationships with 10 well-known universities, research institutes and leading feed and food enterprises.“The Alltech China Research Alliance is focused on building toward a green agriculture future in China,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president and head of Greater China for Alltech. “The roadmap to this future requires practical solutions, which will be developed through advanced scientific research and technology and the powerful partnership of these leading agricultural minds.”Defa Li, professor at China Agricultural University and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Kangsen Mai, professor at Ocean University of China and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, along with more than 30 other professors from agricultural colleges and research institutions, attended and spoke at the meeting, sharing the results of their latest research.“This meeting of the alliance explored how to reduce antibiotic residues in food, how to effectively use limited resources in the midst of population explosion, and how to reduce water and soil pollution,” said Karl Dawson, vice president and chief scientific officer at Alltech.A new mycotoxin detection methodThe Institute of Agriculture Quality Standards and Testing Technology for Agro-Products of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IQSTAP) has established a method for the simultaneous detection of 21 mycotoxins, or their metabolite residues, in the plasma of animals. These include toxins such as aflatoxin B1. This testing is expected to become the agricultural industry standard for the detection of mycotoxins in China.Recently, Alltech and IQSTAP published an article entitled "Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Simultaneous Determination of 21 Kinds of Mycotoxins or Their Metabolites in Animal Plasma." Dr. Ruiguo Wang of IQSTAP, who introduced the study, says that it established a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method that simultaneously detects animal plasma aflatoxin B1 and 21 other kinds of mycotoxins or their metabolite residue.Existing mycotoxin detection methods have very complex sample treatment operations, and high detection costs make it generally difficult to do a variety of simultaneous determinations of mycotoxins. The QuEChERS method (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, Safe) is a fast, sample pre-treatment technology developed for agricultural products. It uses the interaction between adsorbent filler and the impurities in the matrix to adsorb impurities to achieve purification.In this study, 21 samples of mycotoxins and their metabolites in animal plasma were developed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) based on the QuEChERS principle. The method is simple, rapid, low-cost and accurate. It can be used for combined mycotoxin animal exposure assessment and mycotoxin toxicokinetic study. Wang said this method has been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China for review and is expected to pass as a fungal detector by agriculture industry standards.Functional ingredients for better pork qualityAnother breakthrough came from collaboration between Alltech and Jiangnan University to improve food safety and quality. A Jiangnan University research project showed that the addition of rapeseed selenium in the diet can improve the quality of pork, increasing its water-holding capacity and tenderness. An article published based on Alltech and Jiangnan University’s study confirmed that the additions of flaxseed oil and sesame selenium to the diet can improve pork quality, reducing drip loss by 58–74 percent. The organic selenium diets increased muscular selenium content up to 54 percent. Flaxseed oil and selenium can be used to alter the fatty acid structure of pork, increase omega-3 fatty acids and reduce the proportion of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids in meat, which can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in consumers.Minerals matter: How trace minerals can impact pollutionImproper sewage treatment and greenhouse gas emissions are leading to heavy pollution of water, soil and air, and some small-scale farms have been closed because of this pollution."This will require improved feed conversion, which will reduce damage to the environment without affecting the performance of the animal," said Li.Inorganic trace minerals in feeds have contributed to this environmental pollution. Due to their low absorption rates, 80–90 percent of inorganic zinc and copper will generally be excreted by the animal, contaminating water and soil.Organic trace minerals, however, are absorbed more readily. Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology™ is a groundbreaking approach to organic trace mineral nutrition. It features products such as Bioplex®, which includes copper, iron, zinc and manganese, and Sel-Plex®, which includes selenium. Compared to conventional inorganic minerals, these formulations are better absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal and are thus able to meet the higher nutrient needs of modern livestock for rapid growth, maximum reproductive performance and animal health. Additionally, because they are absorbed more readily, less is excreted into the environment.Some Chinese feed companies are already using Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology. In addition to aiding in animal performance and health, many customers have noted it improves the smell of pig farms.
July 26, 2017. Madison, NJ - Recently, Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) hosted its High Quality Poultry Congress (HQPC) for Europe and the Middle East in Prague, Czech Republic. The main theme of this HQPC was “Broiler Production in the face of the Changing Consumer Landscape.” The Congress brought together experts from all over the world, who spoke about antibiotic free (ABF) production, nutritional health, hatchery management, animal welfare, and intestinal and respiratory disease control. Attendees also had the opportunity to hear about the role of INNOVAX-ILT and INNOVAX-ND vaccines for control of Marek’s, Newcastle disease and Infectious Laryngotracheitis, including a customer presentation about their experience with the products. “We are very proud to have had this opportunity to serve the poultry industry and support our customers as they adapt to an evolving marketplace and new consumer demands,” said William Vaughn, Global Poultry Marketing Director at Merck Animal Health. Speakers at the High Quality Poultry Congress included: Pavel Mikoska (AHOLD Central Europe) – Consumer & Retailer Perspective Jeff Courtney, DVM (Pilgrim’s Pride) –  Antibiotic Free Production: USA Industry Perspective Dr. Atle Lovland (Nortura) – Managing Production and Broiler Health in the Norwegian ABF Programme Ron Meijerhof (Poultry Performance Plus) – Managing for Chick Quality Using Management Techniques in Hatchery & Brooding Ellen van Eerden (Schothorst Feed Research) – Nutritional Perspectives for ABF Programs Daniel Dring (PD Hood Hatcheries) – Managing Antibiotic Free Production and Bird Welfare in a UK Integration Florence Humbert (FlowBio-Veto) – Food Safety Implications of ABF Richard Currie (x-OvO) – Next Generation Sequencing: Validating the Protectotype Concept Merck Animal Health also introduced at this Congress, its first High Quality Poultry Science Award. This Award was established to offer students of poultry science the opportunity to share their research with a large global audience of poultry industry specialists. The 2017 award was presented to Dr. Vishi Reddy, a post-doctoral scientist at The Pirbright Institute, who presented on “Novel Insights in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Laryngotracheitis and Bronchitis Viruses in Chickens.” On behalf of the attendants of the High Quality Poultry Congress, Merck Animal Health also made a donation to the International Egg Foundation (IEF) in support of their mission to help famers in developing countries sustainably produce eggs to give more people access to a high-quality source of protein.
July 20, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - A new poll conducted by NRG Research Group shows nine out of 10 Canadians want food companies to commit to greatly reducing the suffering of chickens in their supply chains, even if it results in higher prices.To view the poll results, visit bit.ly/CanadaChickenSurvey.The poll surveyed consumers on improving each step of a broiler chicken's life, from genetic selection to slaughter. Key findings include the following: 90% oppose using chickens bred to grow so fast they often become crippled under their own weight and support switching to breeds with higher welfare outcomes 88% support ending live-shackle slaughter in favor of less cruel systems that eliminate the suffering caused by shackling, shocking, and slitting the throats of conscious animals 88% oppose extreme crowding by which each chicken is provided with less than a square foot of floor space 86% support banning these conditions even if per-pound cost of chicken meat increases Respondents also strongly support measures such as keeping chicken litter clean enough to prevent eye sores, flesh burns, and respiratory distress; providing environmental enrichment, such as straw bales and pecking objects, so chickens can engage in natural behaviors; improving lighting standards, including at least six hours of darkness each day to avoid further accelerating the chickens' growth; and implementing third-party auditing programs to ensure laws and commitments are not violated.The poll was conducted just days after the release of an undercover investigation exposing sadistic animal abuse at more than a dozen Lilydale chicken supplier farms. The investigation revealed workers ripping chickens' legs off, hitting and kicking chickens, and performing crude sex acts with the birds.Many leading food companies, including Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Boston Pizza, have already adopted meaningful welfare standards to address these issues. But the nation's largest restaurant conglomerate, Cara Foods, which operates brands such as Harvey's, Milestones, and Kelsey's, has yet to commit to a comprehensive broiler welfare policy like its competitors.The online survey of 500 Canadian consumers was commissioned by Mercy For Animals and conducted by NRG Research Group June 15–20, 2017.
July 11, 2017 - Proponents of the slower-growing broiler movement claim that the meat product from those chickens has a superior flavor. However, Dr. Eilir Jones, CEO of Poultry Nutrition Limited, questions the validity of those claims.Why is chicken flavor often masked? Jones, who spoke at the recent Alltech Ideas Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, wondered about how important flavor really is to chicken consumers.He stated that about 50 percent of all chicken meat sold is either further processed or part of packaged meals. Those products include sauces, gravies, spices and vegetables that “mask the flavor of chicken.”He even quipped that the night before, he ate some chicken wings that were covered in a sauce so strong, “he was still tasting it today,” and he didn’t think he even could taste the chicken when he was eating it. READ MORE
June, 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Results from the newest Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) report Canadians are consuming more of their calories from protein than they did over a decade ago. Fat consumption amongst adults increased slightly and there was a small decline in carbohydrates consumption.According to Dr. David Ma, PhD, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph: "While there are some differences in consumption since the last survey in 2004, the data shows Canadians are generally consuming carbohydrates, fats and protein within recommended ranges. We need to eat these in the right proportions of total energy to reduce risk of chronic disease and to provide enough essential nutrients."The report notes that for children and teenagers, the percentage of daily energy intake from protein increased one per cent (from 14.6 per cent in 2004 to 15.6 per cent in 2015). For adults, it edged up from 16.5 per cent to 17.0 per cent. This still lingers at the lower end of the acceptable range of 10 to 35 per cent of calories set by the Institute of Medicine."The data is encouraging as the previous national survey showed Canadians were consuming protein at the lower end of the acceptable distribution range," said Dr. Stuart Phillips, PhD, Director of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE) and McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Research. "Protein is essential for all tissues in the body, providing amino acids that are important for growth and development. Protein is particularly important for older people to help slow muscle loss.""Based on my research, consuming even more than the recommended amount of high quality protein, from nutrient-rich sources such as pork, beef, lamb, dairy products and eggs throughout the day, combined with regular exercise, helps prevent the loss of muscle tissue as we age," he adds.Many Canadians consume an abundance of foods, but many do not obtain the nutrients they require for good health. Meat, for example, is a compact source of many nutrients that are essential for good health and life. These include: protein, phosphorus, zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12, thiamin, vitamin D, niacin, and riboflavin."Research shows that diets with increased protein and reduced carbohydrates may help prevent type 2 diabetes by facilitating weight loss through increased satiety, increased thermogenesis, and muscle retention," said Mary Ann Binnie of the International Meat Secretariat Nutrition Committee and a Canadian Meat Council spokesperson. "This is especially important given the number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes has tripled in the past 20 years."
June 23, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - According to a recent Ipsos poll on food insecurity, health, and poverty in Canada commissioned by Community Food Centres Canada, a national nonprofit that increases access to healthy food in low-income communities and promotes food skills and civic engagement.According to the poll, 91 per cent of Canadians think food insecurity is a persistent problem in our country, a problem that 41 per cent believe has worsened in the last decade. And Canadians want to see solutions: 74 per cent believe that government has a responsibility to take action to ensure everyone has access to healthy, affordable food."Canadians are telling us loud and clear that we need to do better," said Nick Saul, President and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. "We know that the best way to reduce food insecurity is to increase people's incomes. We currently have National Food Policy and National Poverty Reduction Strategy processes unfolding in parallel at the federal level, and we need to make sure that they both speak to this issue – and to each other."According to the PROOF Food Insecurity Policy Research project, four million Canadians are food insecure. Food insecurity negatively affects physical and mental health, and costs our health-care system significantly. Lack of household income is the most important predictor of food insecurity.Increasing access to affordable food is one of the four focus areas of the National Food Policy. The others are improving health and food safety, growing more high-quality food, and conserving our soil, water, and air. The public consultation phase of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy, which is being led by Employment and Social Development Canada, is wrapping up at the end of June. The timing for the development of a strategy and implementation plan has not yet been announced."We need to ensure that reducing food insecurity and improving the lives of vulnerable Canadians stays at the forefront of both of these important conversations," says Saul. "At the same time, with so many ministries involved in the National Food Policy, there is an important opportunity to surface new solutions that can break down silos and address the complex issues affecting different parts of our food system – solutions that could include community responses to food insecurity, a national school lunch program, and support for small farmers."The Ipsos poll also asked Canadians about areas where this type of multi-sectoral approach could be useful -- for example, addressing Canadians' declining levels of food literacy and finding innovative approaches to promoting healthier diets and reducing chronic disease. It showed that Canadians are interested in new approaches, including solutions that would put more affordable fruits and vegetables on the plates of low-income individuals. 91 per cent of Canadians said they would support a government subsidy program that would provide fruit and vegetable vouchers to people living on low incomes as a way to address diet-related illness.These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between March 29 and April 3, 2017, on behalf of Community Food Centres Canada. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online via Ipsos' online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. The poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would be had all Canadians been polled.
June 22, 2017, China – Scientists have identified three mutations that, if they occurred at the same time in nature, could turn a strain of bird flu now circulating in China into a potential pandemic virus that could spread among people.The flu strain, known as H7N9, now mostly infects birds but it has infected at least 779 people in outbreaks in and around China, mainly related to poultry markets.The World Health Organization said earlier this year that all bird flu viruses need constant monitoring, warning that their constantly changing nature makes them "a persistent and significant threat to public health".At the moment, the H7N9 virus does not have the capability to spread sustainably from person to person. But scientists are worried it could at any time mutate into a form that does.To assess this risk, researchers led by James Paulson of the Scripps Research Institute in California looked at mutations that could potentially take place in the H7N9 virus's genome.They focused on the H7 hemagglutanin, a protein on the flu virus surface that allows it to latch onto host cells.The team's findings, published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, showed that in laboratory tests, mutations in three amino acids made the virus more able to bind to human cells - suggesting these changes are key to making the virus more dangerous to people.Scientists not directly involved in this study said its findings were important, but should not cause immediate alarm."This study will help us to monitor the risk posed by bird flu in a more informed way, and increasing our knowledge of which changes in bird flu viruses could be potentially dangerous will be very useful in surveillance," said Fiona Culley, an expert in respiratory immunology at Imperial College London.She noted that while "some of the individual mutations have been seen naturally, ... these combinations of mutations have not", and added: "The chances of all three occurring together is relatively low."Wendy Barclay, a virologist and flu specialist also at Imperial, said the study's findings were important in showing why H7N9 bird flu should be kept under intense surveillance."These studies keep H7N9 virus high on the list of viruses we should be concerned about," she said. "The more people infected, the higher the chance that the lethal combination of mutations could occur."
June 15, 2017, Austin TX - Global Animal Partnership (GAP), creator of North America’s most comprehensive farm animal welfare standards, has provided a grant-in-aid of research to the University of Guelph, Ontario for a two-year research project that will determine and evaluate the parameters necessary for assessing the animal welfare needs of different genetic strains of chicken breeds.In 2016, GAP announced its intention to replace 100 percent of chicken breeds that result in poor welfare outcomes by 2024 with breeds meeting specified welfare outcomes within its 5-Step®Rating Program. The Guelph research project will help determine which genetic strains are best suited for commercial production under the new standards GAP is creating. GAP will provide public updates throughout the duration of the project.University of Guelph researchers Dr. Tina Widowski and Dr. Stephanie Torrey are leading the project. They will begin by running pilot studies over the summer, and the formal research study is due to begin this fall (Fall 2017), and will take approximately two years to complete (Fall 2019). All results will be published upon completion of the study.“The research team is excited about the scale and scope of this research grant,” said Dr. Widowski. “GAP’s commitment to developing a scientific and robust methodology for assessing chicken breeds will allow us to explore in a comprehensive way, a large number of factors important to both the bird and producers.”Dr. Widowski, a researcher and faculty member in the Department of Animal Biosciences, is the University Chair in Animal Welfare and director of the internationally recognized Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW), which has a reputation of hosting the largest animal welfare graduate program in North America. She is also the research chair of Poultry Welfare for the Egg Farmers of Canada.Dr. Torrey is a senior research scientist in Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare, with an expertise in applied animal welfare. Her team of graduate and undergraduate students focuses on fundamental and applied research with broiler and broiler breeder chickens and turkeys.Currently, fast-growing chicken breeds resulting in poor welfare outcomes represent 98 percent of all commercially available chicken meat in North America. Modern chickens have been genetically selected for their fast, efficient growth and higher yield of breast meat. However, this has had detrimental impacts on the welfare of broiler chickens, including immune and musculoskeletal problems, resulting in limitations to the birds’ ability to express natural behaviors like perching, flying, and even walking.This study will help create a way to objectively evaluate different genetic strains using a comprehensive list of parameters related to behavior, growth, health and production with the end goal of improving chicken welfare and specifically address the many issues resulting from fast-growing breeds.More than 600 chicken farms currently use the GAP standard, affecting the lives of 277 million chickens annually and making it the most significant higher welfare farm animal standard in the country. Retailers, foodservice companies and restaurants have committed to adopting GAP’s new chicken standard and moving away from breeds of chickens that result in poor welfare outcomes by 2024, including Whole Foods Market, Compass Group, Quiznos, and Boston Market.The Global Animal Partnership is a global leader in farm animal welfare that has established a comprehensive step-by-step program for raising animals that requires audits of every single farm. GAP makes it easy for consumers to find meat products that reflect their values. A nonprofit founded in 2008, GAP brings together farmers, scientists, ranchers, retailers, and animal advocates with the common goal of improving the welfare of animals in agriculture. So far, the 5-Step program includes more than 3,200 farms and ranches that range from Step 1 to Step 5+ and now raise more than 290 million animals annually.
September 7, 2017, Winnipeg, Man. – Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer pledged Thursday that when Parliament resumes later this month he'll hammer the Liberals on three of the hot button issues of the summer: taxes, asylum seekers at the border and a payout to Omar Khadr.``Our job from now until the 2019 election and beyond is to convince Canadians there is a better way,'' he said during the party's two-day strategy meeting.What a Conservative better way might look like is also beginning to take shape.The summer coughed up a trifecta of events the Conservatives easily seized upon – a Liberal review of the tax code, a crush of asylum seekers crossing the border and a $10.5 million settlement with former Guantanamo inmate Khadr.To oppose each was a simple riff on Conservative values of seeking to keep taxes low, the border and immigration system secure and having little sympathy for Khadr, who was captured in a fight against U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.Scheer pledged Thursday the Tories will hold the government to account on all three when Parliament resumes.But there are other issues where the Tories are only just starting to map out their positions.Foreign affairs critic Erin O'Toole raised some eyebrows recently when he said the Conservatives have no time for the Liberals trying to push the environment, gender and Indigenous issues into the NAFTA renegotiation.Indigenous affairs critic Cathy McLeod said that doesn't mean the party has no time for First Nations issues writ large.She and other MPs spent time Thursday afternoon at the National Truth and Reconciliation Centre in Winnipeg, which is archiving and preserving stories told about the country's residential school system.A Conservative policy on Indigenous issues would likely focus on encouraging economic development, but that will be discussed at the party's 2018 convention, she said.``Right now, what we need to do is look at what the Liberals are doing and hold them to account for the work they're doing,'' she said.O'Toole said the Conservatives' position on missile defence for Canada is also up for discussion.Canada needs to find a way to work with the U.S. now that North Korea is testing missiles capable of hitting this continent, O'Toole said. Canada is not currently part of the U.S. continental missile defence system.``At an absolute minimum, we should always be willing to be at the table with our closest ally on this and we're going to be talking about how we might propose this to the government,'' he said.O'Toole is among the defeated leadership candidates to win a spot in Scheer's shadow cabinet; his proposal to turn illegal border crossings currently being used by asylum seekers into a formal points of entry has already been adopted by Scheer as one new policy idea.Maxime Bernier, another former candidate, said he intends to drop his signature leadership campaign promise – the end of supply management – from his efforts to shape Conservative policy on the innovation file, where he's now the critic.While it remains his personal belief, party members didn't vote for it and whether it goes forward as policy also rests with next year's convention, he said.For now, he'll push for inclusion of another key idea from his platform: the end to any federal support for corporations.``We'll have these discussions at the shadow cabinet and after that we'll take a position in the House and that will be the position of the party,'' Bernier said.Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, a former Progressive Conservative MP, told the group he'd like to see the federal Conservatives rethink their position on health-care funding.In 2011, the Conservative government at the time announced it would reduce the rate of growth of health-care transfers to the provinces to three per cent a year, from the earlier rate of six per cent.The change was to take effect this year and the Liberals, though they've signed deals with the provinces for additional funds for other elements of health care, have left the so-called escalator rate at three per cent.Pallister said he encouraged the Tories to come up with a better plan.``I'd like the federal party to do its own research, I've shared with them that there are numerous research articles, work that's been done, that clearly demonstrate that there is not a sustainable model in place right now,'' he said.Sources who were in the room said Pallister's pitch was met with silence.
September 5, 2017, Ontario - Exchanging the sweltering humidity of the Philippines for the unpredictable weather of southern Ontario, Miguel Decena, President of Decena Poultry Co., and his wife, Josephine, made the long trip from Manila to Toronto in order to tour the Jamesway facility and inspect their new hatchery equipment as it left the factory.The construction of the Decena’s new, state-of-the-art hatchery marks the company’s first foray into the incubation market, though they have long been dominant as poultry processors in the northern Cagayan and Isabela regions of the Philippines. The new hatchery will produce 241,920 chicks a week and plans are already in the works for a second operation serving the Luzon province sometime next year. Decena started the successful business himself almost 30 years ago when he was an independent distributor packing chickens into a small 4 wheeled ‘jeepney’. From there he has grown the company to over 400 full time employees and servicing over 2,000 stores daily. Decena is grooming his children to succeed him in the company, and, consequently, the entire family is involved in the operation in some capacity.Decena is very happy with his decision to go with Jamesway for the hatchery and values the company’s reputation for easy to use, efficient machines backed by excellent customer service. Mr. Decena says “Jamesway was the company that offered us the best return on our investment, along with such great service. The decision was very easy.” He is expecting to rely heavily on Jameway’s team of hatchery experts as he ventures into this new facet of the poultry industry.During their recent stay in Canada, the couple was able to visit Niagara Falls, tour some hatcheries and get a thorough understanding of Jamesway processes.
August 30, 2017, Hickson, Ont. - Weeden Environments is a global leader in providing new technology in products & equipment designed for the poultry and livestock industry to lower stress levels while improving performance and productivity. Weeden Environments is headquartered in Hickson, Ont., and the company recently hired more employees to support the growth of operations and expand customer services.“We continue to experience strong growth as we drive forward with our efforts,” Kevin Weeden, President said. “We’re excited to welcome our latest members, as they will each take on essential roles in strengthening our service. Bryce Bramhill, initially hired at Weeden Environments as purchasing manager in 2016, is moving into a role as operations manager/inside sales manager. Bryce joined Weeden after running his own business in Waterloo, Ont., for seven years. Combined, he has more than 15 years of agricultural experience both working and living on hog, and poultry operations. Additionally, he worked at a poultry equipment company in Listowel, Ont., for six years. In his role at Weeden Environments, Bryce will manage purchasing, shipping and receiving as well as oversee the internal operations and processes of Weeden Environments. Also, he will work collectively with the technical service support team to ensureall customers are completely satisfied.Mark Lingard joins Weeden Environments as the service manager. Mark brings a wealth of experience to the Weeden team as he spent numerous years running his own company and working for Tim Horton Children’s Foundation as the property and asset standards manager for seven camps throughout Canada and the U.S. Mark attended post-secondary education in the United Kingdom for physics and completed a surgical instrument course. He then moved to building and renovating homes where he specialized in custom furniture and became a master cabinet maker. Mark’s in-depth knowledge of the agricultural and technical aspects of Weeden Environments, will allow him to maintain Weeden’s high quality customer service through installing, repairing and servicing poultry equipment.Kevin Thompson will oversee Central and Eastern Ontario and the Niagara region as the territory sales manager for Weeden Environments. Kevin’s farming experience began early as he was raised on a dairy farm and eventually switched to growing broilers 14 years ago. In 2011, his family broiler operation successfully converted their broilers to antibiotic free. Kevin received his Honours Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Guelph and he also spent 4 years gathering data and administering protocols in poultry research at Maple Leaf Foods AgResearch, now Nutreco Canada AgResearch. With Kevin’s lifelong experience in farming combined with his deep educational background, Weeden Environments is thrilled for him to join the team.For further information on Weeden products, please contact: 
August 25, 2017 - Dairy may be getting all the attention in the upcoming NAFTA negotiations, but the chicken, egg and turkey boards aren’t letting their guard down as talks begin in mid-August.“The government has been clear in its support for supply management and we are confident it will continue to support and protect supply management during the negotiations while finding a way to work with the United States,” said Yves Ruel, manager of trade and policy for Chicken Farmers of Canada. “It has been done before successfully and we believe it will be done again.”The Canadian chicken sector believes the reason it’s not in the spotlight is that the existing NAFTA arrangement has provided stability and predictability to chicken producers on both sides of the border. READ MORE
August 18, 2017, Vancouver, British Columbia – The governments of Canada and British Columbia are working under the AgriRecovery disaster framework to determine the type of assistance that may be required by British Columbia’s agriculture sector to recover from the impact of wildfires.The announcement was made following the first meeting between Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay and B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham."The AgriRecovery response will help B.C. ranchers and farmers recover from their losses, and return to their land and their livelihoods. Our governments are working with producers, local officials and stakeholders, and the results and spirit of resilience is collective and clear, we will work together to respond to this emergency until the job is done," Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture said. Government officials are working together to quickly assess the extraordinary costs farmers are incurring and what additional assistance may be required to recover and return to production following the wildfires.The types of costs under consideration include: Costs related to ensuring animal health and safety. Feed, shelter and transportation costs. Costs to re-establish perennial crop and pasture production damaged by fire. "Our Government stands with producers in British Columbia who are facing challenges and hardships because of these wildfires. Together, with our provincial counterparts, we will work closely with affected producers to assess the full scope of their needs and help them get back in business as quickly as possible," Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said.
August 17, 2016, Ottawa, Ont. - The Government of Canada is listening to Canadians from across the country and from all sectors and backgrounds about trade. This includes conversations with the provinces and territories, industry, unions, civil society, think tanks, academics, Indigenous peoples, women, youth and the general public."We recognize that trade policies need to respond and contribute meaningfully to Canadians’ economic, social, and environmental priorities. This is a key element of the Progressive Trade Agenda, which supports the Canadian middle class and those working hard to join it," read a Government of Canada press release. "NAFTA's track record is one of economic growth and middle class job creation in Canada and across North America. As we prepare for discussions with the United States and Mexico on the renegotiation of NAFTA, we are seeking your views. Are there areas of the agreement that could be clarified? Are there parts that should be updated? Are there any new sections that should be part of a modernized agreement?"For more information and to submit your views on NAFTA, visit: http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/consultations/nafta-alena/form-formulaire.aspx?lang=eng
August 16, 2017, United Kingdom - The UK should not accept imports of chlorinated chickens as part of any future trade deal with the U.S., Michael Gove has said.The environment secretary told the BBC that the UK would not "compromise" on or "dilute" its animal welfare standards in the interests of trade.The EU currently bans chlorine-washed chickens on welfare grounds.International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has questioned this but downplayed the potential for UK-US disagreement.It will be up to the UK to decide whether to retain the ban once it leaves the EU in March 2019.Labour said the government's "casual and inconsistent" approach risked undermining British farmers.On a visit to Washington, Fox said chlorinated chicken was just one detail in one sector that would only be addressed at the end of discussions about a free trade deal - which are likely to be years away.He has suggested there are no food safety issues regarding chlorine-washed chickens, a view shared by many UK experts. READ MORE
August 16, 2017, Alberta - Public trust is eroding in Canada, and farmers — along with others in the value chain — need to fight back, says the head of a new ag organization aimed at winning back confused consumers.“The whole industry needs to know a whole bunch more about consumers,” said Kim McConnell, an Okotoks-based marketing expert and new chair of the The Centre for Food Integrity. “That’s what the primary focus of The Centre for Food Integrity is.”The centre, based in Guelph, Ont., is holding its first “public trust summit” in Calgary from Sept. 18-20. The conference is designed to show members of the agricultural industry how to earn the trust of consumers. READ MORE
Keith Robbins grew up on a farm just north of London, Ont. There were no feathers in the mix. Instead, his family raised cattle, pigs, some sheep and grew grains. But today he heads up one of the country’s most important poultry organizations.Four years ago, Robbins became executive director of the Poultry Industry Council (PIC). He assumed the role after two decades in communications positions with Ontario Pork. “The only commonality was that they’re both monogastrics,” Robbins says in comparing the two industries.The Centralia College grad, who holds an agricultural business management diploma, had to be a quick study, as he was tasked with leading PIC through a major transition.As background, the organization was founded in 1997 when the Ontario Poultry Council and the Poultry Industry Centre merged. The move brought both groups’ responsibilities – education extension, event co-ordination, and research administration and co-ordination – together under the newly created PIC moniker.Then in 2013 it took a different direction. Ontario wanted a one-stop centre to streamline the application process for livestock study. Thus, the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC) was born and Tim Nelson, then PIC’s executive director, became the new entity’s CEO.That’s when Robbins entered the fray. Supported by a small team of staffers working out of PIC’s head office near Guelph, Ont., and guided by a dozen directors, he was tasked with refocusing the council solely on education extension, events and project management. Its research responsibilities would be gradually transferred to the LRIC.A few years in, Robbins is happy with how the transition progressed. “It became an opportunity for us to look at how we run events and manage profitability,” he says.Indeed, as PIC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it has plenty to celebrate. Its events continue to draw, not just more producers, but more industry salespeople as well. These reps often become extension staff for the council by sharing the resources it develops. “They often ask, ‘Can I get a couple more copies of that handout?’ ” Robbins says. “That’s a great opportunity for us to put out other factsheets.”The London Poultry Show, the council’s marquee trade event, drew record numbers two years in a row. Likewise, its annual golf tournament also saw its largest ever turnout last year. And PIC continues to add to its events portfolio, now averaging about two events per month. The council grew its presence in Eastern Ontario as part of that effort, including bringing its Producer Updates educational series to St. Isidore.What’s more, membership has steadily increased, despite widespread industry consolidation that would typically mean fewer members. “The driver is the material they’re developing,” says Al Dam, poultry specialist with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).“We try to ensure everything we do is driven by our members,” Robbins explains. “They ask and we provide what they need.” Take culling, he cites as an example. One of PIC’s most highly regarded initiatives in recent years was its Euthanasia Resources and Training Project.PIC’s shareholders identified a strong need for consistent training in the area. Many family farms had developed their own euthanasia practices over the years that they’d pass down. “There may be three generations of you that were doing this in a less efficient manner,” Dam points out.Thus, the council worked with a diverse range of experts to develop a three-part educational package. “The intent was to have everyone trained to the same level so that the industry has a defendable standard,” Dam continues.Part one was the “Timely Euthanasia of Compromised Chicks & Poults” poster – a practical guide that helps producers identify young birds that should be culled. The second instalment was the “Practice Guidelines for On-Farm Euthanasia of Poultry” manual.That document provided the basis for the third instalment – PIC’s Euthanasia Training Program, which is available to farmers in both classroom delivery and video format. Feather boards, organizations and producers across the country utilized all three resources.PIC’s Poultry Health Day is another example of the council responding to industry trends. While events like Producer Updates and Poultry Research Day often included health-related topics, Robbins and co. saw value in dedicating an entire event to such issues.Thus, it held its first Poultry Health Day August 2015 in Stratford, Ont. One of the main topics was avian influenza, naturally, as the London Poultry Show was cancelled just a few months before due to an outbreak. The inaugural event was a success, drawing 130 attendees. One of this year’s hot topics was infectious bronchitis, which has plagued Ontario poultry farms in a variety of sectors this year.Dam expects poultry health to be an ongoing concern for producers and, thus, the council. On the layer side, for example, he sees old diseases the industry solved years ago resurfacing due to housing changes. “What’s old is new again,” he says.On the broiler side, Dam sees brooding becoming a bigger issue in need of PIC’s attention. He points out that days-to-market continue to shorten each year. This means the brooding period becomes a larger percentage of a bird’s life in the barn. “You screw up that first few days it follows you all the way through,” Dam says.Going forward, Robbins wants to see a more co-ordinated effort to address farmers’ concerns quicker. Currently, universities conduct the research, LRIC helps with administration and PIC plays that outward role. “That process has to be more interwoven,” Robbins says. “What can we do to solve that problem now?” He also hopes to start live streaming council events to expand its reach.Looking back on his previous career, Robbins says one of the biggest differences between pork and poultry is marketing legislation. Supply management gives the industry the stability it needs to focus on finding innovative solutions to trends and challenges producers face. That’s where PIC fits in. “Our role is helping understand what those trends are and what they mean for farmers.”
August 15, 2017, Winnipeg, Man. - The controversy over Manitoba Chicken Producers’ (MCP) new annual specialty quota program has been resolved with both sides satisfied they were treated fairly by a ruling from the Manitoba Farm Producers Marketing Council (MFPMC).In a ruling in early July the council told MPC to postpone charging administrative fees for 10 years among those participating in the program, recognizing the financial impact the additional fees would have on existing participants. At the same time its ruling stated support for MPC’s move to adopt new policy seeing a need to modernize and update the manner in which chicken is regulated. READ MORE 
With a new president in office in the United States, the Canadian agriculture industry and many other sectors are keeping a close eye on trade agreement developments. In general, Turkey Farmers of Canada chair Mark Davies notes, “There’s a lot of uncertainty in the farm community about trade agreements, and not just with supply managed commodities.With unease brewing, we asked industry leaders to weigh in with some insights.CETAFirst, there’s the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) held between the European Union and Canada. This pact will be fully implemented over the next six years, but while it affects dairy and other agricultural products, it does not have a direct impact on eggs, turkey or chicken.TPPThe U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in January, putting ratification among the remaining 11 nations in flux. As to whether or not Canada will be pursuing completion of the deal, Global Affairs Canada says, “Canada is open to opportunities that would strengthen free trade within the Asia-Pacific and advance our economic interests in the region.” Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council (CPEPC) president Robin Horel says his association would not be opposed to Canada pursuing ratification of a TPP deal. “Although we were not pleased with the significant amount of additional access to the Canadian market for broiler chicken, table eggs, turkey and broiler hatching eggs that the Canadian negotiators gave up when they negotiated the TPP, we understood that they made the best deal they could, taking into account the additional access they were able to negotiate for other Canadian products, particularly other Canadian agricultural products…CPEPC went on record as supporting the TPP deal that was struck,” Horel says. He adds that even though the domestic market access commitments were significant under the current TPP, “we believed that certainty for our industry would be good for investment and growth. Having said that, if TPP does not get renegotiated, those additional market access commitments go away and that is a benefit to our supply managed poultry and egg industries.” However, Horel notes that if other Canadian industries could benefit from a renegotiated TPP deal, CPEPC would not be opposed, but rather expect fewer market access concessions than the current version. “Frankly, I would have expected virtually all of the increased imports to come from the U.S., given their proximity to our market, their cost structure and our working relationship with them,” he adds. “If a new TPP is negotiated without the U.S., and if there are some market access concessions given for Canadian poultry and egg products, I am unsure which of the TPP countries would be able to supply.”Davies does not see the current TPP terms as positive for turkey producers. “Over the full implementation period of 18 to 19 years, as it stands the TPP allows for a 71 per cent increase in import access, the current equivalent of four million kilograms or $271 million, with a Canadian farm output loss of 4.5 per cent,” Davies says.   According to the executive director of Chicken Farmers of Canada, Mike Dungate, the TPP, as it reads now, would allow access to 2.1 per cent of Canada’s chicken market, which would have provided certainty for Canada’s chicken industry over a long period. But, he adds, without the U.S., the chicken aspect will have to be renegotiated.NAFTAFinally, there’s the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which took effect in 1993. In early March, U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross announced negotiations on changes and additions to NAFTA would start later this year. Ross stated in a Bloomberg News interview that Mexico and Canada “know they’re going to have to make concessions. The only question is what’s the magnitude and what’s the form of the concessions.” He says items were missed in the original agreement, others handled incorrectly, and that “several chapters need to be added because of the digital economy and other things that have developed subsequently.”Horel calls NAFTA renegotiations a big unknown. “I expect there will be a number of pundits that will express their thoughts about renegotiating NAFTA being an opportunity to dismantle supply management,” he says. He wonders if Canadian negotiators will believe there is something to be gained in other sectors by giving increased access to our poultry market to the U.S. Horel also does not see a lot of opportunity for export gain in NAFTA renegotiations. “Certainly, the U.S. is a low cost producer and among the world leaders in exports of poultry and egg products. There could be some niche market gains in Mexico,” Horel adds. Access for American chicken to the Canadian market under NAFTA is based on the previous year’s production level in Canada. This being the case, access is always increasing. “The balance of trade is already in the favour of the U.S., so we would push back hard on any suggested tweaks,” Dungate says. “Mexico is the largest U.S. chicken export market and Canada is third. We mostly import high-value items like breast meat and wings. We have respected NAFTA from the start and have never tried to block U.S. access or any other access to our market, so it’s tiring to hear the constant myth that we block imports to drive prices up. There is an overall perception that supply management equals a closed market, but it equals a predictable market. Globally, only about 10 per cent of the world’s chicken production is traded. We are the thirteenth-largest importer of chicken in the world.”Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) explains the volume of eggs imported into Canada is managed by Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs), which limit imports to a predetermined volume, keeping them predictable. Current TRQs for NAFTA are almost three per cent of each previous year’s domestic production. For the TPP as written, it’s 19 million dozen eggs per year phased in over the 18-year implementation period, and for the World Trade Organization it’s 21.37 million dozen eggs per year. “We continue to monitor the status of trade negotiations closely,” says Rowan Weerdenburg, EFC communications officer. It’s expected that all other commodity groups will be watching as well. “Market access is always a concern,” Davies says. “We are not against trade. Canada is a trading nation, but we want supply management maintained.”
I was determined to find a memorable way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, being such a special milestone. What better venue to show my pride at than at the Toronto Blue Jays game, I thought. Luckily, my family and I were able to land some nice seats along the first baseline.The party didn’t disappoint. (Though the home team getting trounced 7-1 dampened the mood a bit. Also, the Boston Red Sox wore Fourth of July uniforms on Canada Day for some reason – one player even warmed up in stars and stripes boxers. But I digress…)I couldn’t help but feel patriotic watching dozens of Canadian soldiers unveil a massive version of our flag for the national anthem. But by far the most moving moment was watching a World War II vet rise from his wheelchair to throw the first pitch. Indeed, while the team came up short on the field, the organization did an excellent job of stirring up patriotism.Now, Canadian Poultry and our colleagues at Annex Business Media are looking to do the same. We’re dedicating a week to honouring agriculture and farmer contributions to this country. Dubbed Ag150, every day for five days starting September 18 we’ll look back at the issues that have shaped Canadian farming, including poultry production, as well as what may lie ahead.We’ll detail agriculture’s most significant milestones, profile some of our longest-standing barns, including a century-plus old egg operation that’s still thriving, and delve into scientific and technological advances that will shape production for years to come. We’ll also have numerous leaders from across the spectrum reflect on their industry’s past, present and future as part of our coverage. On that note, one of the most informative discussions I’ve had during my time with Canadian Poultry was with Robin Horel, president at Canadian Poultry & Egg Processors Council.As the leader of an organization representing members in all four commodity groups, including chickens, turkeys, eggs and hatching eggs, Horel has a unique grasp of the wide range of issues facing poultry as a whole. During our interview, the full version of which will be available here, he outlined the distinct issues each sector faces.What’s more, Horel singled out the biggest challenge he sees all poultry groups sharing for years to come: aggressive animal activism. “They’re turning their attention away from communicating with consumers towards blackmailing customers and holding their brands for ransom,” he said. Such tactics have been effective in convincing retailers and food service companies to adopt policies that Horel feels lack scientific backing. For instance, in his opinion demanding that egg producers go “cage-free” will do nothing to improve animal welfare, food safety or nutrition but will drive up costs.That said, he sees a better way forward for poultry. “I think that industry’s got a good story to tell and it needs to revolve around sustainability,” he says, citing the push for slow growing broilers as an example. “You can produce a chicken that grows in double the amount of time a current chickens grows but to do that you’ll need twice as many resources, twice as many barns and almost twice as much feed… So I think our story is a good one.”Be sure to visit Ag150.ca for our can’t-miss coverage – you’ll even have a chance to win an iPad!

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