Why is biosecurity so difficult?

Why is biosecurity so difficult?

They’re an ancient foe, a worthy opponent.

Algae for healthier eggs

Algae for healthier eggs

Canadian egg farmers have a new opportunity to offer healthy eggs high in omega-3

Alternative bedding

Alternative bedding

Bedding is being examined as an increasingly important factor in poultry health

Precision livestock farming

Precision livestock farming

When a farmer enters the barn, he or she hears first, then sees, then smells the environment.

Turkey hens like it hot

Turkey hens like it hot

Animal welfare is the greatest impetus for our work

Videos
April 27, 2017, Gloucester, Ont. -  The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) has developed a training program to help Canadian producers strengthen their workforces through on-the-farm training. The program, called AgriSkills, can be customized and made available to various commodity and sector organizations to help their member producers train workers in an easy-to-use and effective manner that documents results. Research is currently available to customize the AgriSkills program for broiler hens, as well as, aquaculture, beef, swine, sheep and goats, grains and oilseeds, potatoes, apples, mushrooms, sod, and apiculture industries. Recently released CAHRC research indicates the gap between labour demand and the domestic workforce in agriculture has doubled from 30,000 to 59,000 in the past 10 years and projections indicate that by 2025, the Canadian agri-workforce could be short workers for 114,000 jobs. The industry is in need of effective mechanisms to address skills gaps, train farm employees and track training progress. AgriSkills is a training program that meets this need. It is a program delivered through national and provincial commodity and farm organizations who want to offer their members meaningful workforce training support. It includes structured on-the-farm training courses and employee tracking tools to support effective performance for new and existing workers. The AgriSkills program includes training resources for both workers and their managers. On-the-job, self-guided activities help workers learn how to do their job safely and efficiently, while e-learning and online videos offer more in-depth information on the theory behind the practice. For managers, AgriSkills provides on-the-job training guides, checklists, tracking tools and other resources to help them support and manage their worker training requirements.  “The purpose of the AgriSkills program is to help producers train their workers in a consistent, efficient and effective manner, that documents all results,” explains Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director of CAHRC. “The system recognizes the importance of on-the-farm instruction, and gives employers an effective tool to ensure workers are taught how to perform their jobs successfully and safely.” The core content of AgriSkills was developed with the help of experts, producers and small-business owners from a wide range of agriculture commodity groups. Their input enabled CAHRC to create a set of National Occupational Standards that reflects the work conducted on farms at various levels. By using training materials based on these standards, employers can ensure their workers have the skills they need to meet national standards of safety, competency and productivity – skills that reduce waste, minimize loss, and support business success.AgriSkills is one of several tools that CAHRC offers to help modern farm operations manage their workforce. CAHRC also offers the Agri HR Toolkit– an online resource guide and templates to address the HR needs of any business; Agri Pathways – promoting careers in agriculture; and Agri Talent – a national database of learning opportunities in agriculture.   The AgriSkills program was funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program. For more information on these and other CAHRC offerings visit www.cahrc-ccrha.ca.
April 25, 2017, Columbus, OH - Keel bone health is increasingly seen as an animal welfare metric in alternative housing systems. A new research study shows the majority of keel bone damage originates from collisions with perches inside the layer house.Dr. Maja Makagon, assistant professor of applied animal behavior at University of California, Davis’ Department of Animal Science, discussed the results of a study conducted to analyze keel bone damage in a layer environment. Makagon, who spoke on April 19 as part of the Egg Industry Center Egg Industry Issues Forum in Columbus, Ohio, said the study utilized accelerometers and 3D imaging technology to study the force of the collisions and measure their effects on the keel bone.The keel is an extension of the sternum that provides an anchor for the bird’s wing muscles and provides leverage for flight. As laying hens are being removed from a conventional cage environment, Makagon said, keel integrity is increasingly seen as an indicator of animal welfare. Damaged keels are associated with increased mortality, reduced egg production and egg quality, and keel damage is likely associated with pain for the animal. READ MORE
April 17, 2017, Dufferin County, Ont. – On behalf of the four feather boards, the Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC) is issuing an Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) Disease advisory to all poultry industry service providers operating in a 10-km zone in Dufferin County southwest of Shelburne. FBCC has been alerted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) that birds from a small backyard “dual purpose” chicken flock in Dufferin County have tested positive for Infectious Laryngotracheitis. The lab submission came through the Small Flock Surveillance Project administered by OMAFRA and the University of Guelph. OMAFRA staff are providing advice to the small flock owner and his veterinarian to ensure proper biosecurity and disease control measures are implemented. This advisory status is anticipated to last until late May. READ MORE
Increased pressure on the poultry industry to produce antibiotic-free chickens remains a challenge, as rearing birds without antibiotics results in an increased risk of pathogen contamination. The Canadian poultry industry is faced with an increased risk in the development of necrotic enteritis, known to be caused by Clostridium perfringens bacterium.  
March 30, 2017, University Park, PA — Poultry and animal disease experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are urging commercial poultry producers to ramp up their vigilance and biosecurity in the wake of recent outbreaks of avian influenza in several states. In early March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) announced that a commercial flock of breeder chickens in Tennessee tested positive for highly pathogenic avian flu, or HPAI. Since then, USDA-APHIS has revealed another case of the same H7N9 virus at a second Tennessee farm, and Alabama agriculture officials announced an outbreak of suspected low-pathogenic avian flu affecting three premises in that state. In addition, low-pathogenic avian flu was reported in a Wisconsin turkey flock and a Kentucky broiler breeder flock, and routine surveillance has found the presence of low-pathogenic avian flu in wild waterfowl in various states. The pathogenicity of a virus refers to its ability to produce disease. Some H5 or H7 viruses have the capacity to mutate into "high-path" strains under certain conditions, according to Eva Wallner-Pendleton, senior research associate and avian pathologist in Penn State's Animal Diagnostic Laboratory. "Low-path AI viruses can go undiagnosed because they often produce very little illness or death," she said. "The time needed to mutate into high-path viruses varies considerably from weeks to months, or it can occur rapidly." Infection with North American strains of low-pathogenic avian flu is a common natural occurrence in wild birds, such as ducks and geese, which usually show few or no symptoms, Wallner-Pendleton explained. "But if these strains get into a poultry flock, they can mutate and become highly pathogenic, causing significant mortality," she said. She noted that poultry flocks infected with low-pathogenic H5 or H7 avian flu subtypes often will be culled to stop the spread of the virus and to keep it from becoming more virulent. The recent Tennessee outbreak occurred within the Mississippi flyway, which is one of four paths taken by wild birds when migrating in the spring and fall in North America. During the 2014-15 outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian flu that led to the loss of about 50 million turkeys and laying hens in the Midwest, the Atlantic flyway – which connects with the Mississippi flyway – was the only migratory flyway not affected. "In Tennessee, one of the affected poultry houses was near a pond, which may have attracted wild waterfowl," Wallner-Pendleton said. "In cool, wet weather, bird droppings can contain viable virus for a long time, and the pathogen can be spread to poultry flocks on people's shoes or on vehicle tires and so forth. So a key biosecurity recommendation is to prevent any contact between waterfowl and domestic poultry and to take steps to ensure that the virus is not introduced into a poultry house on clothing or equipment." Gregory Martin, a Penn State Extension poultry science educator based in Lancaster County, pointed out that state and federal agriculture officials are strongly urge producers to develop an HPAI flock plan and augment it with a comprehensive biosecurity plan. "These plans may be required for producers to receive indemnification for any losses resulting from an avian flu outbreak," he said. To assist producers in developing a biosecurity plan, Martin said, Penn State poultry scientists and veterinarians have developed a plan template that can be customized for various types of flocks.
March 28, 2017, Atlanta, GA – A flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation located in Chattooga County has tested positive for H7, presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). This is the first confirmation of avian influenza in domestic poultry in Georgia. The virus was identified during routine pre-sale screening for the commercial facility and was confirmed as H7 avian influenza by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Ia. As a precaution, the affected flock has been depopulated. Officials are testing and monitoring other flocks within the surveillance area and no other flocks have tested positive or experienced any clinical signs. The announcement follows similar confirmations from Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee in recent weeks. The Georgia case is considered a presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza because the flock did not show any signs of illness. While LPAI is different from HPAI, control measures are under way as a precautionary measure. Wild birds are the source of the virus. Avian influenza virus strains often occur naturally in wild birds, and can infect wild migratory birds without causing illness. “Poultry is the top sector of our number one industry, agriculture, and we are committed to protecting the livelihoods of the many farm families that are dependent on it,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black. “In order to successfully do that, it is imperative that we continue our efforts of extensive biosecurity.” The official order prohibiting poultry exhibitions and the assembling of poultry to be sold issued by the state veterinarian’s office on March 16, 2017, remains in effect. The order prohibits all poultry exhibitions, sales at regional and county fairs, festivals, swap meets, live bird markets, flea markets, and auctions. The order also prohibits the concentration, collection or assembly of poultry of all types, including wild waterfowl from one or more premises for purposes of sale. Shipments of eggs or baby chicks from National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), Avian Influenza Clean, approved facilities are not affected by this order.
March 22, 2017, Frankfort, KY — Federal and state authorities say a case of low pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a commercial poultry flock in western Kentucky. Kentucky State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout said the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the presence of H7N9 low pathogenic avian influenza in samples taken from the Christian County premises. The virus exposure at the premises was initially detected by the Murray State University Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville while conducting a routine pre-slaughter test last week. Dr. Stout said there were no clinical signs of disease in the birds. The affected premises are under quarantine, and the flock of approximately 22,000 hens was depopulated as a precautionary measure, Dr. Stout said. “Dr. Stout and his staff have extensive experience and expertise in animal disease control and eradication,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “They have an excellent working relationship with the Kentucky Poultry Federation and the poultry industry. They are uniquely qualified to contain this outbreak so our domestic customers and international trading partners can remain confident in Kentucky poultry.” Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) may cause no disease or mild illness. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) can cause severe disease with high mortality. The Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian and its partners in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) are conducting surveillance on flocks within a six-mile radius of the index farm, Dr. Stout said. The company that operates the farm is conducting additional surveillance testing on other commercial facilities it operates within that area.
Canadian egg farmers have a new opportunity to offer healthy eggs high in omega-3 to nutrition-focused consumers thanks to a recent decision by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
March 16, 2017 – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed a second case of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza in a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tenn. This H7N9 strain is of North American wild bird lineage and is the same strain of avian influenza that was previously confirmed in Tennessee. It is not the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia. The flock of 55,000 chickens is located in the Mississippi flyway, within three kilometers of the first Tennessee case. Samples from the affected flock, which displayed signs of illness and experienced increased mortality, were tested at Tennessee’s Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. The USDA is working with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises, and depopulation has begun. Federal and state partners will conduct surveillance and testing of commercial and backyard poultry within a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the site. The USDA will be informing the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as well as international trading partners of this finding. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facilities to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions to prevent illness and contain disease spread.
March 15, 2017, Montgomery, AL — State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier, in consultation with Commissioner John McMillan, has issued a stop movement order for certain poultry in Alabama. “The health of poultry is critically important at this time,” said Dr. Frazier. “With three investigations of avian influenza in north Alabama on three separate premises we feel that the stop movement order is the most effective way to implement biosecurity for all poultry in our state.” The first two investigations were on two separate premises in north Alabama. One flock of chickens at a commercial breeder operation located in Lauderdale County, Ala. was found to be suspect for avian influenza. No significant mortality in the flock was reported. The other premise was a backyard flock in Madison County, Ala. Samples from both premises have been sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, and are being tested to determine presence of the virus. The most recent investigation began following routine surveillance while executing Alabama’s HPAI Preparedness and Response Plan. USDA poultry technicians collected samples at the TaCo-Bet Trade Day flea market in Scottsboro located in Jackson County, Ala. on March 12. Samples collected were suspect and those samples are on the way to the USDA lab in Ames, Iowa. USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) on a joint incident response. This suspected strain of avian influenza does not pose a risk to the food supply. No affected poultry entered the food chain. The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low. “Following the 2015 avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest, planning, preparation, and extensive biosecurity efforts were escalated in Alabama. Industry, growers, state and federal agencies and other stakeholders have worked hard to maintain a level of readiness,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan. “Our staff is committed to staying actively involved in the avian influenza situation until any threats are addressed.”
March 10, 2017, Nashville, TN – The Tennessee state veterinarian confirms that a flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation has tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). This chicken breeding operation is located in Giles County, Tenn. The company that operates it is different from the one associated with the recent detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Lincoln County. At this time, officials do not believe one premise sickened the other. On March 6, routine screening tests at the Giles County premises indicated the presence of avian influenza in the flock. State and federal laboratories confirmed the existence of H7N9 LPAI in tested samples. “This is why we test and monitor for avian influenza,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher said. “When routine testing showed a problem at this facility, the operators immediately took action and notified our lab. That fast response is critical to stopping the spread of this virus.” As a precaution, the affected flock was depopulated and has been buried. The premises is under quarantine. Domesticated poultry within a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the site are also under quarantine and are being tested and monitored for illness. To date, all additional samples have tested negative for avian influenza and no other flocks within the area have shown signs of illness. The primary difference between LPAI and HPAI is mortality rate in domesticated poultry. A slight change to the viral structure can make a virus deadly for birds. Avian influenza virus strains often occur naturally in wild migratory birds without causing illness in those birds. With LPAI, domesticated chickens and turkeys may show little or no signs of illness. However, HPAI is often fatal for domesticated poultry. The Giles County LPAI incident is similar to the Lincoln County HPAI incident in that both the low pathogenic and highly pathogenic viruses are an H7N9 strain of avian influenza. USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirms the H7N9 virus that affected the Lincoln County premises is of North American wild bird lineage. It is not the same as the China H7N9 virus affecting Asia and is genetically distinct. The Lincoln County premises affected by HPAI remains under quarantine. To date, all additional poultry samples from the area surrounding that site have tested negative for avian influenza and no other flocks within the area have shown signs of illness. Testing and monitoring continues.
March 8, 2017, Barron, WI – A low-pathogenic bird flu strain has been detected in a Jennie-O Turkey Store operation in Barron, Wis., marking the second bird flu case in a U.S. commercial operation this week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture posted notice of the Barron County case to the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health's website March 7. Hormel Foods, which owns Wilmar-based Jennie-O, confirmed the H5N2 strain was detected March 4 at its Barron operation. The USDA report said 84,000 birds are at the farm. READ MORE
April 19, 2017, Grande Prairie, Atla. - Farmers in the Peace Region returned 19,871 kilograms of obsolete and unwanted pesticides and 450 kilograms of livestock and equine medications, including poultry medications, through CleanFARMS' obsolete collection campaign this year.CleanFARMS, which operates the program, is a national, industry-led agricultural waste stewardship organization. Collections took place at six participating ag-retail locations throughout the region from September 21-23, 2016. This marked the first time that a combined collection of pesticides and livestock medications has been offered in the Peace Region. CleanFARMS partnered with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) to add the collection of livestock and equine medications to CleanFARMS' existing obsolete pesticide collection program.The obsolete collection program is generally delivered in each province or region of the country every three years and comes at no cost to farmers. The free disposal program will be delivered again in the region in 2019. In between collections, farmers are encouraged to safely store their unwanted pesticides and livestock medications until they can properly dispose of them through the program. The obsolete collection program is part of the plant science and animal health industry's commitment to the responsible lifecycle management of their products. READ MORE
April 18, 2017, Peterborough, Ont. – The government of Ontario has announced plans to grow opportunities for local poultry through the Greenbelt Fund. The Greenbelt Fund will support 24 new projects across Ontario, totalling over $830,000 in new investments through the province's Local Food Investment Fund program. One of the 24 projects is the Reiche Meat Products Ltd., which will see $14,550 put towards establishing a poultry processing facility in Renfrew County. The availability of an abattoir in Renfrew County will allow existing small-scale poultry farms to scale up and meet growing demand for local poultry at farmers' markets and in stores. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $100,000 and bring 20 new farmers to market. Since 2010, the Greenbelt Fund has seen a 13:1 return on its investment in local food projects. READ MORE Other projects include:Poechman Family Farms Microgreens for Pastured Eggs ($38,100) Poechman Family Farms will invest in significant changes to its barn to improve quality of life for its hens as well as quality and flavour of its eggs, meeting consumer demand for humane eggs. The project will involve the introduction of a new perch for the hens, and specially grown greenhouse microgreens for the hens' diet. The pilot will allow Poechman Family Farms to share learnings with other egg farmers in the Organic Meadows Co-Operative and the Yorkshire Valley Farms distribution family. National Farmers Union – Ontario Building a Network of Local Food Advocates ($32,675) The National Farmers Union – Ontario will enhance local food literacy across the province by building a network of local food advocates across a number of sectors, including educators, healthcare providers, faith communities, artists, academics, outdoors professionals, and youth. The NFU will create tailored local food information material for the different advocates and create a directory of local food advocates. Victorian Order of Nurses – Windsor Essex Promoting Local Food Literacy & Increasing Local Food Consumption in Southwestern Ontario Schools ($18,988) The Victorian Order of Nurses delivers school breakfast and snack programs that feed over 100,000 students every year. This project will develop local food literacy awareness materials for students and parents, to accompany increased local food served through these programs. Bayfield Berry Farm Increasing Processing of Ontario Fruit Juices, Cider, Preserves & Fruit Liqueurs ($37,250) Bayfield Berry Farm will expand their on-farm processing facility to meet growing demand for fruit juices, ciders, preserves and fruit liqueurs. The expansion will allow Bayfield Berry Farm to develop packaging and labelling, including requisite nutritional information, to sell their products to wholesale and retail markets, in addition to their on-farm shop. The project is expected to increase sales by up to 50% in their first year. Cauldron Kitchen Inc. Local Food Entrepreneurship Program ($5,000) Cauldron Kitchen will launch a Local Food Entrepreneurship Program for 4-8 participants to build the skills to create a viable local food business. Participants will have access to business development classes, mentoring and commercial kitchen use. Cohn Farms Processing and Distribution Hub ($72,500) Cohn Farms will be scaling up capacity at its processing and distribution hub to meet growing demand for local food, which is outpacing supply. The project is expected to double the number of farms supplying Cohn Farms to 25-30, create over 15 full-time equivalent jobs, and increase sales of local food by over $4m per year. Deep Roots Food Hub Grow West Carleton – Food Hub ($48,500) Deep Roots Food Hub will increase access to local produce by investing in a new co-packing approach for its roots cellar, providing storage, distribution and marketing opportunities to area farmers. In addition, the project will expand the Good Food Box program and include an "Eat West Carleton" promotional campaign.Earth Fresh Farms Increasing Access for Ontario's New Innovative White Potato ($42,900) Earth Fresh Farms will work with 9 Ontario growers to grow premium Polar White potatoes and extend the season for Ontario white potatoes. The project is expected to increase the market for Polar White, Ontario potatoes significantly, with increased sales of well over $1m a year. Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario Supporting Local Food Market Access for Ecological Growers Across Ontario ($14,475) The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario will increase market access for small to mid-scale ecological producers by providing specialized training through workshops and farm tours, including selling to new markets (eg. Food hubs, retail, wholesale, farmers markets), on-farm value-added opportunities, and new and emerging markets (eg. World crops, heritage grains, ecological fruit). Farmersville Community Abattoir Farmersville Community Abattoir – Processing Equipment ($30,141) Farmersville Community Abattoir is a new, not-for-profit initiative to establish a community-owned abattoir to meet the needs of the farming communities in Leeds and Grenville, Frontenac, Lanark and Ottawa-Carleton. By establishing a community-owned facility, Farmersville Community Abattoir will help ensure the long-term viability of the agricultural system in Eastern Ontario for 1,300 farmers in the region and increase local food sales by $240,000. Farms at Work – Tides Canada Initiatives Expanding Impact and Sustainability of Local Food Month in Peterborough ($15,000) Farms at Work will expand the impact and improve the sustainability of Peterborough Local Food Month, by working in partnership with Transition Town Peterborough to facilitate local food-related workshops, events and tours throughout September and culminating in the Purple Onion Festival. Flanagan Foodservice Homegrown – Local Food Project ($42,840) Flanagan Foodservice is Canada's largest family-owned foodservice distributor and will increase sales of Ontario foods by increasing its local food offerings, improving traceability, and investing in a promotional campaign to improve awareness of Ontario food available to its customers. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $1 million in 2017.Greenhouses Canada Northern Ontario Mobile Growing Facility ($52,283) Greenhouses Canada will purchase a mobile "grow truck" to serve as an indoor demonstration and training site, and allow for transportation of fresh produce to remote northern communities (including on seasonal ice roads). The project is expected to increase local food sales by $117,000. Halton Healthcare Good For You, Locally Grown – Phase 2 ($51,500) Halton Healthcare will build on the progress made to increase local food served in its hospitals by working with farmers, manufacturers and other industry colleagues to develop recipes using Ontario food that meet the nutritional needs of patients. The project will also establish branding to identify local food choices to patients, as well as a marketing campaign to promote the local food offerings at Halton Healthcare facilities. Len & Patti's Butcher Block Improved Production Efficiency to Increase Ontario Raised Pork, Beef, Lamb, Elk & Goat ($46,438) To meet growing demand for Ontario raised meats, Len & Patti's Butcher Block will invest in modernized machinery to increase production capacity. The project will include a new smoke house, tumbler, sausage stuffer, and patty machine. The increase in production capacity is expected to increase the sale of local meat by $2.5 million by the end of 2017.Local Line Inc. Local Line Food Hub Project ($28,316) Local Line will build custom local food hub software for Ontario food hubs, based on a market assessment of the needs of Ontario's existing food hubs. The platform will leverage existing Local Line marketplace and reporting software to create easy-to-use software for new and established local food hubs. Munye Kitchens Increasing Local Food Outreach – Multi-Ethnic African Communities & Beyond ($23,495) Munye Kitchens will create a local food guide for multi-ethnic African communities to increase awareness of locally-grown foods relevant to the African communities and identify where Ontario-grown produce can be purchased. The project will also educate consumers on how to use African crops like okra and callaloo, grown in Ontario and the Greenbelt. Muskoka Foundry Market Assessment for the Development of a Local Food Hub ($30,000) Muskoka Foundry will establish a new aggregated local food hub in Northern Ontario in Bracebridge's historic Foundry building. The space will include 10 permanent retail spots for agri-food processors, and provide mentorship opportunities for new processors and producers through an additional 10-15 temporary vendor stalls.  The project is expected to increase local food sales by $1.5m per year. Neyaashiing Smoked Fish Increasing Access for Local Neyaashiing Smoked Fish Products ($13,250) Neyaashiing Smoked Fish will invest in upgrades to its smoking facility to improve food preparation, food safety and production output. This will allow Neyaashiing Smoked Fish to increase access to new markets for smoked fish sourced and processed in First Nations communities, both through retail and wholesale market channels. Select Food Products Implementation of New Cooking Line to Increase Production Capabilities and Access the Ontario Market ($75,000) Select Food Products has made a significant investment in a new cooking and production line in order to deliver a made-in-Ontario with Ontario ingredients French's Ketchup. The project will nearly triple production capacity for Select and help French's to execute on its commitment to make and source ketchup in Canada.   Wendy's Mobile Market Season-Extension, Value-Adding Processing and Services ($71,538) Wendy's Mobile Market will retrofit a cow barn into a local food processing and storage facility to offer season-extending and value-added processing to local farmers. The facility will create new processed products including jams, jellies, preserves, dried fruit, and frozen entrees. West Niagara Agricultural Society Niagara 4-H Local Food Booth ($14,463) West Niagara Agricultural Society will partner with Niagara 4-H to purchase a road-worthy trailer for the volunteers of the 4-H club to bring to food and agricultural events throughout the region. The trailer will allow the 4-H to introduce their local food products to urban and near-urban students who might not otherwise be exposed to local food offerings. Wickens Lake Sunshine Greenhouse Retrofit Extension – Northern Ontario ($9,942) Wickens Lake Sunshine will invest in a retrofit and extension of its existing hydroponics greenhouse to extend the farms' growing season and increase capacity. Once the upgrades are complete, Wickens Lake Sunshine will partner with Open Roads Public School and the Cloverbelt Local Food Co-Op to supply produce for the school's salad bar program, bringing more local, nutritious food to students.
With public pressure on the Dutch agricultural sector to address issues related to environmental sustainability and animal welfare, industry stakeholders came together to design a new broiler production concept called Windstreek. The concept not only addresses public concerns, but also improves economics at the farm level.
Kevin Weeden was raised on a turkey farm just outside of New Hamburg, Ont. Back in the ‘60s, he remembers seeing the Hybrid turkey crews arrive and change their boots and clothing. Eventually he became Hybrid’s vice-president of sales and marketing, a position he held until 1995. And that, he said, gives him confidence when stating Hybrid is the best in the world at biosecurity.
When Canadian Poultry introduces new technologies for the farm, we often leave readers wondering “where are they now?” months or years later. Well, wonder no more. We’ve tracked several seemingly groundbreaking innovations and now we’re bringing you updates on how those innovations have panned out since we first presented them in our pages.
In November 2016, poultry producers from around the world gathered to hear Erik Helmink, marketing director at HatchTech, share his expertise on antibiotic-free poultry production at EuroTier, the world’s largest livestock production trade fair.
In January, new broiler producer Brent Pryce welcomed more than 20,000 birds (14,000 quota) into his brand new barn in Walton, Ont.
They’re an ancient foe, a worthy opponent. For over 300 million years, we’ve been battling the bugs of infectious disease – but are we winning?
March 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont – Egg Farmers of Canada and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) recently announced the release of a revised Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Layers. Canada’s codes of practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals. They serve as the foundation for ensuring that farm animals are cared for using sound management and welfare practices that promote animal health and wellbeing. Codes are used as educational tools, reference materials for regulations, and the foundation for industry animal care assessment programs. “Canada’s more than 1,000 egg farmers are deeply committed to and strive for continuous improvements when it comes to the care and well-being of their hens,” said Roger Pelissero, chairman of Egg Farmers of Canada. “Egg Farmers of Canada is a long-time supporter of the National Farm Animal Care Council. We value the leadership of the code committee and their dedication to evidence-based standards that serve as a key building block to our national animal care program,” he added. NFACC’s code development process is a uniquely consensus-based, multi-stakeholder approach that ensures credibility and transparency through scientific rigour, stakeholder collaboration, and consistency. Updates to the layer code were led by a 17-person code committee comprised of egg farmers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, transporters, egg processors, veterinarians and government representatives. Aiding in their work was a five-person scientific committee that included research and veterinary expertise in laying hen behaviour, health and welfare. A public comment period was held in the summer of 2016 to allow the public and all stakeholders to provide input. “The new code provides progressive standards for hen welfare in Canada,” said poultry welfare expert Dr. Ian Duncan, who represented the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the code committee. “We worked diligently for almost four years to secure these important new welfare commitments.” Canada’s codes of practice are a powerful tool for meeting rising consumer, marketplace and societal expectations relative to farm animal welfare. Codes support responsible animal care practices and keep everyone involved in farm animal care and handling on the same page. “The code of practice is an important tool for egg farmers across the country,” explains Glen Jennings, egg farmer and chair of the code development committee. “The new code is the result of four years of in-depth scientific evaluation and rigorous discussion. The outcome balances hen welfare, behaviour and health in a manner that is sustainable and achievable by farmers.” The new layer code is available online at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/poultry-layers.
Uniformity of body weight within a breeder flock remains a key challenge faced by the hatching egg industry. Broiler breeders are genetically selected for increased growth rates, which is associated with an increased appetite. Reproduction in broiler breeders is impeded unless their growth is constrained, which has resulted in the implementation of feed restriction strategies that may not allow for co-ordination of nutrient requirement and nutrient supply in non-uniform flocks.
Last year marked a spectacular achievement for the Canadian egg industry. “It was the 10th consecutive year of growth in retail sales of eggs,” says Bonnie Cohen, Egg Farmers of Canada’s (EFC’s) long-time director of marketing and nutrition. “In addition, our end-of-year data for 2016 shows that retail sales increased 5.6 per cent over 2015, which translates to an increase of 16.8 million dozen.”
As many of us have heard on the news recently, food security in Northern Canada is a serious problem. Most people in the Far North are completely reliant on food produced in the south. Food is generally very expensive, but fresh fruit and vegetables in particular cost three to four times what they would elsewhere. Numerous new greenhouse initiatives are underway to address the problem – most of them employing high-tech green energy solutions and extremely high levels of insulation.
April 28, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Pecking Order, a new documentary film set at the 2015 New Zealand National Poultry Show, takes viewers into the world of competitive poultry pageantry and examines the politics in the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in its near 150-year history.Competitive poultry pageantry is not only a highly entertaining hobby—it’s an obsession. For members of Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in New Zealand, it’s also way of life.Senior member, Beth Inwood, and president, Doug Bain, have tasted the glory of raising perfect rosecomb cockerels and rumpless pullets, while newbie teenagers Rhys Lilley and Sarah Bunton enjoy the good clean fun. But feathers start to fly when infighting breaks out in the club during the run-up to the 2015 National Poultry Show.As energetic as any sport film and as comedic as you’d imagine Best in Show chicken pageantry to be, Pecking Order serves up an endearing look at poultry passion.Pecking Order is set to premiere at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto, Ont., on April 29.For more information, visit: Pecking Order - Hot Docs International Film Festival
April 11, 2017, Calgary, Alta. - A mother-daughter duo from Alberta is capitalizing on the growing popularity of backyard farming by launching a rent-a-chicken business. Megan Wylie works alongside her mother on their Millarville family farm to run, The Urban Chicks, a company aimed at providing customers with everything necessary to operate a backyard chicken coop. Customers are given two chickens, a coop, organic feed, grit and oyster shells, feed dishes and cleaning supplies. In October, the chickens are picked up and returned to the Millarville farm. Wylie says this allows customers to acquire fresh eggs while avoiding caring for the chickens in the more tedious winter months. The Urban Chicks even provide their customers with a ‘laying guarantee,’ where they will replace a hen if it stops laying eggs. READ MORE
March 1, 2017, Dublin, OH – The Wendy's Company recently announced the expansion of its Supplier Code of Conduct, which now includes all U.S. and Canadian contracts managed by Quality Supply Chain Cooperative (QSCC) and suppliers that provide a significant stream of goods or services to Wendy’s on an annual basis. "We expect all of our suppliers to comply with the law and use best practices in all aspects of their operations, and to conduct business in a way that is consistent with the values of Wendy's and our franchisees,” said Todd Penegor, president and CEO of the Wendy's Company. “Further, it's important to us to reaffirm our past commitments and aspire to even greater accomplishments in the areas of environmental and social responsibility." The code focuses on topics important to the Wendy's brand and its customers, including food safety and food ingredients, farm animal health and well-being, human rights and labour practices, environmentally sustainable business practices, and business ethics and integrity. The company will now add approximately 100 additional suppliers to be covered by the code, including all U.S. and Canadian contracts managed by QSCC, and suppliers that provide a significant stream of goods or services to the Wendy's Company on an annual basis. The code will also require third party reviews related to the human rights and labour practices of certain produce suppliers. The decision to add third party reviews was due in part to the nature of agricultural work, its workforce, and an evaluation of various risk factors. The code's provisions apply to all suppliers. However certain sections may be inapplicable to certain suppliers. Wendy's Supplier Code of Conduct is accessible under the Responsibility tab in Supply Chain Practices section of its website.
February 24, 2017, Mississauga, Ont – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. recently reported net earnings of $181.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. This is up from $41.6 million in net earnings reported at year-end 2015. “We finished 2016 with a strong quarter sustained by solid commercial performance,” said Michael H. McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. “With the combination of our increasingly competitive cost structure, and commercial strategies that intersect with important consumer needs and trends, we are well positioned for future profitable growth.” The company’s Meat Products Group, which includes value-added fresh poultry products, reported a 1.2 per cent increase in sales, earning $3,316.5 million for 2016. Fourth quarter sales alone were $824.4 million, a decrease of 5.1 per cent from the previous year.   Margins in prepared meats improved due to lower operating costs across the network. Earnings in fresh poultry declined slightly as industry processor margins receded from record levels in the fourth quarter of 2015.   Prepared meats sales declined slightly in response to a price increase in the first quarter but strengthened as the year progressed. Fresh poultry sales increased due to stronger volume and an improved sales mix.
Jan. 26, 2017 - Poultry genetics company Aviagen has reported that its new hatchery in Watertown, N.Y. is now fully operational and began shipping chicks to customers in early November.Located in upstate New York just south of the Ontario border, the Watertown hatchery is strategically situated to efficiently supply Canadian customers with broiler breeding stock. “Aviagen continually makes investments that result in better service to customers,” says Kevin McDaniel, president, Aviagen North America. “The new hatchery enables us to keep up with the region’s expanding demand for our products, while at the same time promoting the success of our customers by offering them the highest quality of chicks possible.”The Watertown facility has become Aviagen’s seventh commercial breeding stock hatchery in the U.S.With a hatching capacity of up to 135,000 high-quality chicks per week (7 million per year), the new hatchery is able to effectively keep up a growing demand in the region. It is equipped with advanced technology equipment such as Jamesway Platinum incubators and hatchers, which are designed for heightened biosecurity and energy efficiency. Sophisticated environmental controls ensure consistently exceptional hatch results and provide the highest level of care available for our eggs and chicks.The new hatchery boasts a favorable strategic location. Its nearness to Aviagen customer farms translates to minimal transport times, which safeguards the safety, health and welfare of day-old chicks. And, the close proximity to JFK airport in New York makes it a logical location to safely and securely export choice broiler breeding stock.The new hatchery also contributes to the economy of the Watertown community, by employing 40 local people.
Jan. 13, 2017 – After graduating from high school, Gary Baars hung up a shingle as TNT Agri-Services, offering “relief milking and much more.” “Much more” soon started becoming a reality and on Jan. 11th, the now 33-year-old Chilliwack, B.C. dairyman, hay salesman and cattle dealer and his wife, Marie (26), became the B.C. & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers for 2017.In 2006, TNT Agri Services turned into TNT Hay Sales as Baars started selling hay, first to local horse farms and then to local dairy farms.“We sell a lot of hay to different dairy farms,” Baars says. Not long after, the young entrepreneur expanded TNT to include cattle sales. When Farm Credit Canada offered him a large loan with “no strings attached” in early 2011, Baars used it to start his own dairy farm.“I had enough money to buy quota for 15 cows,” he recalls.Two years later, Marie’s grandmother asked if they would manage her 160-cow 80-acre dairy farm in east Abbotsford. The Baars agreed on condition they could buy it.“We amalgamated our small herd with her larger herd and have been steadily improving the facilities over the past few years,” Baars reports.His entrepreneurship did not stop there. Last year, he purchased additional hay-growing acreage in Greendale and joined up with two partners to buy a 472-acre 100-cow dairy in Manitoba.“We have already grown that farm by 20 per cent,” Baars says.He has also served as a director of both the Mainland Young Milk Producers and the B.C. Young Farmers. Baars’ entrepreneurial spirit even extends itself to his recreational activities. Gary and his father-in-law have begun holding Cornfield Races twice a year, inviting friends and neighbours to race beat-up cars on the farm.To earn the 2017 award from judges Rick Thiessen (2004 BC & Canadian Outstanding Young Farmer), Mark Sweeney (retired B.C. Ministry of Agriculture berry and horticulture specialist) and Kurt Bausenhaus (KPMG), the Baars outpointed Jeremy and Tamara Vaandrager ofVaandrager Farms in west Abbotsford.After managing several egg farms for other owners, the Vaandragers obtained a 3,000 bird quota in the 2010 B.C. Egg Marketing Board new entrant lottery. In the six years since, they have increased their quota holdings to 6,000 birds and are in the process of converting their farm from a free-run operation to an aviary.“Aviaries have become common in Europe but it is still a relatively new system in North America,” Vaandrager notes.The BCOYF program is sponsored by the BC Broiler Hatching Egg Commission, Clearbrook Grain & Milling, Farm Credit Canada and Insure Wealth. To be eligible for the award, applicants must be under 40 and derive at least two-thirds of their gross revenue from farming. They arejudged on the progress in their agricultural careers, the sustainability of their farming operations and involvement in their industry and community.Gary and Marie Baars will represent B.C. at the national OYF competition in Penticton, B.C., in November. The national competition is supported by AdFarm, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Annex Business Media, Bayer Crop Science, BDO, CIBC, Farm Management Canada and John Deere.
The arduous review process is over and the award has now been bestowed. Of the various operations nominated for the 2016 Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award, Farmcrest Foods Ltd. (Farmcrest) is the winner.The enterprise was started in 1999 and is owned by Richard Bell and his brother-in-law Alan Bird, whose families both originate from Ireland and came to Canada looking for new opportunities. In addition to Richard and Alan, members of three generations of the families currently help out on the farm, including Richard’s father Cecil (a retired farmer), brother Henry and sons Henry Jr. and Jack.  The operation includes: a hatchery and poultry barns (in addition to growing their own birds Farmcrest also contracts 16 new entrant growers to supply chicken to their processing plant); feed mill; processing plant; rendering plant (renderings are not used on the farm but sold for animal feed); enclosed mechanical composting for bird mortality, and crop production (200 acres of owned land and 400 acres of leased land farmed with potatoes, sunflowers and soybeans). Farmcrest also has its own poultry retail store. In total, the operation employs 45 people. The farm itself is situated on soils ranging from clay and loamy clay to sandy loam with some peat areas in a relatively flat river bottom area near Salmon Arm, B.C. “It is also very close to Shuswap Lake,” Bell explains. “We therefore need to be very careful with the amount and type of nutrients applied to this well-drained area to prevent runoff.” Farmcrest’s regular nutrient management practices include using a concrete pad (contained to prevent runoff) for manure storage. There is also virtually no runoff of nutrients from the fields (and little odour) as manure is worked in with a disc or ploughed under immediately after application. “We only apply the manure to the fields needing it for the seed that is being planted,” Bell notes. “Our soil health has improved steadily in the last five years since these measures were put in place.” No commercial fertilizers are used.Farmcrest has an environmental farm plan and has used expert advice from a certified crop advisor since 2011. In 2013, Farmcrest also began a working relationship with Poultry Partners, a team of technicians, production specialists, veterinarians and nutritionists based in Airdrie, Alta., which offers a variety of agricultural industry services. The firm supported Farmcrest’s nomination for the sustainability award through a letter of recommendation - as did the British Columbia Chicken Marketing Board. “They’ve done an excellent job farming intensively in a very ecologically-sensitive area,” Shawn Fairbairn, Poultry Partners general manager says. “They have committed to improve soil fertility, optimize production and most importantly, reduce chemical and pesticide use and virtually eliminate synthetic fertilizer to ensure the surrounding ecosystem remains undisturbed. There is on-going monitoring and testing of the manure, soil and crops to ensure their goals are being reached. The investment in new equipment to allow for less soil disturbance and odour when poultry manure is applied is one example of their forward-thinking.”  Fairbairn also notes that farm equipment is continuously upgraded at Farmcrest so that the most precise technology is used with the most fuel-efficient engines. “By growing about 85 per cent of all the feed ingredients their chickens consume, they have dramatically reduced the carbon footprint of their operation,” he adds. Farmcrest also uses moisture and pH meters for soil testing to understand when conditions are optimal for manure application. An overall goal to achieve air quality improvement (reductions in odour, ammonia and particulate matter inside and outside the barn) has been achieved by ensuring an optimal level of nitrogen is available to the birds. Ingredient and feed sampling are conducted on a regular basis to track this, and tests to track soil nitrogen levels are also completed annually. Because of all this monitoring and adjustment (not to mention an on-farm feed mill that makes immediate changes in the ration possible), Farmcrest has seen improvements in bird growth as well as air quality and soil improvement. No irrigation is used at Farmcrest, and as much water as possible is conserved through the use of an ‘air chill’ system in the processing plant, nipple drinkers in the barns and a misting system for barn disinfection. Farmcrest has built 14 new poultry barns in the last five years, and Richard says their goal with each build is to be as energy efficient as possible. This includes the use of R60 insulation, LED lighting, high-efficiency electric motors and radiant tube heating. Product differentiationFarmcrest was the first in its region to grow grain corn and now non-GMO grain corn. This led to the operation breaking new ground on a national level by being the first poultry operation in Canada to market non-GMO chicken (verified through nongmoproject.org). Poultry Partners assisted with further development of products. “[Farmcrest] listened to their customers and have proactively responded to the demand that was there in their local market. This has been extremely good for their business and the long-term financial viability of their operation.” Fairbairn describes the Bird and Bell families as having a “tangible passion” for poultry and farming. “We love working with clients that are ‘hands-on’ and engaged,” he notes. “And the folks at Farmcrest are extremely engaged. Their work ethic and commitment to the environment and their local community is easy to grasp when you spend time with them. They are big believers in continuous learning and improvement. There is on-going reinvestment in all aspects of their operation to allow for improved welfare, safety and production efficiency for the birds, workers and the food they produce.”  Team effortThe fact that the Farmcrest owners directly work alongside their employees every day has created, in Fairbairn’s view, a culture of hard work and high standards. “It is also unique to see three generations of family all working together towards a common goal,” he notes. “The youngest generation is actively involved in working and planning and will be well prepared to continue the legacy of this agri-business. The owners are always looking for new technologies and ideas. They literally travel the world to attend trade shows, farm tours and crop production events to ensure they are on the leading edge of agriculture. As a consulting group, we are extremely fortunate to have a client like Farmcrest.” Bell says he feels honoured that Farmcrest has won the 2016 Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award. “It is very much a team effort,” he notes. “I wish to thank my staff and our team for their dedicated efforts each and every day.” Visit farmcrestfoods.ca if you would like to read in more detail about the business.
Hybrid Turkeys, a division of Hendrix Genetics, has built a new breeder facility between Berkeley and Markdale, Ont. The name of the farm, “Berkdale” is a mix of the two.While construction of a new turkey breeder farm might not seem terribly newsworthy, this one is, firstly because of its location. The site was chosen at a significant distance from the company’s other operations in southern Ontario, mainly for biosecurity reasons. “Five years ago we wouldn’t have even considered a location so far away from our other farms,” says Hybrid Turkeys’ farm division manager, Marek Mirda. “To ensure secure supply to our customers, especially during disease outbreaks and establishment of quarantine zones, we looked for an area with distance from our own and other poultry farms. During disease outbreaks there can be an impact on healthy farms due to restriction of movement within quarantine zones, so we want to minimize or eliminate this potential risk.”Hybrid Turkeys began its search for a location by examining a Canadian Food Inspection Agency map of Ontario that pinpoints all types of livestock operations. “We evaluated this area on the map to choose a location with the least amount of poultry operations,” Mirda notes. “After working with real estate firms, we found this property between Berkeley and Markdale.”New designLocation aside, Berkdale has other important biosecurity aspects, with the most significant being a farm design that connects the barns. In the past, Hybrid Turkeys would have designed the farm so the egg house and lay barn (for example) were separate buildings, and staff would therefore have to change clothing and boots every time they would go between. “A system of separate entry and exit not only adds risk of picking up outside organisms, but is also difficult during winter months in Canada,” Mirda explains. “The new system has staff go through biosecurity procedures once and then they have safe access to the entire barn system.” Hendrix Genetics is in the final stages of upgrading a layer breeder facility in Ontario that will have the same design, he adds. In addition, Berkdale (and a Hybrid Turkeys pedigree facility as well) have a dry shower and other additional measures to keep foreign organisms as far away from the barn as possible - on both the brood/grow side as well as lay barn side. Upon arrival at the farm, staff and any visitors must enter the dry shower facility, which requires individuals to change out of street clothes into farm clothing and footwear. Next, individuals exit the dry shower into a neutral air pressure zone before accessing the completely enclosed wet shower rooms. After using the shower facilities, individuals change again into new farm clothing and boots, ready to enter the clean zone of the farm. Outside the buildings, there is complete separation of the clean and dirty zones. Dirty zone roads are for external suppliers to deliver fuel and other supplies without entering the farm area. Clean zone roads are only for internal clean vehicles that transfer staff or supplies between barns. All the buildings’ mechanical equipment can be accessed from the dirty zone so that contracted service technicians have quick access in case of urgent need. Hybrid Turkey employees have access to a storage garage in the clean zone with equipment only to be used within the clean zone, and one on the dirty side for use only in the dirty zone. Additional biosecurity was gained through filling any saw cuts on concrete with caulking to prevent particulates from settling in. “One of the project members suggested we used ‘an entire truckload of caulking’ to ensure no cut was missed!” Mirda reports. In addition, as part of the ventilation system, the farm features darkout hoods large enough for a person to fit inside, which makes it easier to ensure proper cleaning of these areas. There is also a wash station for vehicles on the ‘lay side’ of the farm.Berkdale also features an innovative truck-loading dock for the egg cooler, complete with dock-levelling equipment and seal for the truck. This system allows for the use of trolleys to transfer eggs from the storage room into the trucks rather than the traditional moving of eggs by hand. “Temperature shock is avoided,” explains Mirda, “and there is also no need for an outside connection, in that the delivery driver can stay in the cab while the eggs are loaded by internal staff. It’s a best-practices system that improves worker health and safety and minimize the handling of eggs.”Results so farBerkdale began operation in August and all systems are running smoothly with birds doing extremely well. Mirda says the winter season is when staff expects to see the new design of this facility to show its full benefits. This will be in part because use of the barns on the lay side (that are connected between egg house and laybarn) will begin then, and also, from a comfort and efficiency standpoint, workers will not have to go outside as much during the harsh weather.When asked what factors other poultry operators should consider in building a similar facility isolated from all other farms in the company, the Berkdale staff had good input. They pointed to the decision of whether to try and relocate current employees or search for new employees close to the new facility who may need a lot of training and support. They also pointed out that you have to be ready for staff and equipment from other company facilities to be dispatched as needed for hands-on assistance at the ‘orphan’ facility.Scott Rowland, general manager, Americas at Hybrid Turkeys says that although this facility came at a significant cost, the company leaders feel that the investment in Berkdale is the next step in biosecurity for both customers and staff. “The features of this facility were designed to secure the supply to meet our customers’ needs, while ensuring excellent health and safety of our workers,” he says. “This investment signifies our dedication to continuous improvement. By spreading out our operations, we are working towards the next generation of biosecurity.”Hybrid Turkeys also has production and research facilities in several other locations in Canada, as well as in the U.S., France, Poland and Hungary.
At a conference last month, I ran into a peer who I would dub an “agvocist” – someone very passionate about promoting agriculture to the point that it pours over into her personal Facebook posts.  This woman is, for lack of a more appropriate word, effervescent.But, when I asked her what she thought of two on-farm animal welfare breaches that made the mainstream news last fall, her shoulders sagged slightly and a small sigh escaped from her lips.  I was taken aback.“Sorry,” she said as she collected herself.  “It’s just that there’s so much good being done out there that doesn’t make the news but agriculture is a slave to its exceptions.”  We carried on chatting for a little while and by the end of the conversation, she was back to her usual bubbly self, but that one brief moment of resignation startled me – perhaps because it was so out-of-character.  I think any farmer who strives to do what’s right grimaces when an undercover video surfaces. We cannot deny that Code of Practice violations will occur from time to time on Canadian farms – and yes, poultry operations too.   What we can do, is acknowledge and correct those breaches.  We can train personnel, instil respect for the animals in our care, reprimand and penalize as necessary and learn lessons from what happened.But let us not forget that there’s another side to the coin.  As well as recognizing when things have gone wrong, it’s equally important to acknowledge things done right, and applaud the many shining examples we own in this industry of sustainable farming.  We congratulate not because they are exceptions, but because they are – happily – instances of the trending norm.  As an industry, it’s essential to remind ourselves of that.So, on that note, in this issue we are delighted to tip our cap to Farmcrest Foods Ltd. (Farmcrest) of Salmon Arm, B.C., recipients of the 2016 Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award.  As you read on, you’ll discover how Farmcrest is dedicated to continual learning and improvement, takes responsibility as stewards of a sensitive land area and works to ensure that employees are treated like family.  The operation is a true model of sustainability in all of its forms.Owners Richard Bell and Alan Bird will receive $2,000, and a farm gate sign as well as the award itself.  We congratulate them on their achievement.In closing, I would also like to take the time to first acknowledge all of the applicants for the award.  Your dedication and commitment to your own longevity and that of the industry is commendable. I would be remiss as well, if I didn’t acknowledge our Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award judges this year – former Canadian Poultry editor, Kristy Nudds; Valerie Carney, poultry research scientist and technology transfer coordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; and Al Dam, provincial poultry specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  The quality of the applicants was exceptional and selecting our winner was no enviable task.  Your thorough review process and willingness to give time to the selection of our winner is appreciated. Recognition, also, to would-be sponsors of the cancelled Canadian Poultry Sustainability Symposium: Big Dutchman, Clark Ag Systems Ltd., Chicken Farmers of Canada, Cobb-Vantress, Egg Farmers of Canada, Farm Credit Canada and Walbern Agri Ltd. Thank you for your support.
It’s been a year since Synergy Agri Group Ltd. (Synergy) in Port Williams, N.S. installed HatchCare – the first in Canada and the fourth company in the world to do so. And now, the company is currently producing 200,000 HatchCare broiler chicks a week.HatchTech of the Netherlands developed its ‘HatchCare’ incubation and chick care system to better benefit chicks, the environment and poultry farmers. The company conducted years of testing on HatchCare before rolling it out to market in 2014. The total number of chicks now being reared under the system per year is over 680 million, in Australia, China, Europe, South America, the U.S. and Canada. With HatchCare, the fertility of eggs is first checked using new lighting methods so that only 100 per cent viable embryos are incubated. Chicks are vaccinated while still in the egg. In a standard hatchery, chicks are shipped after emergence and receive their first food and water after they settle in on the farm a day later. In the HatchCare system, chicks are immediately able to drink and feed, which  – several research studies have shown – results in higher body weight and breast meat yield. HatchTech also cites research findings showing HatchCare chicks to be 1 cm longer at hatch due to their incubation conditions.HatchCare involves a unique and advanced handling system called HatchTraveller, where the chicks stay in small individual crates from hatching until delivery to the farm. The crates are then cleaned and disinfected for re-use. HatchTech representatives say this provides every chick with ongoing uniform conditions in terms of temperature, airflow and relative humidity. The highly energy-efficient HatchCare system also includes several features that enhance biosecurity, such as sealed incubators with filtered entry and exit air. Synergy's ExperienceDoug Kaizer, Synergy’s chief financial officer, is very positive about their decision to go with HatchCare. “We were expecting improvements in chick health, mortality, weight gains and feed conversion, but we did not expect the large improvement in early farm brooding,” he notes. “The chicks arrive ready to grow. We use lower initial temperatures, put less feed out on paper and generally treat the chicks as if they are a couple of days older than their age. This has shown to be a tremendous help in the older barns, where it was harder to get the proper conditions for the day-old chicks.”Kaizer says the system has also helped the company’s less-experienced barn managers. “The chicks aren’t as demanding, arrive with no hatchery infections and already have a built-in pattern for eating, drinking and resting,” he explains. “It has really levelled the playing field among different-aged facilities and experience levels of the farm operator.”With HatchCare, Synergy has also been able to significantly lower antibiotic use. Before the installation, an average of over 20 per cent of flocks had to be treated due to issues from the breeder flock/hatchery. With HatchCare, to date that’s less than five per cent, and in most cases, Kaizer says, the reason for the treatment has been identified and the issue removed at the hatchery level. He adds that their HatchCare hatchery will be the key component in their move to RWA (raised without antibiotics) broiler production. BiosecurityIn terms of biosecurity, Kaizer describes the system as “very” biosecure, partially because the entire setup - from egg delivery to chick delivery - takes place in areas isolated from each other, and because every process has built-in biosecurity aspects. “One of the best features is the ability to clean and disinfect after each batch of eggs and chicks are processed,” he says. With respect to fluff filtering, Kaizer notes that within the HatchCare setup, their processing room (take-off room) is extremely clean and by using a special storage area, they have reduced the size of the hatchery. Kaizer says they are adding to HatchTraveller by designing their own transport trailer, which will enable chicks to have feed throughout delivery, regardless of time or distance to the farm. “All chicks stay in the same box where they are hatched and do not undergo any of the stresses in traditional hatcheries related to handling by humans or machines,” he says. “The goal is to have an almost seamless transition for the chick from hatch to barn under perfect conditions.”On the energy efficiency front, Kaizer says it’s hard to make comparisons with their previous setup, as HatchCare systems are very automated and also require a lot of fresh air to maintain the perfect environment for the hatchlings. He believes they are just beginning to understand all the benefits of the system. Continuous improvement “Every aspect of the hatchery will see continued improvements over the next few months and years,” he notes. “We are working on specific incubation parameters for young and old breeder flocks as well as specific setups to enhance the hatchability and health of eggs kept over longer periods of time. Our hatching egg farms saw an immediate gain of four per cent hatchability, but we know that this can be improved by another two to three per cent with flock-specific incubation.”“We are continuing to experiment and adjust growing procedures in the barn as well the feed inputs for the broiler rations,” Kaizer adds. “Basically, we are examining every single aspect from the hatching egg farm to live transport to the processing plant to see how things can be improved for the chicks with the HatchCare system. The possibilities are almost endless.” Besides the initial cost of the system and needing to keep a good inventory of spare parts, the biggest drawback of the system in Kaizer’s view, is digesting the amount of information that’s becoming available and almost being overwhelmed by the number of future trials they want to do.Facility toursIn the past year, Synergy has hosted a lot of interested people who want to look at HatchCare in action. This has included staff from hatchery companies all over North America, South America, Europe and Australia. “As we say to all who have toured our facility,” Kaizer notes, “This is not an easy or cheap hatchery, but it produces the best chicks for the broiler farmer. If your organization’s goals are focused on health, animal welfare and broiler performance, this system is for you. But if your goal is least-cost hatching, you are better to look at the traditional hatchery systems.” However, he believes anyone thinking of building a new hatchery has to consider animal welfare and be concerned with traditional hatchers that don’t allow newly-hatched chicks access to food and water for many hours or days. He says all personnel at Synergy firmly believe HatchCare is the future of hatching for both animal health and animal welfare reasons. “When this system was unveiled,” concludes Kaizer, “we actually stopped our hatchery construction and redesigned the entire project to allow for the HatchCare system. Looking back, this was the best decision our company has ever made.” Return on investmentAsked about the return-on-investment timeline, Kaizer says that as an integrated system, when they add the profitability of the hatching egg farms and broiler farms to the hatchery profits, they are very satisfied with the rate of return. “Our customers [farmers and shareholders] not only benefit financially, but take great pride in knowing that the chicks they grow are the healthiest and most humanely-hatched chicks in North America,” he says. “There is no better return as a farmer than when you go home each day and can tell your ten year-old daughter that we hatch the healthiest, happiest chicks in the entire world.”
Consumers want to know where their food comes from and the vast majority of Canadians believe that it is important that domestic chicken be labelled as such.  Solid valuesBased on that feedback, Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) has made it easier for consumers to choose Canadian chicken with its new “Raised by a Canadian Farmer” logo, which will be applied to chicken products at the grocery store level.By buying chicken with this brand, not only are consumers getting quality Canadian chicken, but they are also supporting farmers they trust – farmers who effectively manage bird health and raise their birds with welfare top-of-mind, who produce safe chicken for Canadians, who preserve the health of the land and their farms and who provide value to Canada, and affordable food to Canadians through supply management. These are the key values of CFC’s new sustainability program. The first sustainability report will be published online in early 2017.  These concepts are what make  the Canadian chicken industry sustainable – the hard work, and the good work, of all chicken farmers.  The sustainability journey is a process of continual improvement. Chicken farmers have come a long way with the implementation of on-farm programs, responsible antibiotic use and growth in the industry which has contributed to the Canadian economy and helped support rural communities. There will always be more work to do, however. Chicken farmers are striving to continually evolve and work to improve policies and practices that will deliver on the expectations of Canadian consumers.     Read on for a summary of projects and initiatives.Protecting bird health and welfareCFC is implementing a national, mandatory Animal Care Program that is enforced and includes third party audits.The Canadian chicken industry is implementing a comprehensive “Antimicrobial Use Strategy” which involves surveillance, education, research and reduction.Innovation is the foundation that provides farmers with the information and tools to be able to effectively  manage bird health and welfare. CFC is a founding member of the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC), the organization through which the majority of research funds are allocated. The CPRC is dedicated to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities.Producing safe chicken for Canadians CFC is implementing a national, mandatory On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program which has received full recognition from the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. The Canadian chicken industry has an effective and responsive traceability system in place, as well as well as communication and operational plans for dealing with potential disease outbreaks. Preserving the health of our land Canadian chicken farmers have adopted practices on the farm to reduce environmental impact. Examples include renewable geothermal heating, high efficiency lighting, and improved manure storage to prevent groundwater contamination. The chicken industry’s environmental footprint has the lowest greenhouse gas intensity among all major livestock and poultry sectors in Canada [1]. Canadian chicken farms are healthy and vibrant, welcoming new entrants each year to a strong community of family farms. Providing value through supply managementSupply management allows for the implementation of on-farm programs, for farmers to invest confidently in their operations and for the industry to contribute positively to the Canadian economy.  It also allows chicken farmers to  give back to local communities and for consumers to be assured of a steady supply of fresh, high-quality chicken at a reasonable price.J. A. Dyer, X. P. C. Vergé, R. L. Desjardins and D. E. Worth, “The Protein-based GHG Emission Intensity for Livestock Products in Canada,” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, vol. 34, pp. 618-629, 2010. Note: Adapted from the presentation CFC prepared for the 2016 Canadian Poultry Sustainability Symposium.
Dec. 20, 2016 - The University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan campus has a new national research chair. In collaboration with Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC), UBC has named Nathan Pelletier as egg industry chair in sustainability/endowed chair in bio-economy sustainability management.Pelletier is cross-appointed to both UBC's Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences and the campus' faculty of management, to support interdisciplinary research at the Okanagan campus."Food system sustainability is a subject of increasing importance in Canada and beyond and I look forward to collaborating with UBC colleagues and others in this research area," says Pelletier. "I would like to thank Egg Farmers of Canada for their participation and support of this crucial area of study."As part of his role, Pelletier will be responsible for directing and managing research programs to support sustainability measurement and management for the Canadian egg industry and food sector more broadly. His work will include exploring sustainability measurement and management, life-cycle thinking and resource efficiency."We are proud to be working with Dr. Pelletier," says Tim Lambert, chief executive officer of Egg Farmers of Canada. "Egg farming is already one of the most environmentally sustainable forms of animal agriculture. Building on this reality, our strong commitment to sustainability and our investment in Dr. Pelletier's innovative research will ensure that the Canadian egg industry continues to improve its environmental footprint."Pelletier holds a BSc from the University of Victoria, a Master of Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University and an interdisciplinary Research PhD in Ecological Economics, also from Dalhousie. He also conducted post-doctoral research for Environment Canada and, most recently, for the European Commission Joint Research Centre's Institute for Environment and Sustainability.EFC will be providing funding for the new chair in connection with research activities, including the areas of sustainability measurement and management, life-cycle thinking and resource efficiency.EFC has released a video that provides additional information on Pelletier and his research, available online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig_PHQkYpfo.
April 27, 2017, Gatineau, QC - The U.S. Federal Drug Agency (FDA) is giving Quebec-based Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. regulatory clearance to produce a new GMO-free and low carbon animal feed.The approval gives Agrisoma agricultural license to commercialize a protein byproduct of the Carinata oilseed.Carinata is currently grown by farmers to produce oil that makes low carbon biofuels for the aviation industry. Agrisoma has discovered a powerful, natural protein inside the Carinata seed, which can also be processed to produce a nutritious, low carbon animal feed with overall greenhouse gas emissions significantly lower than animal feed made from other common crops used as feed in the livestock industry."This decision places Agrisoma at the forefront of creating a planet-friendly animal feed alternative that helps reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions in livestock production, poultry, aquaculture and dairy markets," says Steve Fabijanski, President and CEO of Agrisoma. READ MORE
April 24, 2017, Tucker, GA – The U.S. Poultry Foundation announced the completion of a funded research project at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, in which researchers report a potential cause of wooden breast lesion in broilers. The “woody breast” condition has long confused producers and processors, and research has been ongoing to find an explanation for the condition.The research project is part of the Association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.Dr. Benham Abasht and colleagues at the Univ. of Delaware found that the early lesions of the condition could be found in the breast tissue of one-week old broilers, and the first stage of the condition involves inflammation of the veins in the breast tissue and accumulation of lipid around the affected veins. The study went onto say that this condition was followed over time by muscle cell death and replacement by fibrous and fatty tissue. Genetic analyses also indicated that there was dysfunction in lipid metabolism in affected birds. This new understanding that inflammation of veins is the likely cause of wooden breast lesions in broilers will provide important direction for future research on this condition. READ MORE 
April 24, 2017, New York, NY- The U.S. government's latest report card on food poisoning suggests that a germ commonly linked to raw milk and poultry is surpassing salmonella at the top of the culprit list.The report counts cases in only 10 states for nine of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends.The most common bug last year was campylobacter (pronounced: kam-pih-loh-BAK'-tur). It's mostly a problem in unpasteurized dairy products, but also is seen in contaminated chicken, water, and produce. Salmonella was number one for the last 20 years but last year moved down to number two. Other causes like listeria, shigella (shih-GEHL'-uh) and E. coli trail behind.Last year, there were no significant changes in new case rates for most kinds of food poisoning, compared to the previous three years. The new report tallied about 24,000 illnesses and 98 deaths in the 10 states. The CDC estimates that one in six Americans get sick from contaminated food each year, though most cases are not reported.There's been a continued decline in illnesses from what used to be the most common strain of salmonella -- called Salmonella Typhimurium. That's possibly because of vaccinations of chicken flocks and tighter regulations. READ MORE
Chicago, IL, April 10, 2017 – Chicken remains consumers’ protein of choice while turkey shows room to grow, according to Technomic’s recently-released 2017 Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report. Chicken consumption has been bolstered over the past few years by increases at breakfast and snacking occasions. Meanwhile, turkey consumption is still centered on the holidays, though 39 per cent of consumers who eat turkey indicate they are more likely now than two years ago to eat turkey during the rest of the year. “Chicken’s adaptability will be on full display over the next few years as operators increasingly highlight this healthy protein across dayparts”, explains Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights at Technomic. “For turkey, operators will work to menu this protein in a way that is new and intriguing, but still leverages turkey’s positioning as a familiar and healthy standby.” Key takeaways from the report include: 47 per cent of consumers say it’s important for restaurants to be transparent about where they source their poultry 45 per cent of consumers who eat chicken strongly agree that restaurants should offer more chicken entrees with ethnic flavors 38 per cent of consumers who eat turkey would like restaurants to offer turkey as a protein choice for a wider variety of entrees
April 6, 2017, Nottingham, UK – Specially-bred wheat could help provide some of the key nutrients essential for healthy bones in poultry, reducing the need to supplement the feed, researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Aarhus University in Denmark have found. Scientists from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University, discovered that wheat can be bred naturally to produce high levels of phytase – an enzyme needed to release phosphorous, which the bird requires to grow a healthy skeleton. The wheat was tested on poultry in feed trials carried out at Nottingham Trent University’s Poultry Research Unit. The poultry industry has been very successful in improving bird productivity, with growth rates increasing threefold over the last 50 years. However, in order to ensure that bird welfare is not compromised, particular attention has to be focused on ensuring that a healthy, well-developed skeletal frame is produced. Nutritionists have tackled this issue through supplements, to ensure the correct mineral balance in the diet. A key component is phosphorous, a mineral found in plant tissues, grains and oil seeds and which is vital for skeletal growth and maintenance. However, not only is phosphorous supplementation very expensive but also the phosphorous, from plant sources, present in the feed of poultry and pigs has a very low bio-availability, being bound up in a plant substance called phytate. Phosphorous bound in phytate cannot be utilized by these monogastric animals because they have negligible amounts of the phytase enzyme in their gastrointestinal tract – which is needed to make the phosphorous from phytate bioavailable. This anti-nutritional effect of phytate is estimated to cost animal producers billions of dollars a year. In addition to this, phytate-bound phosphorous, which is excreted, can have negative impact on the environment such as via eutrophication. For the latest work, published in the journal Animal: An International Journal of Animal Bioscience, plant-breeding scientists from Aarhus University used their expertise to make it simple and efficient to breed wheat with naturally high levels of phytase. Scientists in Nottingham Trent University’s poultry nutrition research team then designed and carried out a poultry nutrition trial to compare this new source of phytase to traditional poultry diet formulations. The trial shows that inclusion of the high phytase wheat in the feed is a highly effective way to unlock the phosphorous in the diet for use by the animal. ”Aiming for high phytase activity in wheat grains has been a key research target for many years,” said Dr Henrik Brinch-Pedersen, group leader at Aarhus University’s Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. ”Reaching it was a milestone, but seeing that it works well in animal feeding is extremely satisfactory,” he added. “A particularly exciting additional implication of this work may actually be for humans. 700 million people globally suffer anaemia partly caused by the high phytate content of their diet. Providing a variety of wheat that contains its own phytate-destruction enzyme could improve the population health of many nations.” ”It has been exciting to explore a completely different way of providing meat chickens with the phosphorous needed for healthy bones,” said Dr. Emily Burton, head of the Poultry Research Unit in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences. ”We will be looking to explore further the possibilities of wheat-derived phytase, as emerging research in this field shows the anti-nutritional effects of phytate in poultry extends far beyond locking away phosphorous.” ”Wheat is the predominant ingredient used in poultry diets and over 50 per cent of all the wheat grown in the EU is used in the manufacture of animal feeds,” said Steve Wilson, monogastric nutritionist at the animal feed producers ForFarmers. “If the naturally occurring level of phytase in this major cereal can be increased then it can make a significant economic contribution to our aim to improve the efficiency and sustainability of future feed production.” Plant Bioscience Ltd (PBL, Norwich, UK) – an independent technology management company specializing in plant, food and microbial science – was also involved in the study and funded the work. PBL is now working with partners in the plant breeding and feed industry to bring this innovation into use.
Poultry production has been using antimicrobial agents, and more specifically, antibiotics, globally for many decades. Let’s not get confused with the terms antimicrobials and antibiotics. All antibiotics are antimicrobials but not all antimicrobials are antibiotics. Antibiotics are largely used to improve animal performance by minimizing the inflammation caused by bacterial and protozoal infections (Escherichia, Salmonella, and Coccidia, etc.) and are also called growth promoters.
April 4, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – The popular University of Alberta (U of A) Heritage Chicken program is here once again, offering small flock enthusiasts the chance to order heritage chicks until April 19. “Heritage chicks are vaccinated and hatched at the U of A’s Poultry Research Centre,” says Jesse Hunter, program coordinator. “This year, we’re offering Plymouth barred rock, brown leghorn, random bred broiler 1978, light Sussex and Rhode Island red chicks. We hatch a certain number of each breed every year, so check the website to order your favorite breed before they're gone.” Heritage chicks must be pre-ordered on the Heritage Chicken website, and will be available for pick-up at local Peavey Marts across Alberta. Up to 20 day-old chicks cost $8 each, 21-100 are $6, and 101-500 are $4. As part of the program, two small flock workshops are being held, April 12 in Spruce Grove and April 13 in Red Deer, and run from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Food and refreshments will be provided. “The workshops are an opportunity to learn about biosecurity, housing, nutrition, disease identification, behaviour, anatomy, and more,” says Hunter. “To register for one of the workshops, go to Eventbrite.” Register for Spruce Grove Register for Red Deer The Heritage Chicken program was established in 2013 to conserve multiple heritage chicken breeds housed at the University of Alberta Poultry Research Centre. The program gives people the opportunity to adopt a chicken and receive a dozen farm fresh heritage eggs every two weeks. All proceeds from the sales are donated back to the Poultry Research Centre to maintain the heritage chickens.
March 30, 2017, Quebec City, Que – It’s no secret that antimicrobial use and resistance is a complex, challenging issue re-shaping the future of animal agriculture and the feed industry in Canada and beyond. What does the feed industry need to know? What does the latest science say? How can people from across poultry, swine, beef, dairy and other production sectors maximize the power of nutritional strategies to tackle this issue? Researchers, feed industry specialists and other industry partners can get a unique, in-depth look at the latest science, challenges and opportunities on this issue, as the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC) hosts the inaugural Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada (ANCC), May 10 to 11 in Quebec City, Quebec. (Those wishing to attend should register right away as early bird registration ends March 31. Registration at regular rates will be available on a limited basis through early May.) The new ANCC brings together the former Western Nutrition Conference and Eastern Nutrition Conference into one united national event, featuring top speakers, hot topics and the latest science-based knowledge and progress, along with outstanding discussion and networking opportunities. The theme of the inaugural conference is “Nutritional Strategies to Reduce Antimicrobial Usage in Animal Production,” putting a spotlight on the latest best knowledge available to drive strategies for success. “The inaugural Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada introduces a dynamic new event and platform for feed industry professionals, featuring topics most relevant to our industry, with the objective that they come out of the conference with new ideas and insights to move us forward,” says Christian Bruneau of Cargill, industry co-chair of the ANCC organizing committee. “We wanted this first edition to be focused on reducing the use of antimicrobials in animal production, which is obviously a top priority of the feed industry in Canada and globally. The event is designed to provide an unbiased scientific overview looking at this theme from as many nutritional angles as possible, presented by experts in several diversified fields. We encourage everyone interested to attend and be a part of the learning and discussion.” The conference program and format represents a natural evolution of the former regional conferences, yet is newly designed to capture fresh synergies and deliver enhanced value for participants. “Bringing the industry together in a single forum is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and share best practices,” says Andy Humphreys of Verus Animal Nutrition, ANAC board member. “With a consolidated forum, leaders can come together to network, challenge and innovate in this ever-changing industry. It reflects the desire of our members to create a new world-class conference that supports the position of our animal agriculture sectors as global leaders in the production of safe, economical and nutritious food products.” The conference comes hot on the heels of the new Veterinary Feed Directive in the U.S. and ahead of new anticipated regulations and policy changes in Canada regarding usage of antimicrobials. “I applaud the organizing committee for choosing a theme that is extremely timely and relevant right now,” says Dr. Mary Lou Swift of Hi-Pro Feeds, chair of the ANAC nutrition committee, which is comprised of nutritionists from member companies. “Participants can look forward to getting all the pertinent current technical information, including information regarding feed ingredients, nutrition and management, with insights directly from top experts. This includes the opportunity to meet these speakers for more in-depth discussions. This is also an enjoyable social event and opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues, while making new ones.” Conference speakers include a range of top scientists and researchers from Canada, the U.S. and further abroad. The pre-conference sponsor is Biomin America Inc. Full program details, ongoing sponsor opportunities, and registration information are all available at www.animalnutritionconference.ca.
The German food industry has come together to form a partnership that addresses animal husbandry issues. Together, farmers, retailers and the meat industry are working to ensure stricter animal welfare standards are enforced – and that farmers are compensated for going the extra mile.
March 2, 2017, Madison, NJ – Merck Animal Health recently announced the introduction of the High Quality Poultry Science Award, aimed at supporting research in poultry health, production and welfare by tomorrow’s industry leaders. Starting this year, Merck Animal Health will award three masters or doctoral students who recently received degrees in veterinary or animal science with an emphasis on poultry, the unique opportunity to present their research to industry specialists. Winners will travel to Merck Animal Health High Quality Poultry meetings in Europe, the Americas and Asia, to review their research and network with some of the most renowned experts in the field. “At Merck Animal Health, we are proud to invest in the future of the poultry industry by supporting these young veterinary scientists with this new award program,” said Delair Bolis, executive director for global poultry, Merck Animal Health. “Our High Quality Congresses provide a forum for leading experts from across the industry to further foster innovation that will benefit poultry health, production and welfare.” Eligible graduates must have completed master or doctoral (PhD) research for an applied project in either veterinary or animal science, with an emphasis on poultry, and defended their degree in the past 12 months. Topics of interest include infectious diseases such as infectious bronchitis (IB), Newcastle disease (ND), infectious bursal disease (IBD), infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT), reovirus (REO), Salmonella or Campylobacter, as well as red mite control, general welfare, hatchery health, antibiotic reduction, and environmental impact. To apply, eligible graduates must submit a 300-word summary of their research project and a brief letter describing why they deserve the award, including how their work can contribute to the improvement of the poultry industry, to
February 17, 2017 – Biomin welcomed 145 delegates from 23 countries representing the feed and poultry sectors over several days in mid-February in order to address how to solve the antibiotic-free production puzzle. With the subheading of “Guidelines for a responsible use of antibiotics in the modern broiler production,” the event afforded participants the opportunity to consider a host of different viewpoints.Expert speakers explored the role of genetics, nutrition, biosecurity and farm management. Highly interactive exchanges throughout the event converged on the idea that a holistic approach is the way forward in reducing antibiotics while maintaining high performing flocks.
Although the table egg industry is significant in Canada, it remains vulnerable to shifts in consumer attitudes and perceptions. Eggs are washed prior to retail sale, to remove potential pathogens from the eggshell surface. However, cases of Salmonella poisoning do occur.  
April 28, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) Chair, Ed Benjamins and President and CEO, Rob Dougans met with Ontario Agriculture Minister, Jeff Leal, as well as representatives from the Premier’s Office and the Government caucus to discuss strategies to manage upcoming Canada/US trade negotiations and its possible implications for supply managed sectors industries.Leal reaffirmed the Ontario Governments longstanding support for supply management and his Government’s efforts to ensure that its value is understood by Canadians.Among other topics CFO discussed were the Board’s efforts to manage ongoing industry growth, to evolve the industry’s programs and policies to meet new and emerging consumer markets (Specialty Breeds, Artisanal Chicken, kosher chicken), and new opportunities for the chicken sector to develop new markets.CFO also presented its recent Economic Contribution Study of the Ontario Chicken Industry, which breaks down the chicken industry economic impacts on a county-by-county basis. READ MORE
April 25, 2017, Toronto, Ontario – A growing Muslim community in Canada has led to swelling sales of halal food, which has some grocers, manufacturers and eateries seeking ways to profit from the boom.''It's a huge business. It's an $80-billion business around the world. In Canada, it's about $1 billion and it's growing ... by 10 to 15 per cent a year, which is quite significant. It's much more than other categories,'' says Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University in Halifax.Halal means permissible in Arabic and refers to foods that have been prepared according to Islamic law. Animals must not suffer when they're slaughtered and must not see another animal be killed. Pork and its byproducts and alcohol are among forbidden items not allowed in the making of halal foods.While Canadians are increasingly seeing more halal products stocked by the big supermarket chains, the complexity of the supply chain has led to concerns about mislabelled food or fraud.Contamination and traceability were motivating factors for the formation of the Halal Monitoring Authority of Canada, says chief operating officer Imam Omar Subedar.A presentation on malpractices in the halal industry he attended in 2004 was eye-opening.''What we were exposed to was really, really bad. There was just no ethics, no controls, no nothing. It was very sad.''The HMA launched in 2006 with one certified chicken product. Now there are hundreds, with 30 inspectors in Ontario, three in Alberta, two in Quebec and a representative in B.C. There are plans to start operations in Saskatchewan.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency approved guidelines for halal products just last year.''Halal unfortunately has been heavily abused and this is why CFIA has gotten involved, which is unprecedented. The government doesn't get involved in religion, but for halal they did because of the malpractices that had been going on,'' says Subedar.Salima Jivraj, an on-the-go mom who founded Halal Food Festival Toronto in 2012 and runs the website Halalfoodie.ca, says the mainstream availability of halal products now means she can avoid multiple stops at independent shops during her weekly shopping trip.''I want to go to a grocery store because I'm busy,'' she says. ''Retailers are noticing now – 'how can we hone in on this?'''Sobeys Inc. launched the store Chalo FreshCo in 2015 in Brampton, Ont., with separate halal and non-halal meat counters and an assortment of rice, spices, lentils and snacks for South Asian customers.Loblaw Companies Ltd. has launched its own halal brand, Sufra, and also sells other brands of halal chicken, beef, lamb, yogurt, turkey and gummy candies.Jivraj suggests a lot of Muslims unknowingly eat non-halal products.''Immigrants come to the country and they might not necessarily know that they have to look out for halal. Coming from countries that are 100 per cent halal, it might be a new concept for them,'' says Jivraj.Reading labels doesn't always tell the entire story. Candies, yogurt, jellies, baked goods and pharmaceutical products may contain gelatin, which can be derived from pork. Animal shortening such as lard and brewer's yeast are not halal. Vanilla extract flavouring contains alcohol.''There's going to be more and more demand being driven for things like bakeries, confectionery, dairy including cheeses because a lot of animal byproducts are found in all sorts of categories in grocery and the consumers are realizing this as well and they're being more vigilant in the products that they buy,'' says Jivraj.Meanwhile, big fast-food chains like Pizza Pizza, KFC, Popeyes and Nandos have added halal options to their menus, while The Halal Guys, a fast-casual franchise that started as a food cart in Manhattan with huge lineups, is opening a Toronto location on May 5.''If there is more food offered to consumers they will buy more essentially,'' says Charlebois of the rise in halal offerings.
April 25, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Ed Benjamins, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO), presented a strong case for growth in the chicken sector at the 2017 Agricultural Lenders' Conference in Guelph.Benjamins noted that the sector had increased production by over five percent in 2015 and in 2016, and that the industry is still expecting further growth in 2017. The conference is hosted by the Poultry Industry Council and attracted more than 30 agricultural lending specialists from across the major financial institutions. Other presentations at the conference included reports from poultry sector partners, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and suppliers to the Ontario poultry industry.Benjamins, who farms near Moorefield, Ontario, noted that there were five key arguments for ongoing industry growth in the Ontario chicken sector. They include: Chicken protein’s alignment with current and emerging consumer tastes; The industry’s size and scale in the Ontario market which fosters increased market and product innovation; CFOs strength in supporting strategies to expand the industry’s profit pools; The recent introduction of a chicken industry digital network (CFO Connects) which will improve efficiencies and analytical capabilities; Progressive supply management leadership that is focused on transparency, accountability and leadership. The presentation also highlighted the Board’s strong sustainable production practices, effective risk management strategies, and focus on responsible corporate governance.
April 24, 2017, Columbus, OH - Egg farming needs a new brand, and social media is the place to promote it, according to Hinda Mitchell of Inspire PR Group, who spoke last week at the Egg Industry Center Issues Forum in Columbus, Ohio.Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and LinkedIn are the most important social media networks for companies to use because of their popularity and the level of engagement available on them.“Social media creates conversation and community,” Mitchell said. “If you’re not already doing it, it’s time.”Mitchell said consumers and industry allies are using social networks, but so are those opposed to farming, as well as elected officials and regulators, so it is important for egg companies to have a digital presence.“Rebranding egg farming starts with mobilizing the brand of each individual egg farmer,” Mitchell said. “What are your brand attributes? What makes you unique? What benefit do you deliver that no one else does? How do you connect what matters to you to what matters to your customer?”In order for companies to harness their digital presence, Mitchell offered some tips: Look for opportunities to engage on social media Don’t just push information, but converse with your audience Let the online conversation shape your content development and messaging Create relevant, compelling content, keeping in mind that visual content performs best READ MORE 
April 24, 2017 - Farm Credit Canada reports, despite slower growth in farmland values, the outlook for agriculture on the prairies is positive.Farm Credit Canada's latest Farmland Values Report shows, while farmland values increased in 2016, the rate of that increase slowed for the third consecutive year. Canada’s farmland values showed an average increase of 7.9 per cent in 2016, compared to a 10.1 per cent increase in 2015 and a 14.3 per cent increase in 2014.“The impact of some of the key farmland value drivers appear to be fairly consistent across Canada,” said J.P. Gervais, FCC Chief Agricultural Economist. “Levelling out of commodity prices and some challenging weather conditions may have taken some of the steam out of farmland values and hopefully this moderating effect will turn into a trend.” READ MORE
April 21, 2017, Ottawa, Ontario - With Donald Trump ramping up his anti-Canada trade rhetoric, Justin Trudeau says the United States – like other countries – subsidizes its dairy and agriculture industries by hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars.And the prime minister says he will continue to protect Canada's agriculture producers, including the supply management system, as he tries to engage in ''fact-based'' conversation with the U.S. administration on a variety of trade irritants.''Let's not pretend we're in a global free market when it comes to agriculture,'' Trudeau said Thursday in a question-and-answer session with Bloomberg television that preceded Trump's latest trade invective.''Every country protects, for good reason, its agricultural industries. And we have a supply management system that works very well here in Canada.... The Americans and other countries chose to subsidize to the tunes of hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, their agriculture industries, including their dairy.''He said the U.S. currently enjoys a $400-million dairy surplus with Canada.''So it's not Canada that is a challenge here.''Minutes later came the now-familiar sight of Trump in the Oval Office, followed by a pointed attack on Canadian trade practices and the impact on U.S. interests.''Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers, is a disgrace. It's a disgrace,'' Trump said. ''Rules, regulations, different things have changed. And our farmers in Wisconsin and New York State are being put out of business.''Trump was echoing and amplifying the complaints of Wisconsin and New York governors, who say Canada's decision to create a new lower-priced, classification of milk product has frozen U.S. producers out of the Canadian market.Trudeau acknowledged the concerns of those two states, but said he didn't want to ''over-react.'' It was Trudeau's first comment since Trump first attacked the Canadian dairy industry on Tuesday at an event in Wisconsin.Canada's ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, fired back at Trump's criticism on Tuesday by writing to the governors of those two states telling them that the plight of their farmers was not Canada's fault. He said it was caused by U.S. and global overproduction of milk.''Any conversation around that starts with recognizing the facts. Now I understand how certain governors are speaking to certain constituencies on that. It's politics,'' Trudeau said.''Different countries have different approaches and we're going to engage in a thoughtful fact-based conversation on how to move forward in a way that both protects our consumers and our agricultural producers.''
April 20, 2017, Toronto, Ontario - Subway has filed a defamation lawsuit against the CBC over reports the sandwich chain alleges have caused it to suffer significant sales losses.In a statement of claim filed with a Toronto court earlier this month, Subway takes issue with television and online reports as well as tweets published by the broadcaster, which it alleges were meant to discredit the company and its products.Subway alleges the CBC acted ''recklessly and maliciously'' in airing a ''Marketplace'' report in February that said DNA tests suggested some chicken products served by the chain could contain only 50 per cent chicken or less.The company further alleges the tests conducted on the chicken ''lacked scientific rigour,'' were conducted without appropriate methods by people without proper training and then interpreted by people who also lacked training.''These false statements ... were published and republished, maliciously and without just cause or excuse, to a global audience, which has resulted in pecuniary loss to the plaintiffs,'' the company says in the document.Subway is seeking $210 million in damages, saying its reputation and brand have taken a hit as a result of the CBC reports. It is also seeking recovery of out-of-pocket expenses it says were incurred as part of efforts to mitigate its losses.None of the allegations have been proven in court and the CBC says it will defend itself against the lawsuit, which also names as defendants the reporter and two producers who worked on the program.CBC ''Marketplace'' reported that DNA test results showed high levels of soy DNA in Subway's chicken products, suggesting potentially high levels of soy content in Subway's chicken products.The TV report was followed by an online story and several tweets that included similar content.Subway reacted angrily after the report aired, calling it false and misleading. The company said at the time its own analysis found only trace amounts of soy in its chicken.The CBC has said it stands by its reports, noting the DNA tests were done by independent and credible experts.The lawsuit alleges the reports unfairly painted Subway as resorting to misleading business practices and cheap ingredients at the expense of Canadian consumers.
April 20, 2017, Ottawa, Onario - Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier has welcomed U.S. Donald Trump's swipe at the Canadian dairy industry, saying that it's not just American farmers who are losing out.Bernier says Canadians suffer more under supply management than Americans and if elected leader he promises to abolish the system.On Tuesday, Trump targeted Canada explicitly in taking the next steps in his ''Buy American, Hire American'' policy, suggesting Wisconsin farmers are suffering because of the Canadian system.Supply management has long vexed conservatives because it stands in sharp contrast to their belief in free markets, but most refuse to suggest dismantling the system as there is support for it in key constituencies.Among them is Quebec, but that's not stopped Bernier from lashing out against the farms in his home province who are part of the system, making him the lone leadership contender to do so.Bernier calls supply management a cartel, a phrase his competitor Erin O'Toole says turns farming families into nothing more than political props.O'Toole says Bernier's policy demonstrates a lack of understand of agriculture and that the current system has nothing to do with any market specific issues in the United States.
April 19, 2017, Toronto, Ont. – Burnbrae Farms’ Egg Creations Whole Eggs was recently named as a finalist in the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix New Product awards by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).  The RCC revelled 100 finalists competing for the coveted award earlier this week. These grocery products are the most impressive of all the new grocery products introduced in 2016.    Becoming a Canadian Grand Prix finalist can be a game changing experience for new products. Finalists receive direct and extensive exposure to key retailers, their buyers as well as consumers eager to try the celebrated new items getting all the attention and accolades.   To ensure products were evaluated exclusively on quality and innovation, new to this year's assessment was that all products introduced in 2016 had an equal chance of becoming finalists, regardless of when in the year they were introduced and the size of their distribution.   To become a finalist, a product needed to score at least 70% in judging. Finalists and winners can use the Canadian Grand Prix logo on their packaging for two years. RCC also supports the awards with extensive consumer and trade support in Canadian Retailer.  Egg Creations Whole Eggs from Burnbrae Farms Ltd., was named a finalist in the food category. To view a complete list of finalists, visit: http://www.rccgrandprix.ca/content/2016-finalists The winners of the 24th annual Canadian Grand Prix Awards will be announced at the Gala on May 31, 2017 following the second day of Retail Council of Canada's Store Conference, Canada Biggest Retail Conference.  RCC's Grocery Division represents Canada's largest grocery retailers, encompassing over 90% of all grocery sales. It is a source of information, advice and expertise on all matters affecting food retail, including food safety and recall, labelling, nutrition, health and wellness, product packaging, supply chain issues and environmental stewardship. READ MORE
April 17, 2017, Chicago, IL - Global outbreaks of bird flu in poultry have altered the flow of U.S. chicken meat, eggs and grain around the world, adding to challenges faced by domestic exporters and giving a leg up to Brazil, which has so far escaped the disease.Different strains of avian flu have been detected across Asia, Europe, Africa and in the U.S. in recent months, leading to the culling of millions of birds and a flurry of import restrictions on eggs and chicken meat.U.S. grain traders such as Bunge and Cargill have lost business because poultry deaths have reduced feed demand. Some domestic poultry producers, though, have managed to boost sales by taking advantage of trading bans that hurt rivals.Sanderson Farms, the third-largest U.S. poultry producer, said it sold more chicken to Iraq when Baghdad backed away from Europe’s poultry due to bird flu, or avian influenza (AI), in the bloc.Iraq imported 84.2 million kg of U.S. chicken meat last year, about three per cent of total U.S. chicken meat exports.Data on chicken exports is not yet available for March, when the U.S. confirmed its first case of a highly lethal form of bird flu in commercial poultry in more than a year.After the finding, South Korea, suffering its own worst-ever outbreak of bird flu, blocked U.S. poultry and eggs. That shut off opportunities for U.S. exporters hoping to make sales to cover shortfalls in South Korea, said Keithly Jones, a senior economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).Last month, USDA cut its forecast for 2017 U.S. egg exports by six per cent to 305 million dozen because of South Korea’s ban.U.S. grain traders, who were grappling with a global supply glut before flocks in other countries were culled to contain bird flu, have faced lower demand for the corn and soybeans that provide feed for chickens.Bunge, one of the world’s top grain and oilseed traders, told Reuters that shipments to South Korea for February and March declined “on the back of reduced feed productions.” Shipments have since been picking up, according to the company.In March, Cargill said South Korea’s outbreak, in which about 35 million birds have been culled, contributed to a decrease in quarterly earnings in its global animal nutrition unit. READ MORE
April 13, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) is honoured to be named one of the National Capital Region's Top Employers for the fifth consecutive year.The National Capital Region's Top Employers is an annual competition evaluating employers based on criteria like training and skills development, community involvement, performance management, and benefits.EFC currently has 60 employees who work to represent more than 1,000 Canadian egg farmers and farm families.EFC has built a reputation as a leading agriculture organization and as an employer that maintains a progressive and forward-thinking culture. Honours like the National Capital Region's Top Employer, being named by Waterstone Human Capital as one of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures, and the Crystal Egg Award further echo EFC's commitment to its employees. READ MORE
April 11, 2017, Louisville, KY - Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) U.S., the country's largest chicken quick service resturant, has announced its plans to extend its food promise to customers, announcing that, by the end of 2018, all chicken purchased by KFC U.S. will be raised without antibiotics important to human medicine. This move marks the first time a major national quick service restaurant chain in the U.S. has extended an antibiotics commitment beyond boneless chicken to its chicken-on-the-bone menu items. In addition to its antibiotics pledge, the brand has also made commitments that by the end of 2018, all core products will be free of artificial colors and flavors. Today, all KFC chicken is free of food dyes, and 100 per cent of the menu will be free of food dyes by the end of 2017, excluding beverages and third-party products. READ MORE

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular