Utilizing vaccines to reduce antimicrobial use

Utilizing vaccines to reduce antimicrobial use

By controlling certain viral diseases with vaccination, producers can reduce on-farm antimicrobial usage.

Nesting in enriched cages

Nesting in enriched cages

While multiple studies have uncovered some of what affects nesting and pre-nesting behaviour, much remains to be learned.

Maximizing broiler performance

Maximizing broiler performance

Reaching genetic potential through best management practices.

DATE: December 14, 2018LOCATION: Leeds Grenville, OntarioDETAILS: A small flock of seven layer type birds has tested positive for Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT). Clinical signs first appeared in late November. The virus has been identified as a wild strain. Poultry producers, small flock growers and service providers are being urged to maintain enhanced biosecurity.SOURCE: www.fbcc.ca
DATE: December 5, 2018LOCATION: Perth County, OntarioDETAILS: Further laboratory tests have confirmed the diagnosis of Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) in a Perth county egg layer flock. Birds were previously vaccinated as pullets. Mortality levels are decreasing, and the remainder of the flock appears healthy. Strict biocontainment measures are in place at the farm. Poultry producers and small flock growers are being urged to maintain enhanced biosecurity, particularly in unvaccinated flocks in the 10 km radius biosecurity risk area.SOURCE: www.fbcc.ca
DATE: November 9-15, 2018LOCATION: Los Angeles and Riverside counties, Calif.DETAILS: During the week of November 9-15, the USDA confirmed two additional cases of vND in backyard exhibition chickens in Los Angeles and Riverside counties, California. Since May 18, the USDA has confirmed 178 cases of vND in California: 104 in San Bernardino County, 35 in Riverside County, 38 in Los Angeles County and 1 in Ventura County.SOURCE: content.govdelivery.com
4-H Canada announced a new program Tuesday that will support the emotional and physical well being of rural youth across Canada.Called the 4-H Canada Healthy Living Initiative, the two-year program begins in spring 2019.The collaborate effort is supported by founding partner Farm Credit Canada (FCC), UFA Co-operative Limited, DowDuPont and Cargill, who’ve collectively pledged $150,000 toward the initiative.“This is an investment in young people who will play a large role in shaping the future of Canadian agriculture,” says Michael Hoffort, FCC president and CEO.The first year of the program will see the creation of resources and tools that will support youth facing mental health challenges.It will communicate how to access resources or recognize when a peer needs support as well.The second year will focus on physical health, nutrition and well-being.The approach is intended to help youth both navigate challenges and develop their strengths while focusing on wellness.The healthy living initiative is in response to the critical needs of youth in rural communities in Canada.Young people living in rural and remote communities are at greater risk of experiencing struggles related to their mental and physical well-being.They also lack the resources and services that might be available to those in more urban areas.The goal of this initiative is to support the 25,000 4-H youth members across Canada to lead lives that balance emotional, mental and physical health and remove barriers to access.As part of the two-year commitment, 4-H Canada will also deliver webinars and workshops and assist in the creation of resources that will be made available for the over 7,700 4-H volunteer leaders that are critical mentors and role models in adult-youth partnerships.These resources will train volunteers and offer resources that help recognize youth in distress and provide the access to support they need.“The Healthy Living Initiative means offering youth not only the tools and resources to face challenges, but also opportunities to learn how to thrive,” says Shannon Benner, 4-H Canada CEO.
Alternative housing systems have gained in popularity over the past few years due to an increase in outside influences. Consumers have become more involved with farm-to-fork and have driven the egg industry to adopt modifications on how birds are housed throughout their production cycle. 
DATE: October 31, 2018LOCATION: Boyce, VirginiaDETAILS: A hawk in Virginia has been recorded as the first bird in North America carrying the invasive Asian longhorned tick. In September, the bird was brought to the Blue Ridge Wildlife. It was exhibiting West Nile virus symptoms and had ticks around his eyes. The following day, the center was notified that the hawk, which it had just released, was the first bird in North America to be found carrying an Asian longhorned tick. Nicknamed the "cattle tick", it has been known to carry pathogens impacting humans and animals.SOURCE: www.localdvm.com
DATE: October 23, 2018LOCATION: MinnesotaDETAILS: Routine surveillance has detected a low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H5N2 in a commercial meat-type turkey flock of 40,000 birds in Minnesota. The flock was healthy and not showing any clinical signs of AI. Flock is being depopulated through controlled marketing. SOURCE: www.fbcc.ca
Once producers make a final decision between whether they want to build cage-free or enriched housing for their flock, what next? Every farm is unique and every barn is custom designed, so decisions of all kinds still lie ahead. 
DATE: October 5, 2018 LOCATION: West Nipissing municipality, Ontario
DATE: September 28, 2018
DATE: September 27, 2018
DATE: September 22, 2018
Enjoying large-scale popularity throughout Latin America, Aviagen's Ross 308 AP is now quickly gaining momentum in U.S. markets.Beyond the U.S. and Latin America, the bird – which Aviagen touts as "the complete package" – is currently being tested in other regions such as India.The Ross 308 AP’s high environmental tolerance makes it favorable for a variety of climates. Additionally, Latin American customers have seen two to three points in feed conversion improvements.Aviagen president of North America Kevin McDaniel commented on the bird's increasing popularity."The broiler and breeder performance advantages of the Ross 308 AP have helped promote the businesses of Latin American farmers, and these same benefits have led to a rapid growth in the US as well.”
Getting the flock off to the right start can help positively impact health and performance throughout the flock’s life. Issues such as the environment and management of the bird, barn, feed and water are just a few factors that need to be addressed and monitored during brooding.
As Canadian egg producers move towards alternative housing, they will need to prepare for new challenges. In Switzerland, where battery-caged production was banned outright in 1992, a group of researchers works to address those challenges, including nest box behaviour, piling and smothering issues, depopulation, ranging behaviour and keel bone damage. 
As ‘Raised Without Antibiotics’ (RWA) chicken production grows – and the elimination of antibiotics for growth promotion and health protection continues within Canada’s broiler industry – the need for alternatives also grows.
By the end of 2018, Canadian chicken farming will reach two significant milestones related to the use of antibiotics. 
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says Sofina Foods Inc. is recalling Janes brand Pub Style Chicken Burgers from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination.The agency says the uncooked breaded chicken burgers were sold across the country in 800 gram packages with a best before date of May 14, 2019 (UPC code 0 69299 12491 0).In its recall warning the CFIA says Salmonella investigations led by the Public Health Agency of Canada have linked frozen raw breaded chicken products to 25 illnesses in nine provinces - one in B.C., three in Alberta, three in Saskatchewan, one in Manitoba, 12 in Ontario, two in Quebec, one in New Brunswick, one in P.E.I., and one in Newfoundland and Labrador.It says two people have been hospitalized, though no deaths have been reported.The agency, however, did not say whether any of the illness were directly related to the products being recalled.It says the recalled items should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning typically include fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, but long-term complications can include severe arthritis.
The broiler housing and equipment industry continues to develop, introducing new technologies in line with trends in modern management, communication and ventilation systems. As you might expect, early adoption in markets such as Europe and North America, which have high labour and utility costs, easily justifies investment in these modern technologies.
Feeding young broiler breeders around the world generally involves restriction starting when the chicks are one week or a few weeks of age. This is done so that they grow at a rate that supports their health and welfare – one that prevents obesity, lameness and reproductive problems.
The laying hen industry in Canada is at the beginning of a 20-year transition. Following the lead of worldwide efforts to improve laying hen welfare, in February 2016 the Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) announced that a move away from conventional egg production to alternative production methods would begin.
Last year, Canadian Poultry outlined how some North American retailers were starting to source slow-growth broiler meat due to pressure over welfare concerns with conventionally grown chickens. Now, we look at economic, environmental and animal welfare factors attached to slow-growth broilers and also at Europe’s experience.
Chicken farmers across Canada are rolling out the latest changes to the Raised by a Canadian Farmer Animal Care Program (ACP).
More poultry producers are switching to LED lights in their layer barns for the power savings, versatility, durability and brightness they offer in comparison to all other options. Lighting is important in broiler, turkey, pullet and layer production, but especially important in egg production these days because of the new systems hens are being housed in. It’s all about making sure, in these new housing set-ups, that egg laying in the nest boxes is maximized.
A barn at the University of Alberta Poultry Research Centre in south Edmonton is home to more than 1,600 healthy, clucking chickens.But these fowl aren't ordinary, these are heritage chickens.The classic breeds include the 1957 random-bred Broiler line and the Barred Plymouth Rock, a breed that dates back to 1910.Frank Robinson, a professor of Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta, said commercial farming has made these breeds extremely rare, and some might be extinct without the program.For the full story, CLICK HERE
The GVF group of companies recently announced the creation and launch of Farmers Pharmacy Rx Limited. This new livestock and poultry medicine dispensary has arrived in conjunction with the enactment of regulatory changes surrounding antibiotics that affect all livestock and poultry producers.Farmers Pharmacy Rx Limited is a 4,500 ft2 “lock and leave” pharmacy housed within the Farmers Farmacy facility located on Dobbie Drive in Cambridge, Ont.This pharmacy has been created to provide producers with ready, easy access to topical, water soluble, injectable and feed antibiotics and medications – all important tools for farmers raising and caring for livestock and poultry.In order to purchase livestock antibiotics through Farmers Pharmacy Rx Limited, a producer must first obtain a prescription from the veterinarian with whom they have an active “vet client patient relationship”. This prescription may be provided to Farmers Pharmacy Rx Limited by fax or email (contact information below) from a veterinary clinic or from a producer with veterinarian confirmation. Once received and dispensed by our licensed pharmacist, packaged goods (water soluble, injectable, topical) medications may be delivered by courier direct to farm. Courier deliveries within the province of Ontario will be received the next day. Prescriptions including (full bags) of feed medications will be dispensed in the same manner and may be delivered using the Grand Valley Fortifiers fleet of premix delivery vehicles. These vehicles follow strict bio-security protocols for all of their deliveries. All direct to farm deliveries will require a producer signature indicating that they have received their prescribed medication products. Of course, producers also have the option of picking up their prescription orders at the Farmers Farmacy facility during regular business hours.Medicated complete feed or premix will continue to be available through Grand Valley Fortifiers or the producer’s current feed supplier. A valid prescription however, will now be required to purchase medicated feed, nursery feeds and premixes.Initially, Farmers Pharmacy Rx Limited will carry inventory of historical “over the counter” (OTC) feed antibiotics, water soluble, injectable and topical medications. Over time, this product portfolio will expand to include more of the traditional prescription-only water soluble and injectable medications as the number prescriptions fulfilled by Farmers Pharmacy Rx Limited increases.
Over 400 people, including representatives of the turkey industry, local community members, and government officials, gathered to celebrate and tour the new Hendrix Genetics commercial turkey hatchery in Beresford, S.D. This new facility will hatch poults for commercial farmers throughout North America. This event was a rare opportunity to see inside a facility like this, as once in production, biosecurity policies will be in effect to support the high-health requirements of the Hendrix Genetics Turkey operations. A few of these policies were evident and experienced first-hand. Upon entry, all attendees were asked to sanitize their hands and wear special protective covers over their shoes to prevent the entry of contaminants from the outside.The hatchery represents one of the largest pieces for a project initiated in 2017. At this time, Hendrix Genetics announced they would establish their own turkey poult distribution network in the U.S. The objective: to ensure top quality and availability of Hybrid Turkeys products throughout the turkey value chain. This investment, estimated at approximately $70 million, includes new and updated breeding farms, two new hatcheries, and a new transportation fleet.After speeches and an official ribbon cutting ceremony, guests toured the hatchery to learn about the facility features.
Location: Mitchell, Ont. Sector: Turkey processing Sofina Foods installed a Maxitech gas stunning system at its new turkey plant in late-2017.
On November 13, Trillium Hatchery opened a cutting-edge facility in Stratford, Ont.The hatchery will produce 20 million day-old chicks per year and is fully equipped with HatchTech products including the HatchCare system, a hatcher that enables early feeding, drinking and exposure to light directly post-hatch.Trillium was founded by hatching egg farmer Dave Brock and chicken farmer Murray Booy.The company is a consortium of Ontario farmers, whose goal is to produce chicks hatched in a more humane environment and free from antibiotics.Trillium chose the HatchCare system after witnessing it in use at Synergy Agri Group in Nova Scotia.“We saw their impressive field results and decided to equip our hatchery with HatchCare too,” Brock says.Booy adds, “For us, HatchCare is the only hatcher which meets today’s demands for more animal-friendly production. It is a revolutionary technology.“We firmly believe early feeding and drinking is the way to go,” he continues. “Trillium will provide healthier chicks which are produced more humanely and more effectively.”
Chanelle Taylor had always wanted to be a veterinarian from the time she could talk. She worked for a small animal clinic in Oakville, Ont., when she was 14 to see what that would be like. As a university student, she’d pass many farms on her way to Guelph and dabbled with a few job opportunities to get some farm experience. Somewhere along the way she discovered that she really loved working with birds of all kinds.
One of the greatest pioneering poultry breeders, Donald McQeen Shaver, passed away in late July, a few days before his 98th birthday.
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has extended the patent protection for the Weeden Sprinkler Systems.The concept consists of several components. Based on the temperature and the age of the bird, water droplets are provided in short pre-set durations.The water droplets don’t hang in the air and are heavy enough to hit the birds, causing them to stand up and release the trapped heat from underneath their bodies.Once up, the birds habitually migrate to the feed and water, creating cyclical drinking and feeding patterns.During heat stress when activated by temperature sensors, wind chill and evaporative cooling are then created by moving air across the birds and cooling them as the water droplets (“artificial perspiration”) on their heads and backs evaporates between each sprinkling.The patent extension fully protects Weeden Environments for this concept.Initially designed for dust control, the concept was also discovered to cool poultry and promote activity by getting the birds up to eat and drink.This system provides the benefit of drastically reducing any mortality and minimizes the backing off of feed in times of heat stress while not increasing humidity levels like high pressure foggers and cool cells.It also creates a cyclical drinking pattern felt to aid in feed conversion.The Weeden Sprinkler Systems concept is proven in research studies at several institutions to reduce water usage by up to 50 per cent when combined with cools cells or when replacing fogging/misting systems.“This patent extension is exciting as we now have additional protection on our system and method of cooling and promoting physical activity of poultry,” says Kevin Weeden, President of Weeden Environments.“Weeden Environments invests heavily in research and development providing innovations for the poultry industry and we will continue to protect our investments by enforcing intellectual property rights.”
Salmet GmbH & Co. KG, a manufacturer of poultry equipment for layers based in Germany, recently announced it's expanding its North American sales team.The company has appointed Peter Mumm regional business manager for the U.S. and Canada. Mumm has served the North American egg industry for the past 26 years in production, marketing and genetics.With this expansion, Salmet hopes to continue its North American growth.
Canadian Bio-Systems (CBS) Inc., a Calgary-based feed additive and enzyme maker, has added a new member to its team.The company announced this week it has hired Anhao “Tony” Wang as its nutrition and technical service coordinator.His scope will include contributing to solutions supporting both domestic and international markets.In the final stage of completing his PhD in Animal Science at the University of Saskatchewan, Wang has had a strong research focus on feed and mycotoxin throughout his studies.“Tony brings a strong combination of passion, knowledge and skills that will support our technology platforms and customers across the board,” says Rob Patterson, CBS Inc. technical director.“His academic and research background that is an excellent fit with our continued dedication to optimizing feeding strategies and mitigating mycotoxin risk.”Wang, originally from Fuzhou in southern China’s Fujian province, has been studying in Canada since 2009.He began as an undergraduate at Dalhousie University then completed graduate work at University of Saskatchewan.A key aspect of his graduate research has been uncovering new knowledge of how to improve feeding strategies, including understanding mycotoxin impacts and how to mitigate them.His PhD research focuses specifically on tackling the challenge of fusarium-related mycotoxins in poultry feed.This includes groundbreaking knowledge on timeframes when impacts are more pronounced and when targeted solutions can have the greatest impact.“I am very happy to become a part of the CBS Inc. team,” says Wang. “Since I was young I have always been interested in science and working with animals and the agriculture and food industry. This is the perfect situation for me to start my career.”
Maple Leaf Foods recently announced the closing of its acquisition of two poultry plants and associated supply from Cericola Farms, a privately held company.Located in Bradford, Ontario and Drummondville, Quebec, the two plants collectively process approximately 32 million kg of chicken annually.Maple Leaf has also secured 100 per cent of the processed chicken volume from Cericola's primary processing plant located in Schomberg, Ont., and holds an option to acquire this asset and associated plant supply in three years.Cericola specializes in air-chilled processing of antibiotic free and animal by-product free ("AABF") and organic poultry products.This acquisition provides Maple Leaf Foods with additional supply and value-added processing capability to advance its leadership in higher value categories.Maple Leaf Foods has transitioned most of its flagship Maple Leaf Prime chicken brand to Prime RWA, where the Canadian market is growing at approximately 25 per cent annually.
Location - Stratford, Ont.Sector - Broilers 
Global animal health and nutrition company Alltech has launched a new poultry feed additive it says aids in optimizing gut form and function.Called Viligen, the company says it contains a range of new, scientifically-backed ingredients to support gastrointestinal tissue growth and activity.It blends fatty acids, prebiotics and essential trace elements, which Alltech’s researchers say combine to promote beneficial bacteria in the gut and support natural defenses.“This product supports growth, intestinal integrity and the bird’s own natural immune defenses,” said Dr. Kayla Price, Canadian poultry technical manager at Alltech.“We believe that this product may help poultry producers in Canada knowing that better intestinal health leads to improved performance.”Viligen is a part of the Alltech Gut Health Management program as well as the Alltech Antibiotic-Free and Alltech Antibiotic Reduction programs.
SELEGGT, a joint venture between HatchTech, German supermarket chain REWE and the University of Leipzig, has developed a market-ready method for gender identification in hatching eggs.In Germany, supermarkets are already selling eggs from 'hens without brothers'.The eggs from which the laying hens are born have been checked on the genus during the incubation process.In the SELEGGT method, a laser burns a hole of no more than 0.3 millimetres into the hatching egg shell.Afterwards, a small amount of fluid is extracted through a non-invasive procedure. Hence the interior of the hatching egg is untouched and remains safe and sound.Through a change in colour, a marker will indicate whether the sex-specific hormone estrone sulphate can be detected in the hatching egg.If detected, a female chick is developing in the hatching egg. Consequently, only female chicks hatch on the 21st day of the incubation.No estrone sulphate indicates a male hatching egg, which is separated and processed into high-quality animal feed.The developers expect the method will prevent millions of male day-old chicks from being gassed.In Germany alone, around 45 million male chicks from laying hen breeds are killed every year.German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner welcomed the news. “This is a great day for animal welfare in Germany!”Jan Kunath, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of REWE Group, adds, “Throughout next year, our customers will be able to buy the so called free-range respeggt-eggs gradually throughout Germany.”At the same time, SELEGGT is developing a business model to make the technology available to the industry as a cost-neutral service.The patented process will be available to the first hatcheries from 2020.Canadian researchers at McGill University, with support from Egg Farmers of Ontario, have been developing their own gender identification technology for several years.Called Hypereye, the patented scanning device is still being fine-tuned and recently received $844,000 in funding from the federal government to help get it to market.
The level of early chick mortality (ECM) is one of the crucial factors that determines the quality of chicken production and, hence, the economic return from a poultry production unit. Yolk sac infection (YSI) has been reported as the most frequent cause of ECM, and in recent years significant increase in ECM due to YSI has emerged as a threat to broiler operations in parts of Canada. 
Undercover video. Two words that will send shivers up the spine of anyone who works in agriculture and food. There have been well over 200 undercover videos in the U.S. and 16 in Canada since 2012 targeting agriculture from farms through to processing. While it’s human nature to hope one never focuses on you, your company, suppliers or customers – it’s always better to be prepared.
Research shows that under natural conditions, domestic fowl spend 70 per cent of their active time foraging by walking on the ground because their flight abilities are limited. When threatened or roosting, domestic hens seek elevated refuges. For roosting, birds fly up to the lowest branch of a tree and seek higher elevation by flying branch-to-branch, whereas they descend by flying directly to the ground. Hens use their wings only for brief escape flights.
A major challenge to controlling avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is achieving protection against the numerous types of the virus circulating in commercial poultry.
There’s a new poultry ration ingredient available on the Canadian market. Insect meal from defatted black soldier fly larvae is high in protein and low in fat, making it a potentially attractive alternative to soy in poultry diets.
In a $1-million, first-of-its-kind study at the University of Guelph, upwards of 10,000 chickens – all wearing fitbit-like devices to track their activity levels – are being monitored in research to improve health and welfare of hundreds of millions of birds raised in North American poultry operations.The study, headed by animal welfare expert and U of G professor Tina Widowski, is expected to provide key information for ensuring that broiler chickens – the world’s most popular meat – are raised not just quickly and efficiently but ethically as well.“Animal welfare has become a big part of the notion of sustainability – how to improve welfare and create a healthy environment, and how to make it economically feasible,” Widowski says.About 23 billion broiler chickens are produced worldwide; Canada produced more than 700 million of the birds in 2017.Most North American broiler chickens are conventional, fast-growing birds that reach a market weight of 2.1 kilograms in about 35 days.Developed over the past half-century through a combination of selective breeding and genetics, better nutrition and improved husbandry practices, those growth speedsters also pack on proportionately more breast meat and less bone.But fast-growing modern broilers are susceptible to immune system and musculoskeletal problems, said Widowski, an animal biosciences professor and holder of the Egg Farmers of Canada Chair in Poultry Welfare and the Col. K.L. Campbell University Chair in Animal Welfare.Often, their legs are not strong enough to support their meaty bodies, making it difficult for the birds to walk. These sedentary chickens spend much of their time sitting and lying on litter in their free-run houses, which can lead to foot and skin problems, she said.“Animal welfare concerns for these fast-growing chickens have led to the development of new, slower-growing genotypes,” Widowski says.Slow-growing chickens take at least a week longer to reach market weight than conventional birds and are reported to have improved welfare and better meat, she added.Broiler chicken health and welfare is a focus of the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), an organization based in Austin, Texas. Over the past year, dozens of multinational restaurants, grocers and food service companies have pledged to source only broilers raised under GAP standards.However, conventional chicken producers argue that raising birds more slowly will add expense, particularly in extra feed, which accounts for about 70 per cent of producer costs. “It’s a very contentious issue,” Widowski says.What’s missing in the debate, she said, is research to back up those welfare standards and to determine optimum breeds and management methods. Looking for that information, GAP came to U of G for help.“There’s been no comprehensive look at health, welfare, nutrition, environment and meat characteristics,” Widowski says.Referring to the University’s strengths in poultry science and welfare, she adds, “Here at Guelph, we have the capacity to do that.”U of G researchers are now assessing 20 strains of conventional and slow-growing breeds. They’re tending about 1,000 birds at a time, hatched from eggs supplied by the world’s largest breeding companies.Three grad students and a post-doc researcher are tracking the birds with various instruments, including the “chicken fitbits.”By monitoring behaviour, physiology, health, production and meat quality, the team hopes to nail down welfare indicators for all strains.“This study will provide information people can use to make decisions,” says Stephanie Torrey, a senior research associate in the Department of Animal Biosciences.U of G received a total of about $1 million for the study from GAP, U of G’s Food from Thought project and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Sometimes trends are not worth the hype. I’m sure we all have at least one picture lying around with an outfit we thought was classic but is now horribly outdated. In today’s age of ever-evolving food trends, from cronuts to charcoal ice cream, it can be hard to know what trends are fleeting and which ones will stand the test of time.
During the course of the past six decades, the poultry industry has achieved a remarkable increase in production efficiency, largely driven through intensive breeding programs. However, this is in part at the expense of a decrease in reproductive performance and altered immune function. Consequently, a major challenge for the poultry industry is in controlling disease outbreaks caused by infectious agents.  
Feedback from across Alberta’s livestock industry is helping to build a clear and comprehensive understanding of livestock welfare in the province, as part of the Livestock Welfare Engagement Project facilitated by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC).An important online survey component of the project launched over the summer is already seeing strong participation across the industry. Those who haven’t yet participated in the survey are encouraged to do so as soon as possible, ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline. (Click here to complete the survey).“Broad industry feedback is critical to accurately represent the extensive work being done related to livestock care in Alberta today, and to help shape future priorities and direction around this increasingly high-profile component of livestock production,” says Annemarie Pedersen, executive director, AFAC.Next Phase“We have been very encouraged by the strong initial participation in the survey, which is open to anyone involved in animal agriculture in Alberta,” says Dr. Melissa Moggy, Livestock Welfare Engagement Project Lead.With the initial consultation completed and the survey underway, planning for the focus groups is in full swing. “Our first of five focus groups will be at Grande Prairie Regional College, Fairview Campus, on Sept 20th and we hope anyone involved in the industry will join us for an in-depth discussion of livestock welfare in Alberta,” says Moggy. The results will be a critical part of the final report to be shared with government in early 2019.Locations and details for these additional focus groups can be found below. Focus groups will be arranged by invitation, based on survey responses. However, those who are interested in participating in their area can register.Grande Prairie Regional College – Fairview, Alta. - Sept. 20 Lethbridge College – Lethbridge, Alta. - Sept. 25Olds College – Olds, Alta. - Oct. 2 University of Alberta – Edmonton, Alta. - Oct. 10Lakeland College – Vermillion, Alta. - TBA“We encourage all livestock sectors and industry partners to participate in the upcoming groups. We have planned them to be accessible to the majority of the province and hope to meet with a diverse cross section of our industry,” says Moggy.Information on the focus groups can be found at www.afac.ab.ca or contact Melissa Moggy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 403-652-5111 to register.About the Livestock Welfare Engagement ProjectThe project was requested and is being funded by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. The insights and information collected through this project will be presented in a final report, which will be shared with the Government of Alberta to support its understanding of the animal welfare landscape in the province from the livestock industry’s perspective.
What came first, the chicken or the lettuce?Iowa State University researchers are conducting experiments to determine what advantages may arise from integrating chickens into vegetable production systems. The researchers must balance a range of concerns, including environmental sustainability, costs and food and animal safety. But Ajay Nair, an associate professor of horticulture and a vegetable production specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach, said finding ways to integrate vegetable and animal production may lead to greater efficiency and healthier soils.The experiments, currently in their second year, take place at the ISU Horticulture Research Station just north of Ames. The researchers are testing what happens when a flock of broiler chickens lives on a vegetable field for part of the year. The chickens forage on the plant matter left behind after the vegetables are harvested and fertilize the soil with manure. This integrated approach could reduce off-farm inputs and also provide producers with sustainable crop rotation options.The researchers are testing three different systems on a half acre of land at the research farm. The first system involves a vegetable crop – one of several varieties of lettuce or broccoli – early in the growing season, followed by the chickens, which are then followed by a cover crop later in the year. The second system involves the vegetable crop, followed by two months of a cover crop, with the chickens foraging on the land later in the year. The third system is vegetables followed by cover crops, with no chickens.The experiment involves roughly 40 chickens, which live in four mobile coops that the researchers move every day. Moving the coops around ensures the chickens have access to fresh forage and keeps their manure from concentrating any particular part of the field. An electric fence surrounds the field to keep out predators.Moriah Bilenky, a graduate assistant in horticulture, checks on the chickens every morning to make sure they have food and water. She also weighs them periodically to collect data on how efficiently they convert food into body mass. The researchers designed the trial to uphold animal health, and Bilenky said she keeps a detailed log on how foraging in the fields impacts the birds’ health and performance.Nair said the researchers are looking at several facets associated with sustainability. Nitrogen and phosphorous deposited in the soil from the chicken manure could alleviate some of the need for fertilizer application, while working cover crops into the system can prevent the loss of nutrients into waterways. Economics must also factor into the research, he said.“We might come up with results that really help the soil, but if the system is not economically stable, I doubt growers will be willing to adopt it because it has to work for their bottom line as well,” he said.The trials also adhere to food safety regulations. For instance, all vegetables are harvested before the chickens are introduced to the fields, ensuring none of the produce is contaminated. The researchers consulted food safety and animal science experts at Iowa State while designing their experiments, and the work undergoes regular IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) inspection and documentation, he said.The trials remain ongoing, so the researchers aren’t drawing any conclusions yet about the success of their integrated system. The project is currently supported through a SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) grant. Nair said he’s seeking additional funding to investigate the animal health and integrated pest management aspects of this research.So why did the chicken cross the road? It’s too early to tell, but maybe so it could get into the lettuce and pepper fields.
The federal government says it plans to spend $1.75 billion by March without having said what the money is for, though at least some of the cash is likely to go to farmers hurt by new trade deals.The government remains tight-lipped about how it will use the rest of the ''non-announced'' spending it allowed for in last week's fall economic statement.In all, the government has made room for $9.5 billion worth of still-to-be-unveiled commitments over the next six years.A government source says some of that will go to dairy, egg and poultry producers, whose protected domestic markets were opened up to more foreign competition under new North American and Pacific Rim trade deals. The source, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, spoke on condition of anonymity.The fall statement said the government is still talking with farmers and processors about compensation for the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the recently ratified Asia-Pacific trade pact known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).The negotiations will determine the size of the final package and how the money will be rolled out over the coming years.In 2016, the Liberal government dedicated $350 million to help dairy producers deal with the impacts of Canada's trade agreement with the European Union. The amount included a five-year, $250-million fund for milk producers and a second program worth $100 million for cheese-makers.The Liberals also have outstanding mandate commitments they will be looking to address before the 2019 election campaign and, looking further ahead, Ottawa is facing litigation related to Indigenous issues, including land claims. Both could draw on some of the money.Most of the yet-to-be announced funding has been dedicated to the later years of the projection, with $2.1 billion set aside for 2021-22, $1.85 billion for 2022-23 and nearly $2.8 billion for 2023-24.One possible use for the cash: national pharmacare.The governing Liberals have put together a group of advisers to consult Canadians and to explore options for a national program. The council is due to report in 2019, when the topic of pharmacare is likely to become an issue during the election campaign.A spokesman for Finance Minister Bill Morneau argued the list of the government's funding commitments in the fall update is comprehensive.But Pierre-Olivier Herbert noted some measures cannot be disclosed yet due to cabinet confidentiality or because ministers have yet to make decisions. Issues of national security, commercial sensitivity, litigation or certain matters related to trade agreements must also be kept under wraps, he said.''The net fiscal impact of these confidential or sensitive measures is rolled up and presented at an aggregate level and will be detailed in due time,'' Herbert wrote in an email.Thanks to the stronger economy, Morneau had more than $20 billion in extra fiscal room over the coming years to work with, compared to the forecasts in last February's budget.He chose to announce new initiatives – including billions of dollars worth of tax incentives for corporate Canada – that will use up all that space and then some, contributing to slightly larger annual deficits beginning next year.The document contained Ottawa's long-awaited plan to help the country compete with the U.S. for investment dollars. It came in response to major American tax and regulatory reforms that many in the business community warn have eliminated Canada's edge as an investment destination.The package includes new write-offs that are expected to lower federal revenues by about $14 billion over the next half-decade all by themselves.Peter DeVries, a former senior Finance Department official, said Morneau has now made spending commitments of nearly $33 billion over six years since the February budget. In comparison, he said the budget itself contained $20.3 billion worth of new measures, although the initiatives were aimed at a much-broader range of issues.''There's some big numbers in there,'' said DeVries, who writes articles about government finances and recently examined the fall statement.The next budget will serve as the Liberals' election platform, but DeVries wonders how the party will finance it.''Where are you going to find the money for that platform, unless you go into deficit even more or unless you believe that you've put aside sufficient reserves in the framework to manage it?'' he said. ''It doesn't look like they've done that, except for that one line that says (non-announced measures).''The fall update also contains no timeline to eliminate the Liberals' shortfalls, which are now projected to be higher than $18 billion in each of the next couple of years.The opposition Conservatives and some economists have criticized the Liberals for not providing a date to balance the budget. There are warnings the government could face big fiscal challenges when the next economic downturn arrives.After the 2015 election, the Trudeau government abandoned vows to run yearly shortfalls of no more than $10 billion and to balance the books by 2019.Instead, it has focused on reducing the net debt-to-GDP ratio – a measure of how burdensome the national debt is – each year.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn't ruling out the possibility that Canada will ratify its new North American trade deal with the United States and Mexico even if U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum exports are still in place.In an interview with CNN, portions of which are airing as U.S. voters cast ballots in pivotal midterm elections, Trudeau says Canada still wants the tariffs lifted before the new version of NAFTA goes into effect.But when asked if he trusts U.S. President Donald Trump to honour the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Trudeau says his father taught him to trust Canadians.He says it was Pierre Trudeau's way of telling him that he didn't have to scare or pander to voters in Canada, since they are capable of making intelligent, rational choices.Pressed on the question of whether he trusts Trump, Trudeau says he respects the fact that every leader has a different approach to the job of defending their country's interests.Trump is using national security grounds to justify tariffs of 10 per cent on aluminum produced outside the U.S. and 25 per cent on steel, and has not lifted his threat to impose a similar 25 per cent tariff on autos.''What my father taught me was to trust Canadians,'' Trudeau said when asked whether the elder Trudeau's advice to ''trust people'' would apply to the U.S. president.''It was a way of looking at the electorate as saying you don't have to dumb it down for them, you don't have to scare them into this or that - you can actually treat people like intelligent, rational actors and they will rise to the occasion.''Trudeau was pressed on whether he trusts Trump to stand by the terms of the USMCA.''Every leader has the job of sticking up for their own country, and they will do it in their own ways,'' he said.''I respect the fact that people have different approaches to it. My approach is to trust Canadians and deal in a way that is direct with other leaders.''
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, announced this week a new working group comprised of poultry and egg farmers and processors.While informal engagement has already begun with the poultry and egg sector, the working group brings together officials from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, representatives from national poultry and egg organizations and associations, as well as regional representatives.The working group will collaborate to develop strategies to fully and fairly support farmers and processors to help them adjust to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).It will also discuss support to reflect the impact of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).In addition to discussing impacts of the trade agreements in the short term, the working group will also chart a path forward to help the poultry and egg sectors innovate and remain an important source of jobs and economic growth for future generations.Supporting expertise to the working group may also include academic leaders, as well as industry and financial experts, as necessary.The federal government will engage with provincial and territorial governments on an ongoing basis throughout the collaboration process.
Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. (CBS Inc.) has launched the main phase rollout of its new Feed Science Platforms, offering a comprehensive portfolio of advanced bio-based feed technology solutions to benefit swine, poultry, aquaculture and ruminant production.
At a time when the North American feed industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation driven by new rules, heightened market expectations and groundbreaking technology advances, a growing number of major farming operations are opting to take charge of their futures by embracing a stronger direct role in feed production and feed additive innovation.
Whole bird turkey sales in Canada have declined quite a bit over the last few years, especially during the last two. Still, the turkey sector in Canada and in the U.S. continues to find success building consumption of other products.
The International Egg Commission and its members support, and will promote, the responsible use of all antimicrobials to allow for the long-term safe production of eggs, safeguarding the availability of eggs and egg products for the world’s consumers.
Growing interest in the concept and practice of sustainable sourcing is redefining relationships and expectations in the agri-food landscape. Sustainable sourcing, simply put, refers to procurement of goods or services subject to their meeting a specified set of socio-economic, animal welfare and environmental sustainability criteria.
Canadian farmers are leaders in producing safe, high-quality agricultural and food products for Canadians and people around the world. The sector is a major driver in creating good, middle-class jobs, and is one of Canada's key growth industries.
As Costco is set to be the first U.S. retailer to integrate its meat supply to the farm level, a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division predicts that other food retailers and foodservice companies may be prompted to reevaluate their own supply chain integration opportunities.
I had the privilege of visiting numerous barns this summer, and lugged my video equipment with me to document my travels. I met many passionate farmers doing innovative things. People like Ryan Kuntze, a Stratford, Ont.-based broiler producer and self-described peat moss guinea pig.
As has been done periodically since it was created decades ago, the Canada Food Guide is being updated again, this time as part of a new Healthy Eating Strategy launched by Health Canada in the fall of 2016. Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) and some other groups and individuals have concerns over proposed updates to the guide that relate to a focus on plant-based proteins.

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