Amendment to help keep processing jobs in N.B.
By Communications New BrunswickFeatures Business & Policy Trade
June 11, 2008, Fredricton, N.B. – The Province of New Brunswick is introducing an amendment to the Natural Products Act to allow for a temporary order so that all live chickens produced in New Brunswick must be processed in designated plants.
Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ronald Ouellette introduced the amendment on June 3rd.
The amendment was introduced to prevent New Brunswick poultry producers from making changes in the trade patterns for live chickens that would cause a dramatic disruption to the regional economy. It will allow Ouelette to enforce a cooling-off period to give both sides more time to explore all their options.
"This amendment will help our government address our main concern of maintaining stability in the chicken-processing sector of the province," Ouellette said. "It will only be proclaimed as a last resort and it will also have a sunset clause so that it can only be deemed a temporary measure until the current difficulties in the sector are overcome."
The decision by the province's three largest producers to temporarily ship their live birds to other facilities for processing purposes starting this summer has caused unrest in the chicken sector. This move would deprive the province's existing chicken-processing plant, Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd., of most of its supply of live chickens from New Brunswick, forcing it to downsize its operations and significantly reduce its 340-member workforce.
"Given the importance of that plant to the poultry industry in this province, I believe it is necessary for the Province to take measures to ensure that, in the long term, both the primary production and processing sectors continue to thrive," Ouellette said.
In the meantime, Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd. is appealing a decision by Chicken Farmers of New Brunswick to deny their request of imposing a plant allocation system that would have guaranteed a supply of live chickens to the plant. The New Brunswick Farm Products Commission is scheduled to consider the request later this month.
The amendment is a precautionary and temporary measure in case a solution is not reached through the appeal process.
Last year, New Brunswick produced approximately 37.5 million kilograms of chicken, which accounted for $50 million in farm cash receipts.
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