Kristy Nudds

Kristy Nudds

October 16, 2015 - The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) has has drafted a comparison chart of the party platforms on agriculture. Click here for the chart. 

October 5, 2015 - The Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) are pleased to announce the launch of the public comment period on the draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys. The public comment period allows stakeholders - poultry producers, consumers and others with an interest in the welfare of poultry - to view the draft Code and provide input to the final Code.

The draft Code and the public comment system are available at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/chickens-turkeys-and-breeders. All comments must be submitted through the online system. The public comment period begins today and closes on December 4, 2015. The Code Development committee will consider the submitted comments after the close of the comment period. The final poultry Code of Practice is expected to be released June 2016.

A Scientific Committee report summarizing research conclusions on priority welfare topics for poultry can be found online alongside the draft Code. This peer-reviewed report aided the discussions of the Code Development Committee as it prepared the draft Code of Practice. The report, developed by world-renowned animal welfare scientists, should be reviewed prior to making a submission.

“The Code Development Committee has worked hard since 2011 developing the draft Code. The public comment period will allow us to check our work with a broader representative group,” said Vernon Froese, poultry producer and Chair of the Code Development Committee. “Since it will fall primarily to producers to implement the Code, it is important for producers to review the draft Code and to respond with informed, rational, and constructive input.”

“The Code process provides an important opportunity for advancing farm animal welfare policy in Canada,” said poultry welfare expert Dr. Ian Duncan, representing the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the Code Committee. “We hope to receive broad input from the general public, industry and other stakeholders to ensure this Code improves animal welfare and reflects the values of Canadians.”

The poultry Code revision is led by a 15-person Code Development Committee that includes participants from across Canada including producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, transporters, processors, veterinarians and government representatives. More information on the Code development process is available at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice.

The poultry Code is the first of five Codes of Practice currently under revision as part of a multi-year NFACC project. Codes of Practice serve as our national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices. It is important that Codes be scientifically informed, practical and reflect societal expectations for responsible farm animal care. The Codes cover housing, feed and water, handling, euthanasia, transport and other important management practices.

Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal–provincial–territorial initiative.

 

 

The avian influenza (AI) outbreak in the United States was the worst animal health disaster in the country’s history. An unprecedented number of birds — more than 48 million — succumbed to the virus or were destroyed, forcing the United States Department of Agriculture to take a hard look at it’s policies on containment, destruction and disposal of AI positive flocks.

There’s no question that the sheer magnitude of the outbreak quickly stripped the USDA and its Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of available resources. With poultry farms that average in the hundreds of thousands and millions of birds, the USDA and industry were completely overwhelmed and the virus spread out of control.

That’s why APHIS has made some significant revisions to its Highly Pathogenic Avian Influeneza (HPAI) preparation plan so that the U.S., should it face HPAI again this fall or early next year, hopefully won’t suffer the losses it did this past spring and summer.

But the plan isn’t without controversy. The most significant change announced by APHIS is a new 24-hour “stamping out” policy, meaning that if a flock tests positive for HPAI, it is to be destroyed within 24 hours of the positive test. With flock sizes in the millions at one facility, typical methods of depopulation previously approved for use in the U.S. — foaming and CO2 gassing — aren’t always possible and in many cases, cannot complete the task in the 24-hour timeline. Consequently, APHIS has proposed a new option of “ventilation shutdown” for cases where other options are not feasible. The barn is essentially shut down and the birds are left to die from suffocation and heat.

When the announcement was made in mid-September criticism of the decision was swift. I’ll admit I am one of these critics; it’s definitely not an appealing option and seems inherently cruel.

However, given the magnitude of the 2015 outbreak I can understand the logic behind the APHIS decision even if I don’t agree with the method. A couple of weeks after the announcement was made, the 5th International Symposium on Animal Mortality Management was held in Lancaster, Pa. where depopulation and disposal was of course the focus. Invited speaker Mark Van Oort, complex manager for Center Fresh Egg Farm in Iowa really drove home the immense challenge faced by the industry in the face of HPAI. His company had to depopulate over 7 million laying hens and pullets at six facility locations. The amount of foam or gas required was not available and the labour requirement forced the company to bring in 200 people from other States, and it still could only manage to cull a little more than 250,000 birds per day.

When it takes three weeks for culling and disposal, it’s no surprise Van Oort feels that ventilation shutdown “might be the only way to control the virus.” Granted, his company is large, but on average, it took four to five days to euthanize birds on affected farms (see page 28), which is too long and allows the virus to continue thriving.

Van Oort feels the U.S. industry “needs euthanasia options that are large scale.” Indeed they do, but is ventilation shutdown the right way to do this?

 

 

 

October 2, 2015 - The Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Guelph will now be called the Department of Animal Biosciences.

Chair Jim Squires says the change reflects the department’s research and teaching in emerging fields such as genetics, animal welfare and bioproducts.

Rob Gordon, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College, adds: “The new name helps describe the department’s evolution from a livestock husbandry department in the 1870s to the highly dynamic and integrated department it is today.”

President Franco Vaccarino approved the name change and has notified the University Senate. MORE INFORMATION 

 

September 2, 2015 - Groupe Grimaud has announced the arrival of Jean-Marc Pinsault as Deputy CEO of Groupe Grimaud as of  September 1,2015.

Having graduated from both the Institut Supérieur Agricole de Beauvais (Agricultural Institute in Beauvais) and the ESC Rennes School of Business; at age 39 Jean-Marc now boasts a rich international profile. He has previously worked as General Manager at Amélis (420 employees - 12,000 members and clients), and as Deputy Director General at Evolution (1,250 employees - 33,000 members and clients), specializing in Milk and Meat animal production.

In direct contact with Frédéric Grimaud, President and CEO of Groupe Grimaud, Jean-Marc will be responsible for managing cross-functional teams - human resources, finance, legal, information systems, purchasing, insurance -, as well as their optimization and integration on a global level, in line with the needs of Groupe Grimaud's Specialised Divisions. He will also be in charge of specific projects concerning future developments here at Groupe Grimaud.

September 1, 2015 - The Fédération des producteurs d’œufs du Quebec (FPOQ) have given $61,250 to Fondation OLO, an organization that provides nutrition and nutritional information to socially and economically underprivileged mothers and children in Quebec.  The FPOQ have been involved with the charity since 2002 and the announcement was made at the Golf Club of Acton Vale in the presence of over 260 participants. Through its annual contribution, the FPOQ has donated more than $ 550,000 to Fondation OLO.  Its donations help provide more than 100,000 coupons for a dozen eggs to vulnerable families annually. 

 

In anticipation of high-level negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which took place in Hawaii the last week of July, supply management once again found itself under attack. That round of negotiations was widely rumoured to be the final round, where the TPP’s 12 member countries sealed the deal on the world’s most ambitious — and largest — free-trade agreement.

Advocates of the TPP hope that the agreement, which seeks to eliminate or reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, will boost economies of the member nations, which together account for nearly 40 per cent of the global economy.

It’s been no secret that the United States, and New Zealand in particular, want access to Canada’s dairy market. News reports will have you believe that Canada’s refusal to budge on tariff rates for dairy is the primary reason the talks fell apart. Not true – although an important point of contention amongst some of the TPP countries, news reports cite disagreements over intellectual property rights and duties on automobile manufacturing between the U.S., Japan and Mexico as the most significant barriers to reaching a conclusive deal.   

Nonetheless, the perception that Canada’s dairy industry is hindering TPP progress persists. Although it’s not known when talks will resume, don’t expect much of a break in the supply management bashing.  

Now is not the time for Canada’s poultry and dairy sectors to breathe a sigh of relief.  With a federal election approaching in Canada and the U.S. gearing up for an election in 2016, there is pressure on the countries’ leaders to finalize the TPP, or at the very least achieve bilateral deals. This will keep supply management in the news, and it provides a great opportunity for the dairy and poultry sectors to take a proactive, rather than a defensive, stance.

In anticipation of the July TPP meeting in Hawaii, the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) put together a great campaign to educate consumers on the benefits of supply management to Canadian dairy farmers and milk production. Called the “Milkledown Effect,” the DFC sought to give consumers information on supply management and its benefits via a website (www.milkledowneffect.ca).

It’s the best campaign showing consumers the benefits of supply management I’ve seen. The reason I feel it’s effective is it keeps the message simple, and touches upon issues that are important to consumers – food safety, the economy, local food production, and family values.

Towards the end of the TPP meeting in Hawaii (July 30) the national poultry boards and the DFC jointly released “Farmers Fight False Information About Supply Management” (available on our website, www.canadianpoultrymag.com), which was full of great information on supply management for consumers and media.  

But it was sent out late in the game, and didn’t receive as much coverage as I would have liked to see. One advantage of the Milkledown Effect is that it is housed on its own webpage, separate from DFC’s main website. This is key because it allowed the DFC and dairy farmers to promote it heavily on social media networks.  

I hope that the feather boards and DFC create a website that houses the fighting false information article for easy access. In the meantime, find it on Google or our website and promote in your own blogs, websites and social networks. Keep the momentum going – and don’t wait until the TPP looms again. The benefits of supply management need to be promoted 365 days a year.

 

 

 

August 17, 2015- Registration for the Poultry Service Industry Workshop (PSIW) is now open.  Celebrating its 40th year, the PSIW is recognized as one of the leading poultry workshops in North America, having a program that is focused on relevant, contemporary and practical topics.  For more information, visit www.poultryworkshop.com

 

David Brock never thought he would be a chicken farmer. After finishing school and working as an agriculture representative for several years, he fulfilled his dream of owning 1,000 acres and raising pigs in Staffa, Ont. But 20 years later, and with two sons interested in farming, David was looking towards providing income stability for multiple families and used his astute business skills to analyze the poultry industry.

In September of 1997 he purchased Maple Leaf Food’s corporate broiler breeder operations in nearby Monkton and Palmerston and incorporated Four Corners Poultry. With the purchase came more than 20 employees and out-of-date facilities. Overwhelmed, he brought on board his son Jamie (then only 21 years old), who used his organizational skills to get the farm on track and assist with employee and labour issues. Son Mark, having a great interest in crops and technology, managed the family’s land base in Staffa, began a progressive cropping operation and slowly set about incorporating manure from the breeder operation.

As production manager Don Haasnoot told Canadian Poultry, David is a “strategic, forward-thinking” owner and his vision was to bring the breeder operation back to the Staffa land base. David admits he spends a long time thinking about how the future should be shaped and says business owners need to realize that “big changes can’t be made all at once, they must be calculated.”

He’s used this philosophy over the past 14 years to slowly build new production barns at the Staffa site while ensuring the farm is financially viable, and most importantly, sustainable.

Understanding that energy costs will continue to rise, David has ensured the new facilities take advantage of the latest technology and efficiencies. Four Corners now grows its own pullets and boasts a smaller spiker facility built to provide an internal supply of males and enhance biosecurity. The family also invested in having a natural gas line extended to the Staffa site to eliminate propane use and the biosecurity risk of propane trucks travelling to the farm. Natural gas, now used to fuel a corn dryer, run several farm service vehicles and heat the barns, has saved the operation 35 per cent in energy costs.

Because the area in which their farm is situated is rather unique, having sinkholes (open cracks in the bedrock that allow surface drainage to enter the underground aquifer), the Brocks are “very conscious” of environmental responsibility. Although it’s unknown whether the aquifer is the one that supplies drinking water for the area, and they work with the Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority on monitoring and have a test well on the property. Wash-down and clean-out procedures have been enhanced to reduce water use and every facility has very large grass buffer strips to absorb runoff.

Long before the poultry operation was a consideration, David had purchased 50 acres of woodlot and created tree shelterbelts on the crop land to prevent erosion. The land is systematically tiled to prevent flooding and reduce runoff and Mark utilizes GPS and historical farm data to ensure that manure spreading is effective and has minimized or eliminated the use of potash and nitrogen inputs.

To reduce disease risk and increase biosecurity, Jamie not only developed new washout procedures but also implemented the use of a Biovator (he now sells them) to render deadstock and cull eggs. These strategies helped reduce the hazards associated with visiting multiple sites. He also implemented the use of manure sheds at the Staffa and Monkton sites.

Since becoming a self-grower, Four Corners Poultry has been Salmonella-free and works continually to maintain this status. Along with an intensive cleaning/disinfection program and attention to flock husbandry, rodent and fly control are key areas.  

Although “we couldn’t afford it at the time,” Jamie says, the operation began employing rodent services several years ago and has recently begun using parasitic wasps instead of chemicals to control flies to further reduce Salmonella risk.

As a grower for Cargill’s, the supplier to McDonald’s restaurants, the Brock family is keenly aware of consumer food safety concerns. They strive to practise antibiotic-free management, which is achieved through a Coccidiosis vaccination program and careful attention to brooding management, particularly on litter moisture levels in the first two weeks of placement. Blood testing by hatchery technicians and environmental swabbing pre-placement further guide brooding management.

As an employer of 20 full-time staff, Four Corners takes health and safety and training seriously, providing ongoing training and modern personal protective  equipment (including respirators).

David has been a board director for the Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission (OBHECC) for the past six years and was heavily involved with OBHECC’s revamped cost-of-production formula, a strategy established so that the industry “doesn’t become stale” and income stability for producers is maintained.

Now that the farm is nearly where he and his family want it to be, he says “we can do even more sustainability projects.”

 

 

 

 

Is supply management on the chopping block? It’s a question stakeholders have asked each time the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations have made the evening news since Canada joined the discussions three years ago.

And now that it appears as though a TPP deal may be soon reached, there is worry that the federal government will sacrifice our supply management system to appease the demands of the United States and New Zealand, two countries that are frothing at the mouth to gain access to Canada’s dairy and poultry markets.

Much of the information available regarding the TPP is conjecture but one thing is for certain: the federal government has consistently voiced its belief in supply management, saying it is not up for negotiation in the agreement (see page 6). In fact, every country involved in the TPP wants to protect its own programs.

There may be some concessions made as was the case of the recent trade talks between Canada and the European Union when supply management was also rumoured to be on the cutting-room floor. They were finalized last year, and supply management remained intact.

The TPP does have benefits for other sectors of agriculture, but it doesn’t have to be pushed through at the expense of supply management, and the feds know it.

Why would the government want to remove a system that allows farmers to cover their cost of production, make a living from what they grow and produce safe food?

The answer may lie south of the border. One has to wonder why the U.S. wants access to the Canadian chicken market when the structure of its own industry is under fire. There is a growing movement in the U.S. right now against chicken-processing companies and the integration model used.

In particular, several chicken-grower “whistleblowers” have begun to speak out against the perils of being contract growers for large companies. One whistleblower in particular has allowed a documentary crew onto his farm in the film “Cock Fight” (available on YouTube). As the “chicken farmer who owns no chickens,” Craig Watts makes a compelling case for the U.S. needing to take a second look at the integration model. His processor, Perdue, hasn’t dropped him as a grower for speaking out, but the company said Watts needed some “assistance” on how to do a better, more efficient job at producing chickens.

Watts’ farming ability aside, he and his fellow whistleblowers are getting their message out. Another soon-to-be-released documentary film called Under Contract has been gaining traction on social media and was the subject of a recent segment by John Oliver on his Last Week Tonight show. Country singer Willie Nelson and Ohio Democrat Marcy Kaptur recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that grower contracts impede first amendment rights and insisting that the system must change.

These activists may be on to something. They have drawn the public’s attention to deficiencies in the U.S. system and perhaps eyes are on Canada not as an enviable model but as a ready source of product.

This month’s issue, our annual Who’s Who of the poultry industry, is a testament to Canada’s poultry farmers and how supply management is so beneficial to them and to the industry as a whole.

We hope reading their stories will remind you that despite the challenges we have a system that works.

 

 

 

July 20, 2015 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has removed the quarantines in
the first Avian Influenza Control Zone, which includes IP1, located in Oxford County, Ontario, upon completion of the 21 day waiting period that followed cleaning and disinfection of IP1 under CFIA oversight.

The quarantine on IP3 has also been removed. However the quarantine on IP2 remains in effect. As such, the second Avian Influenza Control Zone remains in effect. The CFIA continues to issue permits for the movement of birds and bird products from this zone. If no new detections of avian influenza are reported during the waiting period, the quarantine for IP2 will be lifted on July 29, and the second Avian Influenza Control Zone will be removed.

Information table for infected premises has been updated on the
Agency's website..

Poultry farmers are reminded to practice a high level of biosecurity to reduce the risk of disease spread, and report any suspicious symptoms in their flocks to the CFIA.

July 8, 2015 - According to the Ontario Livestock and Poultry Council (OLPC), as of today, the first and third poultry premises to be affected by H5N2 in Ontario (IP1 and IP3, respectively), have passed Cleaning and Disinfection (C&D) inpsections by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).  It is anticipated that IP2 will pass its inspection today. 

Quarantine Zone 1 should be lifted on July 20, with July 21st being the first quarantine-free day, after which no movement permits and licenses will be required.   Zone 2 should be lifted on July 29th or 30th. 

The 90-day post oubreak surveillance period should end in the middle of October. Ontario will only be declared avian influenza free if the virus is not found during the surveillance period.  READ MORE  

 

July 7, 2015 - On August 27, join Farm & Food Care Canada in welcoming Dr. Temple Grandin to Guelph. Dr. Grandin is a famed animal behaviorist, author, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and autism awareness advocate.

Dr. Grandin is a world-renowned inspiration to people with autism for her work as an animal behaviorist. Dr. Grandin has developed humane livestock handling systems, and has worked as a consultant to the livestock handling industry on animal care standards. She has, in addition, designed processing facilities in which half the cattle in the United States are handled while working for Burger King, McDonalds, Swift and others.

Dr. Grandin was named by Time Magazine as one of 2010’s “100 most influential People in the World”. HBO also produced the award-winning biographical film on her life entitled Temple Grandin. She currently speaks around the world on both autism and animal behaviour.

Event details:

The event will be held on August 27 at the University of Guelph’s War Memorial Hall. Dr. Grandin’s talk begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a Q&A session. A reception with Dr. Grandin begins at 8:00 p.m. Attendees are welcome to bring their copies of Dr. Grandin’s books to have them autographed.

Tickets are $50 each (includes a $20 charitable receipt) or $30 for students. Free parking will also be provided. Tickets can be ordered through www.FarmCareFoundation.ca or by phone at 519-837-1326.

June 11, 2015 - The 2016 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) has already surpassed 410,000 net square feet of exhibit space and has secured more than 929 exhibitors as of the beginning of June.

Comprised of the three integrated tradeshows – International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo and International Meat Expo – the IPPE is the world’s largest annual poultry, feed and meat trade show. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).

“More than 85 percent of the show floor has already been booked, and we anticipate more than 28,000 attendees. The 2016 IPPE will provide a great location for businesses to interact, network, learn about new products and services, and discuss common issues facing the protein and feed industries,” stated Charlie Olentine, IPPE show manager.

IPPE will be held Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 26-28, 2016, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. The Expo will highlight the latest technology, equipment and services used in the production and processing of feed, meat and poultry products. IPPE will also feature dynamic education programs addressing current industry issues, combining the expertise from AFIA, NAMI and USPOULTRY.

2016 IPPE SHOW HOURS:

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

For more information about the 2016 IPPE, visit www.ippexpo.com 

May 25, 2015 - Wal-mart Stores Inc. has announced voluntary guidelines on antibiotic use for its meat suppliers, becoming the first major retailer to take a public stand on the practice of using antibiotics in livestock feed.  Reuters reports

 

 

 

May 29, 2015 - At its 30th annual meeting held in Toronto this month, the Further Poultry Processors Association of Canada (FPPAC) elected the following Board of Directors and Officers: 

Chairman: Blair Shier, J.D. Sweid 

Vice-Chair: Ian Hesketh, Uni Foods 

Secretary-Treasurer: Jamie Falcao, Maple Leaf Foods 

Board of Directors

Blair Shier J.D. Sweid 

Don Kilimnik Sunwest Foods 

Ian Hesketh Uni Foods 

Jamie Falcao Maple Leaf Foods 

Mike Haworth Maple Lodge Farms 

Kevin Thompson Sargent Farms 

Betty Dikeos D & D Poultry 

Yvan Brodeur Olymel 

Paul Murphy Maxi Canada

 

 

For each issue of Canadian Poultry magazine, I give our production team several pictures that relate to the cover story and we sit down and discuss the photo options and the article. It’s often not easy to find photos that convey the story perfectly, but we try to have something relevant.

Taking photos inside of commercial poultry barns is tricky and requires a lot of equipment that I don’t have, and let’s face it there are only so many ways to photograph chickens in a barn. So, often I rely on stock photography.

Stock photography websites offer plenty of different options. In addition to photos of chickens, there are many photo options available to show a “concept” if you dig deep enough. For this month’s cover story (see page 10) I tried to show “growth” in the poultry industry in a generic form, without focusing on one specific driver. I gave the production team photos of a car dashboard (to show “driving”) and arrows on a graph to show growth. A bit of a stretch maybe, but I thought it could work with the right image.

Well my first attempt didn’t hit the mark but it brought up an interesting point about consumer perception.

Since the cover story discusses not only what’s driving growth, but how these drivers will allow growth to be sustainable, one of our production artists suggested a photo of chickens in loose housing or in a group outside, because in her mind, this type of production is “more sustainable.”

This was an innocent comment from someone who hasn’t had to sit through a multitude of cover meetings with me explaining why these types of photos are often inappropriate for many articles (she’s fairly new to the publishing company). Yet, her innocence is very telling of how an average consumer envisions what poultry production should look like.

This is matched by a recent survey reported by the Western Producer. Commissioned by Alberta Farm Animal Care, the survey asked more than 750 people about their knowledge of farm practices and how it might affect their eating habits. While it’s not surprising the market research firm found that [people] are “fundamentally ignorant about farming practices and what goes into what they are eating,” it also identified the term “super farms” emerged in the survey, which respondents used to refer to “large corporate industrial farms.”

It’s not clear if a typical poultry operation where chickens are housed in a barn would be considered a “super farm,” but respondents felt these types of operations should be monitored for their effect on the environment, animal welfare and human health. Concern over how “industrial” farms could be impacting health was identified as an emerging issue, and that women were more likely to believe confinement housing had detrimental health effects.

This shows that in addition to animal welfare – the key focus area for consumer engagement efforts as of late – consumers are worried about environmental effects, and how they could affect their own health.

If poultry is going to continue in a sustainable manner, it’s not going to be achieved solely on the type of operation envisioned by our production artist. The industry needs to consider how to address the “look” of confinement housing from an environmental, and animal welfare point of view.

 

 

 

April 26, 2015 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed that a third poultry premise in Oxford County, Ont. has tested tested positive for H5N2 Avian influenza.
This premise is in close proximity to the second premise identified with avian influenza (a broiler breeder farm) and is within the second control zone established by the CFIA last week.

The infected premise is a turkey flock of 8,000 birds.  The CFIA is hoping that this development will not impact the existing parameters of zone 2 or trade but those points are yet to be confirmed. 

For a timeline of events in Ontario, click here.

H5N2 has spread rapidly in the MidWest U.S.  For an update on these cases, click here

 

Here’s an example in consumer and farmer disparity for you: at the recent 50th anniversary Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) annual meeting, its first general manager, Brian Ellsworth, noted how in the early years, the focus was on fair pricing for farmers and increasing consumption; 50 years later, the organization is giving $50,000 to the Farm and Food Care Foundation to enhance public trust in food.

Consumer mistrust of food and food production wasn’t a reality faced by EFO and it’s provincial and national counterparts in the early 1960s and into the early 1970s, when the primary issues facing the poultry industry were farm economics and controlling production levels.

In the early years of orderly marketing, consumer engagement consisted solely on the promotion of eggs, chicken and turkey. There wasn’t any need to place farmers or farming into the limelight; what they do and how they do it was never questioned. Fifty years ago, people weren’t as removed from farming as they are now.

But all of this has changed dramatically since then. The EFO presented this disparity very well during its meeting, beginning with a “respecting our past” session followed by “embracing our present” and “building our future” sessions. It served to educate producers on how the industry has evolved and shared several key lessons that are applicable across the industry nationwide.

Lawyers involved in upholding the legislation behind the supply management system discussed its origins and how the legislation – a “fusion” of national and provincial authority, has stood the test of time and numerous legal challenges. Despite this, it is not a system to be taken for granted, said speaker Pierre Brousseau, a Montreal-based lawyer who’s made a career out of working with supply-managed commodities. “The younger generation needs to realize that supply management is not written in marble.”

Lawyer Herman Turkstra noted that the “world outside” of supply management wonders about it and said the steps the industry has taken in recent years to communicate with the public and be more transparent is key, and needs to continue with greater effort in future.

This is particularly important with an upcoming federal election and the push from the United States for Canada to sacrifice supply management in order to allow the Trans-Pacific Talks to move ahead. Although one of the “embracing our present” speakers, Chad Gregory, president of the United Egg Producers (UEP), praised the system, he acknowledged that without it, “it would be a matter of months” before U.S. producers moved in.

The reality for our forefathers was setting up a system that worked for both producers and consumers. But it’s not just about stability and profitability anymore. Now, farmers are faced with not only protecting the system in which they operate, but defending what they do and how they do it every day.

It’s not fun having to be on the defense at every turn, but it’s necessary in today’s world. As “building our future” speaker Jim Carroll – a futurist, trend and innovation expert – noted, seven out of 10 children today will be working in jobs that aren’t even in existence yet. Their world is social, immediate and online, and they are bombarded with messages at every turn. The industry needs to embrace this, and ensure that the messages they receive are factual – the future depends on it.

 

 

 

May 14, 2015 - H5N2 avian influenza continues to spread in the northern U.S. with new cases being reported daily.  The total number of detections is 162 with 33,521,073 birds affected.  Also for the first time this week, highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza was detected in a backyard mixed-poultry flock in Whitley County, Indiana.  While there have been multiple detections of HPAI H5N2 in the Mississippi flyway, this is the first finding of HPAI H5N8 in the Mississippi flyway, which previously had only been confirmed in the Pacific flyway.  READ MORE 

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