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November 20, 2014 - Egg Farmers of Canada has been named by Waterstone Human Capital as one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures. Now in its 10th year, the national program annually recognizes best-in-class Canadian organizations for having a culture that has helped them enhance performance and sustain a competitive advantage.

"It is such a great honour to be receiving this award. Our employees and farmers work hard every day to incorporate social responsibility into all aspects of our organization," said Tim Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of Egg Farmers of Canada. "We do that by constantly striving towards improving our communities, showing integrity and passion in our work, and by including social, cultural, health, environmental and financial aspects into all of our policy making to ensure our industry remains strong now and for future generations."

Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™ is founded and presented by Waterstone Human Capital, one of Canada's fastest-growing retained executive search firms specializing in recruiting for fit and in cultural assessment.

"Egg Farmers of Canada is a remarkable organization," says Jennifer Mondoux, Managing Director, Ottawa, Waterstone Human Capital. "CEO Tim Lambert is leading a very sophisticated and innovative team, rooted in rural communities and sustainability, with a strongly aligned culture. Egg Farmers' work on the international front, and in other CSR initiatives here in Canada, is truly impressive. They are very deserving of this award."

Egg Farmers of Canada sponsors many national causes including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure and Breakfast Club of Canada and Food Banks Canada. They also support the development of youth and the next generation of leaders within agriculture and more broadly through the Canadian Young Farmers Forum and the Forum for Young Canadians.

Through the International Egg Foundation, which seeks to increase egg production and consumption in developing countries, Egg Farmers of Canada is supporting Project Canaan, an initiative that helps address food insecurity and feeds orphaned children in Swaziland by sharing Canadian expertise on sustainable farming.

 

October 16, 2014 - Lors de la tenue du dernier conseil d’administration de la Fédération des producteurs d’œufs du Québec (FPOQ), la directrice générale de l’Union des producteurs agricoles, Mme Guylaine Gosselin, fut invitée à procéder au tirage du gagnant du Programme d’aide au démarrage de nouveaux producteurs. Par conséquent, M. Alex Turcotte-Lauzier, de Val-Brillant au Bas-Saint-Laurent, est le récipiendaire 2014 du Mérite Philippe Olivier et, par le fait même, se voit octroyer un droit d’utilisation de 6 000 unités de quota de poules pondeuses. M. Turcotte-Lauzier en était à sa troisième participation au Programme.

Rappelons que la Fédération commémore le décès de M. Philippe Olivier, ancien employé de la Fédération responsable du Programme, par la remise du Mérite Philippe Olivier à tous les  récipiendaires.

July 24, 2014 - The Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan has been given an investment of $275,000 to undertake a research project on disease control from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

The announcement was made today by Member of Parliament Brad Trost, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, in Saskatoon.

With this investment, the Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan aims to identify and characterize new variants of the avian reovirus and determine how they are transmitted. It also aims to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for inclusion body hepatitis (IBH) in field trials.

This project is a step in the development of vaccines for avian reovirus and IBH, two diseases which are a common problem for many broiler producers. If commercialized, these vaccines have the potential of reducing economic losses in the Canadian broiler chicken industry and the need for therapeutics by preventing instead of treating these diseases.

Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan Chair Diane Pastoor said the organization is “excited to receive this investment to advance research and development into safe and effective vaccines for the Canadian poultry industry.” The research will be conducted through the University of Saskatchewan by Dr. Susantha Gomis and will assist the industry in improving flock health and reducing the usage of antibiotics, she said. 

This investment is made through the Industry-led Research and Development stream of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's AgriInnovation Program, a five-year, up to $698-million initiative under Growing Forward 2.

May 7, 2014, Ottawa, Ont. - The Pullet Growers of Canada (PGC) is disappointed with the decision by Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, that PGC not be granted Part 2 Agency Status under the Farm Products Agencies Act of Canada, but PGC remains firmly committed to developing a stable and sustainable future for Canadian pullet growers.

"This has been a long and involved process. This is the right time for PGC to come under supply management and would have been a positive change for Canadian pullet growers," said Andy DeWeerd, PGC Chair. "Achieving agency status would have stabilized the pullet industry and allowed us to be proactive - instead of reactive - in implementing national programs on cost of production, disease control, HACCP [Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points] and housing standards, among many others."

This decision comes after more than four years of organizational preparations by the PGC as they proceeded step by step through the legal process of applying for Agency Status to include pullets in the supply management marketing system. Pullets are the day-old chicks raised to 19 weeks that become layer hens. Pullets are currently the only part of the poultry system that is not in supply management.

A successful application would have given PGC the required legal powers to represent and make decisions on behalf of member provincial pullet grower organizations on issues related to cost of production, disease control and animal welfare, among many other issues facing the industry. Stable pricing under supply management would have allowed pullet growers to reinvest in their farms and address social and environmental responsibilities to the standards expected by Canadians with consistent national programs.

"We have come too far to just give up," says DeWeerd. "Now is the time to regroup, examine our options and forge ahead. The status quo simply doesn't work anymore and one way or another, PGC will lead Canadian pullet growers into a stable future."

 

April 30, 2014 - The Egg Farmers of Alberta (EFA) has announced that the application window for the New Entrant Program (NEP) is now open, giving individuals the chance to become Alberta’s newest egg farmer.  

The New Entrant Program was established in order to assist individuals and families who want to own and operate an egg farm in Alberta, by alleviating some of the producer’s start-up costs.  NEP quota will be issued at no cost to the successful applicant(s).

 

To be eligible for EFA’s NEP, the following criteria must be met. The applicant: 

-    must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;

-    must be  a permanent resident of Alberta;

-    Not be a current or past quota holder

 

All applications will be reviewed for eligibility and evaluated by a selection committee.  Quota will be issued in lots of up to 1,500 birds.  If the total number of qualified candidates exceeds the number of lots available, a draw will be held to determine the NEP allotment.

 

To apply, interested parties must complete and submit a New Entrant Plan application form to the EFA Board of Directors, along with a comprehensive business plan and a $1,000 fee.  For more information, NEP information packages are available online (www.eggs.ab.ca/NEP).  Applicants can submit their application form, business plan and fee via mail, or in person at the EFA office.  Applications will be accepted from April 30, 2014 until June 27, 2014.

April 21, 2014 - Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) today announced a new campaign showcasing the "Natural Goodness" of Canadian eggs. The new campaign features eggs as a natural choice, which consumer research revealed to be very important. 

"We know that more and more Canadians are choosing foods that are nutritious and wholesome," says Bonnie Cohen, Egg Farmers of Canada's Director of Marketing and Nutrition. "The campaign, profiling a Canadian egg farmer, reminds consumers that they can trust the goodness and purity of Canadian eggs," Cohen added.

Developed by Cossette in English and French, EFC's Natural Goodness campaign launches on TV, in print, online and in-store, all including the tagline: Natural Goodness. Brought to you by your local egg farmers. The centrepiece of the campaign is a new 30-second TV spot that features second generation egg farmer, Laurent Souligny, and his family. In the spot, Souligny outlines his family's farming history and explains how eggs have always been a natural source of protein and nutrients.

"Recruiting a practicing farmer with generations of experience brings authenticity, and allowed us to underscore the message that eggs have always been naturally good," adds David Daga, Co Chief Creative Director at Cossette.

EFC's Natural Goodness campaign launches on TV and online in April. Print and in-store will roll-out later this year.

The new Natural Goodness TVC can be viewed here.

 

March 20, 2014- Chicken Farmers of Canada announced the election of its 2014 Executive Committee yesterday in Ottawa. The elections followed its annual general meeting. The 15-member Board of Directors, made up of farmers and other stakeholders from the chicken industry, has chosen the following representatives: 

Dave Janzen, re-elected as Chair, has represented British Columbia as an alternate since 2006 and has been their director since 2008. He joined the Executive committee in 2010 and first became the Chair in 2012. His family farm in Abbotsford that he and wife Jeannie started from scratch in 1981 has been home to four Janzen kids, and is right next door to the Fraser Valley dairy farm where he grew up. Dave and his family produce nearly 1 million kg each year.

 Yvon Cyr, elected as the 1st Vice-Chair, has been a chicken farmer since 1987. He produces approximately 3.3 million kg of chicken each year on his farm near Saint-François-de-Madawaska in New Brunswick. He is part of the Westco Group, which produces 16.5 million kg of chicken per year, 1.5 million kg of turkey, 80,000 breeders, 70,000 commercial laying hens and operates one hatchery. Yvon and his wife Linda have four boys.

Benoît Fontaine, from Stanbridge Station, Quebec, was elected as the 2nd Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee. He joined the Board last year as an alternate, served on the Production Committee and became the Quebec Director this year. He farms in the Lac Champlain area and raises 3 million kg of chicken, 100,000 ducks and 85,000 turkeys each year. A 2nd generation chicken farmer, Benoît has also been heavily involved in the Union des producteurs agricoles, the Quebec farmer organization, since 1999.

Vernon Froese, of Grunthal, Manitoba has been on the Chicken Farmers of Canada Board since 2012, but was an alternate prior to that. At the 2014 AGM, Vernon was elected to the Executive Committee as the Executive Member. Vernon, wife Hilda, and two sons grow over 800,000 kg of chicken each year; cash crop about 750 acres of corn and canola, and raise 12,000 feeder pigs. He has previously served on the Board’s Policy Committee.

 

This is my final piece as the principal contributor to The Back Page. When I was invited a year ago to write the column, I accepted, but explained that I couldn’t do it for more than a year because of other commitments.

So, what should my final article be about? Reflecting upon my 16 years of managing communications for Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO), I decided to write about Bob Lakey, who very sadly passed away about ten years ago. Bob became a great friend and, if this column reads like a tribute, that is OK with me and I am sure it will be just fine with anyone who met Bob or heard him speak about the American poultry industry, trade and supply management.

In 1991 or ‘92, I suggested to the CFO that we should develop contacts with American chicken farmers and try to find someone who would be willing to speak at CFO’s Annual Meeting. I needed somebody “real” who could speak farmer-to-farmer and who would not suffer stage fright when speaking to 500 people in a big Toronto hotel. The person I found was Bob Lakey who lived in Adona, Arkansas, which is about an hour outside of Little Rock.

My journey into the world of American chicken farming began at a three-day long clandestine meeting of the National Contract Poultry Growers’ Association. It was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, someplace in Alabama. That is where I met chicken farmers from across the country, including Bob Lakey. The meeting was clandestine because the farmers did not want any “integrators” to sneak into the meeting and recognize disgruntled growers. Should that happen, the farmers feared losing their contract, knowing full well that once an integrator “cuts off” a grower, no other company will touch him. It was literally by invitation only.

At one point, I was invited to go to the front of the hall to speak about supply management because they were very interested in hearing me explain how farmers in Canada made a good living growing chickens. About five minutes into my supply management talk, I suddenly stopped and said: “It just hit me. I know why your situation is so bleak. You don’t own the food you produce. You have nothing to sell and that is why you have no power.” Nobody argued with me.

The next day, I invited Bob to come to Canada. He thought I was kidding, but I wasn’t, and he accepted my invitation. When he arrived, we asked if he would like to go to the top of the CN tower or see Niagara Falls. In his distinct southern accent, he graciously declined the offers and said he would much rather visit some chicken farms, which we did.  He was shocked at what he saw and asked me if I had staged visits to four or five of the nicest farms.

Bob visited Canada several times and always delivered a powerful message and one that bears repeating,

Here are some excerpts from his speech to a full house at the 1995 CFO Annual Meeting in Toronto. Everybody wanted to hear his compelling story about life in the chicken business from an American perspective. It’s my pleasure to end The Back Page with words from Bob Lakey – the man from Arkansas.

“We need legislation designed specifically to give effective protection to poultry growers in their dealings with the integrators. Contract growing is not going to go away in the United States. I believe that we will continue to grow birds that we don’t own. That is why we need legislation that would make our contracts with the integrators true contracts. Today, we have no say in those contracts. We have to sign them or lose our farms. They are not contracts between two partners. They are ultimatums.

“My chicken houses produce six flocks per year with 20,000 birds per flock. At the end of the year, after I have made my mortgage payments, paid the utilities and covered other business costs, and I allow absolutely nothing for my labor, I can expect to net about $4,000. That is $4,000 net per house, per year. So, with my three houses, I could expect to net $12,000 a year.

“I sincerely hope that you are successful in Canada in your battle to maintain effective tariffs on chicken, because if you are not, you will end up like me in a real hurry. I doubt very much if any of you would want to trade places. I wouldn’t wish our situation on my worst enemy, and I sure wouldn’t wish it on you people, who I consider to be my good friends.”

 

The needs of the poultry industry are changing and Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) is investing in enhanced capabilities and capacity to deliver that change. That investment began with the introduction of the CFO Flock Manager program in 2013.

 Flock Manager is an online reporting system that has created a more efficient way of filing the familiar Form 3’s and 6’s that broiler farmers have always submitted to report flock production and marketing. The electronic filing system simplifies the process, eliminating legibility issues, reducing the number of incomplete forms by forcing data entry in required sections of the form, and significantly speeding up the transfer of information.

“It used to be a seven- to 10-day gap with the form ‘in the mail,’ ” said Cathy Aker, CFO’s manager of quality and risk management. While the system will eventually be used by all farmers, Aker said that the early adopters have been critical in helping to shape and refine the reporting system.

So how has it worked so far?

Mike and Leonie Vander Meer and their son Daniel operate a broiler farm in Wellandport, Ont. When they first heard of the opportunity to participate in CFO’s Flock Manager electronic form trials, Mike was a little hesitant – he didn’t spend a lot of time with a computer – but Leonie said, “No, we should do this.”

“The first attempts at electronic filing with Flock Manager involved at lot of phone calls,“ Leonie remembers, “and a bit of technical frustration in the wee hours of the morning as the chickens ship out somewhere between midnight and 8 a.m.”  

Mike and Leonie soon discovered that the program worked better with Fire Fox than Internet Explorer. Webinars were available to help coach them though the forms and in the early stages they appreciated the opportunity to provide suggestions for refining the forms. They have since purchased a tablet in order to be more mobile. It took only a few crops for Mike to become comfortable with using Flock Manger on the tablet on his own.

Leonie encourages those still hesitating to attempt the electronic filing to try it, as it is easier to grow along with the program than playing “catch up” later on.

Tim Klompmaker is a chicken farmer from Peterborough County, farming there since 1984. He is also the CFO board director for District 9 and chair of the Farm Operations and Sustainability committee. Klompmaker was involved in Flock Manager at the committee level at CFO, but as a farmer he became involved when his processor, Farm Fresh Poultry Co-operative, agreed to participate in the traceability pilot project.

 From his farmer perspective, Flock Manager was about helping to eliminate the need for paper forms and allowing the quick and efficient flow of information electronically between CFO, farmer, processor and hatcheries. From a risk management perspective the new program would allow for quick access to information and the ability to react promptly in the case of a disease outbreak.

As a farmer, Klompmaker sees Flock Manager as “a work in progress.” He recalls that, just the way their schedule worked out, they were both shipping from one farm the first week of the program and placing chicks at their other farm. “We were basically the guinea pigs for the program so it was time-consuming initially,” he said, but as far as adapting to the new program it was a relatively easy transition since the online forms are not significantly different from the paper forms.

With his director hat on, Klompmaker would like to expand the program so that as much reporting as possible will be done online, including but not limited to the On Farm Food Safety Assurance Program (OFFSAP) and Animal Care Program (ACP).

In July 2013, Paul Bakker used Flock Manager for the first time. He was “pleasantly surprised,” especially with the 24-hour support line provided by Earl Thomson. “There will always be some bugs,” said Bakker, who farms near Belwood, Ont.

His involvement as a member of the processing co-operative Farm Fresh Poultry, a company that has now gone entirely paperless for the Form 3 and 6, helped him to decide to become involved early. To him, Flock Manager was “long overdue.” Bakker doesn’t consider himself to be super tech savvy but he is familiar with computers. “It’s just clicking buttons,” he said, so it wasn’t a big jump for him to handle the computerized version of the familiar forms.

When he first started with Flock Manager he found himself going back and forth to the barn while entering all the information, but now it’s streamlined – he just passes it off to the driver and it’s done.

“There’s nothing I’d change,” said Bakker. All of the information is in drop down boxes on the computer screen, making selections easy. He reports that the interface is intuitive and very simple, and the support team can fix things in real time, 24/7. If you’re sitting on the fence about Flock Manager, “go in with an open mind,” said Bakker, who is now up to speed after only two or three flocks.

As of February 2014, almost 250 Ontario broiler farmers are using the Flock Manager system.

Cathy Aker reports that at the processor level, those committed to using Flock Manager wouldn’t look back. Maximizing output drives the bottom line, said Aker, and now Canadian Food Inspection Agency vets can access information instantly online, reducing delays at the plant. In that respect, Flock Manager will help to streamline the inspection process.

As the program evolves, Aker predicts further “tweaks” to Form 6, which starts with the farmer but is then passed along to the driver. “We’ve had varying levels of success,” she reports, largely because of different comfort levels of the drivers with using mobile electronic devices to input the data. The first solution involved texting the information using an older-style flip phone, but there were issues when big fingers met small keys. She is confident that a new transporter portal data entry system will work better.

Even though it is still relatively new, the Flock Manager system is currently undergoing a “rebranding” and will be known as CFO Connects – Trace, part of a complete system which will streamline, standardize and automate all operations. This new platform will help CFO reach its goal of simplifying how business is done in the chicken industry.

 

January 24, 2014 - The Quebec federation of egg producers (FPOCQ) have launched the the province's first food product traceability system, allowing consumers to trace eggs from farm to fork. FULL STORY 

Oct. 3, 2013, Ottawa, ON - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has announced the appointment of Debra Etsell as a member of the Farm Products Council of Canada (FPCC) effective immediately and will be for a three year term.
 
“I’m confident that Ms. Etsell’s hands-on farming experience and passion for seeing the sector grow will be an asset to the Council’s work,” said Minister Ritz.

Debra Etsell has been in the agriculture industry for approximately 25 years and is the director of Coligny Hill Farms Ltd., an Abbotsford, British Columbia farm where she along with her husband and two sons, currently produce turkeys, hay and wine grapes. Her passion for agriculture has also led to working with various farm organizations - since 2007, she has been with the B.C. Blueberry Council and is currently its executive director. Etsell has also worked for the B.C. Agriculture Council as well as the B.C. Raspberry Industry Development Council.
 
The FPCC plays a key part in Canada's supply management system for poultry and eggs. Created in 1972, the Council supervises the operations of the four national marketing agencies that manage the supply of Canadian chicken, turkey, eggs and broiler hatching eggs. These agencies establish and allocate production quota, promote products, raise funds through levies and license marketers. In addition, the Council supervises the operation of the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency. Until 2009, the FPCC was known as the National Farm Products Council.
 
For more information about the FPCC, please visit http://fpcc-cpac.gc.ca/
Jun. 10, 2013, Mississauga, ON - The Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) have decided to launch an electronic quota transfer system to provide a new and improved quota market mechanism for its farmers in 2014.

Beginning in early 2014, buyers and sellers of Ontario egg and pullet quota will conduct transfers through a transparent and accessible electronic transfer system rather than through direct private sales arrangements.

"The EFO board made the decision at its June meeting following extensive discussions and research into a variety of potential options including similar existing transfer methods already in place in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec," said EFO Chair Scott Graham.

"EFO will be consulting extensively with egg and pullet farmers over the next few months to design the details of a made-in-Ontario quota transfer system that works for our farmers," Graham added.

All Ontario egg and pullet quota holders were informed by mail and email on June 6 about the decision. They were also advised that, until the new quota transfer system is operating, the EFO board has instituted a moratorium on egg and pullet quota transfers to allow for an orderly implementation of the new process.

Graham said the decision to introduce an organized market for quota follows two years of discussion and consultations with farmers. "Discussions about potential ways to improve the method of transferring Ontario egg and pullet quotas have been underway since 2011," Graham said. "Farmers said the lack of opportunity and lack of information about private quota sales means they find it is becoming more difficult to purchase quota without having to go through egg and pullet industry service representatives."

Based on feedback from farmers during the last two years that Ontario needs a more effective market for quota transfers, the EFO board decided that farmers need a regularly-scheduled market where all buyers and sellers are guaranteed access to participate on fair and equal terms. "All buyers and sellers will benefit from the accessibility of an effective, organized market mechanism co-ordinated in a transparent way by a third-party organization," Graham said.

Now that the decision has been made to launch a new quota transfer system, EFO will be working with farmers to develop details of the new system, Graham said. "EFO will be consulting with egg and pullet farmers over the next few months to make sure the system works for our members," he said.  "To make this happen, the criteria surrounding the quota transfer system will be the subject of meetings to be held in late summer and early fall."

Oct. 1, 2012, Ottawa, ON - In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux are once again encouraging Canadians to generously donate to their local food banks. PS Lemieux joined Turkey Farmers of Canada Chair Mark Davies at the Ottawa Food Bank. Mr. Davies was on hand to present a $50,000 donation to Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada.

"As Canadians, we should be thankful for the high-quality products produced by our turkey farmers and processors," said PS Lemieux. "By giving a helping hand to our rural food banks, together we can ensure that more families across Canada can celebrate Thanksgiving and enjoy delicious Canadian turkey."

This year marks the fourth consecutive year that Turkey Farmers of Canada has partnered with Food Banks Canada to raise money for rural food banks. The Turkey Farmers of Canada donation will be distributed to rural food banks all
across Canada and used to purchase whole turkeys or turkey products to distribute to their clients in need.

"Turkey Farmers of Canada is proud to partner with Food Banks Canada for a fourth year," said Mr. Davies. "We are fortunate to be able to support many rural food banks throughout Canada in their ongoing endeavour to provide turkeys to Canadian families again this Thanksgiving."

The Turkey Farmers of Canada is a national organization that has served as the voice of Canada's registered turkey farmers for over 36 years.

"We are honoured and grateful for the ongoing support of Turkey Farmers of Canada and its members who have provided the opportunity for rural food banks to share turkeys in communities across the country at Thanksgiving," said Ms. Schmidt. "Being able to help families in need keep this Canadian tradition will make a real difference to thousands of families."

Food Banks Canada is a national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. The group depends on financial and gifts-in-kind support to reduce hunger in Canada by feeding people across the country.

Sept. 18, 2012, Ottawa, ON - Canada's chicken farmers welcome Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz's announcement of the creation of a new Innovation Advisory Committee, the first of its kind; it underscores Canada's support for ideas that work to meet the evolving consumer demand for high-quality Canadian food.

The FPT Ministers of Agriculture were in Whitehorse settling the final content of the Growing Forward 2 policy framework for the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sector. This will focus investments on strategic initiatives in innovation, competitiveness and market development. "We are pleased that Ministers reaffirmed that the pursuit of an aggressive trade agenda and support for supply management are mutually compatible strategies," said Dave Janzen, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada.

David Fuller, past chair of CFC and chicken farmer from Nova Scotia, has been named to the new committee by Minister Ritz. The committee, launched at the federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) meetings held last week in Whitehorse, Yukon, has a mandate of providing the minister with expert advice on research and development.

"We are proud to have our past chair named to such a prestigious post," said Dave Janzen. "Research and innovation help industries remain responsive and are critical for Canada to be competitive on the world stage. We have earned the trust of Canadians by continually committing to innovation in new products, programs, technologies and processes that help our industry grow and thrive."

CFC supports the ongoing investment in research through the Agri-Science Clusters, Agricultural innovation and several other streams which will help develop new technologies and products.

During his time as CFC Chair, David Fuller oversaw the creation of the Canadian Poultry Research Council with the other four national poultry agencies and is a champion for the need to keep investing in research and innovation.

"This new committee will provide additional industry advice and expertise to help ensure that investments by governments are generating the results and returns needed by farmers," said Minister Ritz.

The committee will have 12 participants that cover a diverse spectrum of sectors and expertise. It will provide the Minister with proactive and strategic advice to help enhance the success of farmers and the sector.

For more information on the Chicken Farmers of Canada, visit www.chicken.ca.

Jul. 24, 2012, Winnipeg, MB - The Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) and all 10 provincial chicken marketing boards celebrated the implementation of the CFC Animal Care Program at the CFC Summer Meeting in Winnipeg today, by signing a memorandum of understanding for the implementation and certification services.

The Animal Care Program is a comprehensive program that stipulates animal care production requirements to ensure animal care standards. This signing reflects the commitment of all 10 Provincial Chicken Boards and Chicken Farmers of Canada to implement and maintain a comprehensive national animal care program and demonstrates the level of animal care on Canadian chicken farms.

The program's implementation has been supported by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, the Further Poultry Processors Council, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.

"The commitment demonstrated in signing this memorandum of understanding is confirmed by the accomplishment of so many Canadian chicken farmers to achieve certification, which enhances the many reasons that we are proud to grow the chicken Canadians trust," indicated Dave Janzen, Chairman of CFC.

The majority of chicken farmers have achieved certification on the program; this number is expected to continue to rise as farms undergo the animal care audit which is being conducted in conjunction with their annual on-farm food safety assurance program audit. Two provinces, Alberta and Prince Edward Island, have already achieved 100% certification and several other provinces will be in the same position within months.

The CFC received an investment of up to $72,500 from the federal government amd will use this investment to undergo an audit of its on-farm food safety system, helping to ensure that the chicken industry follows top-notch safety procedures and practices. The CFC will then proceed to the final stage of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's On-Farm Food Safety Recognition Program. This national program follows the Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles to make sure that potential food safety problems are caught before products leave the farm gate.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding, witnessed by the Honourable Ron Kostyshyn, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives for the Government of Manitoba, outlines the division of roles, responsibilities and authorities between the provincial chicken boards and Chicken Farmers of Canada in order to deliver a credible system to provide on-farm audits and certification services to all Canadian chicken farmers.

The CFC is working toward becoming the first organization to achieve full recognition by this program, and other organizations will be able to learn from the experiences of this pilot project. A strong, government-recognized food safety system will give Canadians more assurance that food products are handled safely, helping to boost farmers' bottom line.

Chicken Farmers of Canada is online at www.chicken.ca.

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