Mar. 21, 2012, Ottawa, ON - Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) is proud to announce the election of the following 2012 Executive Committee.
The 15-member Board of Directors, made up of farmers and other stakeholders from the chicken industry, provides leadership on CFC's strategic plan and mission and has chosen the following representatives:
Dave Janzen, the new Chair of CFC, has represented British Columbia at CFC meetings as an alternate since 2006 and has been their director since 2008. He joined the Executive committee two years ago as the Member at Large and was 1st Vice-Chair in 2011. His family farm in Abbotsford that he and wife Jeannie started from scratch in 1981 has been home to four Janzen kids, now aged 21-27, 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.
Adrian Rehorst, from Teeswater, Ontario, becomes the 1st Vice-Chair for 2012. His family farm is about 20 km from Lake Huron and he represents the farmers of that area, Region 1, on the Ontario chicken board. Adrian has spent many years in the industry, over 30 in fact, and has previously been an alternate to the CFC Board and has served as a member of the CFC Food Safety Committee. Adrian and his wife Lisette raise over 400,000 kg of chicken each year; have 1,500 acres of cash crops and a 55 head cow-calf operation.
Martin Dufresne, representing the province of Quebec, was re-elected to the position of 2nd Vice-Chair. Martin and his family farm near St. Felix-de-Valois and they produce approximately 1.7 million kilograms of chicken per year on the farm started by his father in 1954. He has been farming for over 20 years and was recently the Chair of the Quebec provincial board, Les Eleveurs de volailles du Quebec.
Yvon Cyr, the new Member at Large, has been a chicken farmer since 1987. He produces approximately 3.3 million kg of chicken each year on his farm near Saint-Francois-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.
CFC's main responsibility is to ensure that Canada's 2,700 chicken farmers produce the right amount of fresh, safe, high quality chicken to meet consumer needs. CFC is proud of its role in a continuing agriculture success story and over 30 years of raising the quality chicken that Canadians trust.
Today supply management is under assault again. What is lost in the fury of the attacks and the staunchness of the defence is why it emerged.
It is not a simple tale. It took, for example, 11 years from the founding of the first poultry marketing board in British Columbia to the formation of the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency. Along the way there were fierce challenges. Some, fewer over time, producers were adamantly opposed. Some politicians fought it at every step. There were court challenges, somber declarations from economists and corporate denunciations.
But the times dictated that something be done. In the early 1970s most if not all of agriculture was in turmoil. Demand was tepid and when prices weren’t stagnant they were falling. Overproduction was a ruinous reality. It was farmer against farmer, province against province and devil take the hindmost national trade policies.
Other parts of the economy were also struggling. The 1973-74 recession was sharp, deep and severe.
If one were to invent a time machine and go back to those times the only certainty would be the realization that something had to be done to at least stabilize the situation. For poultry and dairy the federal and provincial governments of the day agreed upon supply management. Using hindsight, the future implications of that agreement can be debated. But what is clear is that at that time doing nothing was not an option. Supply management was the farmers’ and governments’ way to fend off chaos.
This article and the one that follows will provide some context as to why supply management was created.
The mess of the 1960s and 1970s
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Canadian agriculture was – not to put too fine a point on it – a mess.
Incomes were low, prices were dropping, and surpluses piling up. Long established trading patterns were in flux, rural and farm populations were dropping, and governments were struggling to come up with answers.
Royal commissions, white papers, studies and analyses proliferated.
In 1969, the situation was so severe that Saskatchewan Premier Ross Thatcher tried to barter wheat for other goods with foreign customers in an attempt to boost his province’s grain economy.
In 1970, 200 farmers went to the Alberta legislature and gave away 2,000 dozen eggs to protest low egg prices.
But the farm economy was not alone. As Canada moved from the 1960s into the 1970s, the economy slowed, inflation rose, and worse was to come, culminating in a steel crisis that gave rise to the term “rust belt,” the Arab Oil Embargo that shocked the world economy, and, in 1973-74, the worst recession since the 1930s.
A new economic term also entered the lexicon – stagflation. The mix of a stagnant economy and high inflation was toxic. Jobs were disappearing and prices surged.
Everywhere, people were trying to understand what was happening and governments – the Canadian government included – were trying to get a handle on the situation and temper the economic blows. Wage and price controls were tried in Canada, the United States and elsewhere; new farm programs were unveiled and unique monetary measures tested.
The situation was so severe that American investor Warren Buffet, commenting on the recent recession, said it wasn’t as bad as 1973-74 – yet.
Canada also introduced the Food Prices Review Board in 1973 in response to rapidly rising food prices. Under its chairman, Beryl Plumptre, the board set out to look into just about everything. Over the previous two years, housing costs increased 18 per cent, clothing costs increased 17 per cent, but food costs rose by 37 per cent.
A Toronto Star article published in August 1973 said: “Since August, she (Plumptre) has tweaked Whelan’s nose, chicken and turkey marketing, prodded for better beef support schemes, probed into prices and income ideas, monitored chain store prices, called for a more coherent agriculture policy, issued ominous food price reports, and chided members of parliament for seeking large pay increases.”
In 1969, a major report on agriculture done for the federal government was released. “Canadian Agriculture in the Seventies” recommended the government reduce its involvement in agriculture plus phase out subsidies and price supports. It also said the farm population should be reduced, younger low-income farmers should leave farming while older non-viable farmers should be assisted to achieve a better standard of living. The report recommended that farmers shift from wheat and dairy, where surpluses were a chronic problem, to producing other commodities.
The Liberal government went in a different direction. Perhaps this was due to the forceful representations of its rural members, including Bud Olson and Eugene Whelan, or it might have been due to memories of what happened in 1957.
In 1957, the Diefenbaker Conservatives won prairie farmers’ votes after the St. Laurent Liberals had alienated the region by taking a hard-line against agricultural support, Grace Skogstad of the University of Toronto writes in the June 2007 edition of The Canadian Political Science Review.
“When the Liberals were returned to office in the 1960s, farmers were able to pressure the government to enact a series of legislation to support agriculture, including price stabilization measures. As a result, government financial transfers to farmers tripled between 1957-58 and 1972-73.”
The government also enabled supply management.
By the late 1970s, dairy, poultry, and egg producers were all under national marketing boards that regulated domestic supply and prices and protected domestic products from foreign imports, she wrote.
Prairie grain farmers didn’t get the same level of protection. They received stabilization programs designed to blunt the impacts of depressed prices.
But things were changing for grain farmers. Years of burdensome supplies, depressed prices and competition from U.S. sales that masqueraded as food aid to qualify for export subsidies came to a quick end in 1972-73.
In 1972, the Soviet Union embarked on what is called in the U.S. the “Great Grain Robbery.” The Soviet Union had a massive crop failure and was in desperate need for grain. The Soviets had bought on world markets before. In 1963, they quietly negotiated a deal to buy 6.8 million tonnes of wheat from the Canadian Wheat Board, much to the distress of the Americans. By the late 1960s, that looked like a one time thing. Surpluses were again building.
In 1968, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau called U.S. President Richard Nixon and urged him to help save the International Wheat Agreement that had at least provided some price stability. Nixon declined. In the face of lost sales, Canada dropped its wheat price by about 10 per cent and joined the fight.
But it seemed futile. Grain inventories reached the point in 1970 where Canada and other nations established programs that paid farmers not to produce. This reduced production, but demand was so low that inventories remained high.
But in mid-to-late 1972, the Russians were back negotiating grain deals in Washington, Winnipeg and Geneva. When the dust had settled, the Soviet Union had agreed to buy more than 24 million tonnes of grain from Canada, the U.S., Australia and others. Between 1971 and 1975, world trade in grains increased by 50 per cent from around 100 million tonnes annually to more than 150 million tonnes.
The grain surpluses, which had been such a problem, evaporated. Farmers, who just a few years earlier were being paid to idle land, were encouraged to plant fence row to fence row.
All this was good for longsuffering grain farmers but livestock producers were caught. Prices for their biggest input had surged but many consumers, battered by the recession, were struggling and in no position to pay more.
The government was scrambling to find programs that would inject some stability. Marketing boards and supply management were areas in which they had legislative framework that could be built upon. This was most important for dairy, which continued to be in crisis. The opportunity was offered to others, including the hog and cattle industries, but only poultry and eggs joined dairy in adopting full-blown supply management.
In the context of the times, the roots of supply management may be traced back to political and economic events. The Liberal Party’s defeat in the 1957 election taught it that ignoring troubles on the farm would cost it votes and make it unelectable in large parts of the country. It was a mistake they wouldn’t repeat through the 1960s and 1970s. Through those years, much of the policy that emerged came from a search for ways to stabilize agriculture.
In the early 1970s, the search for stability spread into other parts of the economy to counter the effects of a deepening worldwide recession. In this sense, supply management was not just a standalone program to stabilize chronic problems facing dairy and poultry, but part of a larger move to counter a deteriorating national and international economic situation.
The attacks on supply management in the media came fast and furious in November. With the announcement that the federal government was moving forward with its plan to abolish the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) Act and with its stance on protecting supply management relegating it to “observer” status in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, the attacks were inevitable.
That doesn’t mean all of the criticism is valid. What’s missing from the arguments is context. It’s easy for journalists to jump on the “if the feds get rid of the wheat board they are hypocrites for supporting supply management” bandwagon when they have no understanding of what supply management is, or why it was created in the first place.
Numerous articles have essentially rehashed the same critical views – that supply management is on the same level as the CWB and should, therefore, be treated equally; that the system results in increased costs to consumers; and that it is a barrier to trade talks. It doesn’t matter which media outlet started the roller-coaster ride that ensued; very few outlets actually did their homework.
As for the media’s criticism, let’s start with the CWB. As my esteemed colleague Jim Knisley points out in his column, critics forget that the CWB is a sole federal entity, whereas supply management is an agreement between the provinces and the federal government. If the federal government wanted to dismantle supply management on a national level, it would still exist on a provincial level. Agriculture minister Gerry Ritz says farmers want marketing freedom, and results from a CWB plebiscite show many of them do. The same cannot be said for farmers under supply management.
To say that supply management is the sole cause of the price disparity in dairy, poultry and eggs between Canada and the U.S. is simply naive. Time after time, the fact that the U.S. treasury subsidizes its country’s agricultural production via consumer taxes and thinly veiled consumer and energy support programs is left out of the discussion. If comparisons are to be made, let’s compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges.
When Canada declared its desire to join the TPP, it was blocked by the U.S. and New Zealand due to its refusal to decrease tariffs on imported dairy products. This led many to believe that trade opportunities with Asia would not be possible without giving up supply management. Not so, according to University of Waterloo professor Bruce Muirhead, who participated in a panel discussion on supply management on TV Ontario’s news program The Agenda. Muirhead said that in the globalization of trade, every country has something to protect and Canada will still be able to make trade deals with participating countries.
What gives such criticism of supply management momentum is the lack of understanding of the system, and its roots.
In this month’s issue, we’ve done our homework, and present a “look back” on the beginnings of supply management, and why it was formed, in order to arm you with information so that when the critics come calling, you can let them know how and why the system makes sense.
Dec. 6, 2011 - Université Laval Professor Maurice Doyon writes in Montreal Gazette that "when Canadian consumers look across the border, they see milk at lower prices than at home. But what they fail to see is that their American neighbours are paying more than just retail price for their milk products."|READ MORE
November 15, 2011 – Michael and Gwen Van Gurp of Norwich, Ontario were selected as the recipients of the Egg Farmers of Ontario 2011 New Entrant Quota Loan Pool (NEQLP) program.
"We had to consider the best fit amongst the eligible applicants, across a wide range of variables" said selection committee Chair Laurent Souligny. "It was quite a challenge to select only one individual from such a high caliber group of people."
The selection committee comprised of Laurent Souligny, past EFO Director and former Chair of Egg Farmers of Canada; Darryl Ball, OMAFRA; Craig Bremner, TD Canada Trust; Robert Loree, Ward & Uptigrove and Shannon Kelly, past President of Junior Farmers' Association of Ontario, who came to a decision after reviewing all applications. The Van Gurp's were selected out of a pool of 84 applicants.
"This program was designed to ensure constant renewal of the egg industry and foster the opportunity for individuals to join the Ontario egg industry," said Egg Farmers of Ontario Chair Carolynne Griffith. "We are very pleased with both the results and the level of care the selection committee took in choosing this years' recipient."
The NEQLP program takes place annually.
November, 8, 2011 – Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) won three 'Best of CAMA' awards and two 'Certificates of Merit' for its "Who Made Your Eggs Today?" campaign at the 'Best of CAMA' Awards Banquet held at the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff, Alberta. The annual 'Best of CAMA' awards program celebrates excellence in Agri-Marketing in Canada.
"The response to our 'Who Made Your Eggs Today?' campaign has been tremendous," said Egg Farmers of Ontario Chair Carolynne Griffith. "We are honoured to be recognized for a campaign that we are so proud of."
EFO won for its radio ad series, billboards and transit ads while receiving the 'Certificate of Merit' for video and integrated marketing campaign.
At the centre of the multimedia campaign is the web site www.eggfarmersofontario.ca to help Ontario consumers get to know their local egg farmers. The campaign was inspired by consumer research showing that Ontario consumers are curious about the egg farmers who produce one of Ontario's favourite foods.
This is the second time in 2011 that EFO's 'Who Made Your Eggs Today?' campaign has won prestigious awards. In February, EFO won two Golden ARC Awards from the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC), a national agricultural public relations organization in the United States. Established in 1990, the Golden ARC Awards Contest recognizes the best and brightest in agricultural public relations. EFO is believed to be the first Canadian organization to enter and win a Golden ARC Award.
"I would like to thank our staff and agency partners for their hard work, passion and insight," said EFO General Manager Harry Pelissero. "And of course none of this would have been possible without the egg farm families who so graciously agreed to be our spokespeople. Their stories are what make this campaign a success."
Egg Farmers of Ontario is an association that represents approximately 400 egg farmers and pullet growers in Ontario. It is an independent, self governing organization funded entirely by egg and pullet farmers.
August 30, 2011 - After months of producer consultations nationwide, the Pullet Growers of Canada (PGC) has drafted a detailed application proposal for the Farm Products Council of Canada in pursuit of Part 2 Agency status under the Farm Products Agencies Act.
“We are very pleased with the progress and support we have received to date in this process,” says PGC chair Andy DeWeerd. “However we need to keep the momentum going and see this through to the finish.”
Since sanctioning their mandate at their annual general meeting last spring, PGC has conducted a first round of consultations with pullet growers across the country to gather information on the expectations and concerns of producers. From this information a first draft of the Detailed Proposal was developed for the Farm Products Council of Canada to determine any gaps in the process of submission.
Another key document derived from the consultations is a draft of the Federal-Provincial Agreement. This document is comprised of a principles-based agreement outlining: the basis of the federal-provincial relationship on pullets; an operating agreement that provides the details of how the relationship might work; and, a quota methodology to set the stage for operating as an Agency.
A complete update on PGC activities will be presented to the national and provincial supervisory agencies at the October meeting in Prince Edward Island. And in the coming months PGC will continue their consultations with provincial agencies on the development of the Federal-Provincial Agreement so they may add value and work to identify and resolve any outstanding issues. At the same time PGC will continue working with the Farm Products Council of Canada to fill-in any gaps in required information and prepare the final copy for submission to become a Part 2 Agency.
“It is very important to both PGC and this whole process that pullet producers have a voice. PGC exists to express the wants and needs of the pullet producers of Canada,” explains Mr. DeWeerd. “So if anyone has any questions, they should feel free to contact anyone on the executive.”
July 7, 2011 – Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has appointed Timothy O’Connor to the Farm Products Council of Canada’s (FPCC) Board of Directors.
“As the manager of a large-scale poultry broiler in Oshawa, Ontario, Mr. O’Connor has both the knowledge of the sector and the leadership skills necessary to serve the best interests of our farmers,” Ritz said.
The FPCC plays a key part in Canada's supply management system for poultry and eggs supervising 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. Until 2009, the FPCC was known as the National Farm Products Council.
O’Connor’s appointment is for a four-year term and comes into effect immediately.
O’Connor is also a Director at FarmTech Energy Corporation, a company that has proposed the construction of an ethanol plant in Oshawa.
May 19, 2011 – The Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC), Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) and the Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) congratulate all of those appointed to the federal Cabinet, in particular Gerry Ritz and Leona Aglukkaq who return as Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister of Health respectively, Ed Fast who is the new Minister of International Trade and Christian Paradis, the new Minister of Industry who also returns as Minister of State (Agriculture).
"The new Cabinet has strong supporters of Canadian agriculture and rural Canada," says EFC Chair Peter Clarke. "These Ministers recognize the importance of growing a stable supply of affordable and nutritious food, such as eggs," he notes.
Mr. Fast hails from the B.C. agricultural riding of Abbotsford where there are numerous egg, poultry and dairy farms operating under supply management. "Mr. Fast understands the importance of supply management to Canada's economy and in job creation; we expect he will be a strong advocate in international trade negotiations for all Canadian agriculture sectors," Mr. Clarke says.
"We look forward to working again with Mr. Ritz on trade and other issues involving farmers," he adds. Mr. Ritz has a history of working on behalf of farmers. For example, the Battlefords-Lloydminster MP of Saskatchewan worked closely with egg and poultry organizations in modifying compensation regulations under the Health of Animals Act. Now, Egg Farmers of Canada is turning its attention to the latest round of Growing Forward consultations that will help define a revised agricultural policy framework.
Christian Paradis of the Quebec riding of Mégantic-L'Érable has a solid knowledge of agriculture and rural life, having held positions as Minister of State for Agriculture and Minister of Natural Resources. He will bring that knowledge about the importance of agriculture to the Quebec and Canadian economy in his new position as Minister of Industry while also returning as Minister of State for Agriculture.
Mr. Clarke says that when it comes to health matters, EFC will want to address the serving size for eggs found on nutrition labels. The nutrition label is for a one-egg serving size but Canada's Food Guide recognizes two eggs as a serving, he says.
EFC looks forward to working with these ministers and meeting with them in the coming months.
May 12, 2011 - Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) today announced that University of Guelph professor Tina Widowski has been named as the new Egg Farmers of Canada Chair in Poultry Welfare.
Professor Widowski is based in the Ontario Agricultural College’s (OAC) Department of Animal and Poultry Science and she leads North America’s largest group of animal welfare scientists as Director of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare. In her new role, Professor Widowski will collaborate with researchers on laying hen welfare and egg production, including enriched and aviary systems.
EFC is confident this new seven-year partnership will bring enormous benefits to both the University of Guelph and the Canadian egg industry. For the University, the Chair expands and complements the highly regarded research being done in food and animal welfare. Egg farmers will benefit from the creation of a critical mass of young, well-educated professionals with knowledge of poultry welfare that may become part of the next generation of industry leaders and technical experts.
“This support from Egg Farmers of Canada greatly enhances our leadership and expertise in the field,” said Robert Gordon, Dean of OAC. “In turn, it will help create research opportunities and breakthroughs, support the future leadership in our industry and provide valuable information for producers.”
“Egg Farmers of Canada is very pleased to be teaming up with Tina Widowski, an outstanding researcher we’ve had a chance to work with in recent years,” added EFC Chair Peter Clarke. “We need the brightest minds in our academic institutions to guide our industry forward, which is why we’re delighted to partner with the University of Guelph on poultry welfare research.”
The creation of the Egg Farmers of Canada Chair in Poultry Welfare is made possible thanks to a contribution by EFC. The agreement came into effect in March 2011 and runs through January 2017.
Professor Widowski was appointed to a faculty position in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science in 1990. As director of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph, her research focuses on housing and management practices and their affect on the physiology, behavior and welfare of poultry and swine. The Campbell Centre is the first research centre of its kind in North America and second of its kind in the world.
March 31, 2011 - A New Entrant Quota Loan Pool (NEQLP) was introduced at the Egg Farmers of Ontario's (EFO) 46th annual meeting.
The aim of the new entrant program is to help individuals enter the supply-managed egg industry in Ontario. The EFO will allocate a total of 50,000 units of egg quota, over a 10-year period, into the NEQLP. Each year, up to 5,000 units of egg quota will be loaned to the successful applicant(s). Units of egg quota will be loaned to the successful applicant(s) based on a 1:2 ratio (1 bird purchased, 2 birds loaned). For example:
- In order to receive up to a maximum of 2,000 units of loaned quota, the new entrant is required to purchase up to 1,000 units of quota, for a total production of up to 3,000 units of quota
- In order to receive up to a maximum of 5,000 units of loaned quota, the new entrant is required to purchase up to 2,500 units of quota, for a total production of up to 7,500 units of quota.
The applicant(s) will return the loaned units of quota into EFO's NEQLP as follows:
(X#)units of loaned quota back into the fool in five (20% each) installments - commencing in the 11th year up to and including the 15th year: 20% in the 11th year, 20% in the 12th year, 20% in the 13th year, 20% in the 14th year, 20% in the 15th year.
In order to be eligible for EFO's New Entrant Quota Loan Pool, an applicant must:
- Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant
- Be a permanent resident of Ontario
- Not currently hold quota or been a previous quota holder in any sector under supply management
- Priority will be given to persons between the ages of 18 and 45
Applicants who meet the above criteria will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of knowledgeable industry representatives. EFO will act a a resource for the committee. The committee members are:
- Laurent Souligny, former chair of the Egg Farmers of Canada and an Ontario egg farmer
- Darryl Ball, OMAFRA
- Craig Bremner, TD CanadaTrust
- Robert Loree, Ward and Uptigrove
- Junior Farmers Association of Ontario
To apply for the NEQLP, interested individuals must fully complete and submit an application along with a non-refundable $100.00 fee with each application. The applicant is encouraged to submit a Business Plan along with the application and must also provide either a detailed description of the proposed egg production facility or attach a copy of the deed/transfer of the property where the egg production facility is located.
Contact Judy Ladner Kean, Director of Data, Quota, and HR at the Egg Farmers of Ontario for an application and more information:
Phone: (905) 858-9790 Fax: (905) 858-1589
Toll Free: 1 800-387-8360
Applications are due May 31, 2011.
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