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."