Chicken Farmers bring the Farm to Queen’s Park – virtually!
CFO’s annual Chicken Day connects with MPP’s across Ontario.
By Brett Ruffell
Representatives from Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) hosted Virtual Chicken Day at Queen’s Park – an annual event that brings chicken farmers and MPPs from across Ontario together to talk about the chicken industry.
The two-day event kicked off with video remarks from Premier Doug Ford, and a meeting with the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CFO hosted all meetings through a virtual platform. Meetings included a Virtual Farm Tour and Virtual Photo Booth, providing MPPs and their staff with a look inside a barn and an Ontario chicken farming operation. MPPs came away with a better understanding of animal welfare standards, food safety standards, biosecurity and the innovative technology used on Ontario chicken farms.
In total, chicken farmers had 37 meetings with Ministers, MPPs, and staff from all parties to discuss innovation in the chicken industry, shared priorities around farm security and expanding rural broadband, and the impacts of COVID-19 on Ontario chicken farming families.
“We thank representatives from all parties for meeting with chicken farmers, and discussing how we’re working together to support Ontario farmers, protect the birds in our care, and ensure a continued steady supply of Premium Ontario Chicken,” says CFO chair Ed Benjamins.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard, and Ontario chicken farmers continue to demonstrate great resilience in this time of uncertainty. One thing is for sure, we are absolutely committed to providing healthy, high quality, locally-grown chicken for kitchen tables, food service and local food banks.”
CFO representatives reiterated for Ontario MPPs that during the pandemic, it may not be business as usual, but it is ‘Chicken as Usual’.
Chicken is the number one protein choice for Canadian consumers and, while Ontarians have adjusted where and what they eat and how they shop amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario chicken farmers want MPPs and consumers to know it’s ‘Chicken as Usual’ in terms of the commitment to producing safe, healthy, high quality, locally grown chicken, for Ontario families and local food banks.
In 2015, CFO launched CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks, a hunger relief program designed to assist Ontario chicken farmers to donate fresh chicken to food banks in their communities. During the pandemic, over 550 chicken farmers are donating through the program, and have already donated over one million meals this year alone.
“These meetings are a great opportunity to discuss our shared priorities with MPPs, and provide an update on how Ontario chicken farmers are leaders in supply management and in local communities across Ontario,” says Rob Dougans, president & CEO of Chicken Farmers of Ontario.
“Our digital first mentality has well positioned the chicken industry to adjust to the challenges posed by COVID-19, and hosting our annual Chicken Day at Queen’s Park virtually is another example of how we continue to grow, adapt, and modernize the ways we do business and shape the future of the Ontario chicken industry.”