From the Editor: Poultry’s strongest enthusiasts
This year's Who's Who features some of the industry's most passionate advocates.
By Brett Ruffell
Many people in poultry are crediting supply management with enabling the industry to quickly adapt to the sudden changes brought on by the pandemic.
While some hatching eggs had to be destroyed, at the time of going to print producers have still avoided having to conduct mass depopulations. This is because the system allows for a coordinated national response.
Another common theme I’ve heard is that the industry’s experience with the pandemic underscores the need for poultry to promote and protect supply management. And who better to take up that mantle than producers themselves?
Add to that the growing focus on educating more Canadians about their food and where it comes from and there’s never been a better time for poultry producers to raise their advocacy game. For inspiration, this year’s Who’s Who issue features some of poultry’s strongest proponents.
As is the case each year, this edition includes a collection of profiles of producers in the broiler, egg, hatching egg and turkey sectors from coast to coast. However, this time we’ve placed a special emphasis on advocacy.
Each of the producers featured in the pages ahead goes above and beyond to educate the public, share farmers’ concerns to government and, ultimately, support their industry. And they do so in unique ways.
“What has to come across is showing that you care.”
For instance, B.C. chicken farmer Bev Whitta, featured on this year’s cover and profiled on page 12, takes an educational trailer around to schools and fairs to talk about chicken farming. Dubbed Poultry in Motion, the trailer displays live day-old chicks, broilers and breeders to teach people about the lifecycle.
“Consumers are the pillar of our industry and we want them to know the respectful, caring way chicken is raised in Canada, and that farmers are accountable and responsible for following all the regulations,” Whitta says.
Then there’s Sandra Dyck, featured on page 24. The Manitoba egg farmer works with different organizations to host inner city youth, new Canadians and other groups on her farm. She explains the impact of these efforts: “They come to understand our farming practices and then they’re also advocates for us too.”
On the turkey side, there’s Alberta’s Darren Ference, who’s profiled on page 30. Apart from his important role as chair of Turkey Farmers of Canada, the producer lent his handyman skills to the cause. He built a miniature turkey farm for a nearby school’s Ag Learning Centre to help educate students. It comes complete with live birds and a feeding and drinking system.
“People need to see our passion and respect for the land and the animals,” Ference says. “We just have to be able to show people.”
Egg farmer Clinton Monchuk, who’s profiled on page 32, shares that sentiment. “What has to come across is showing that you care,” says Monchuk, who through his other role as executive director of Food & Farm Care Saskatchewan brings consumers closer to the farm. “I’ve never met a farmer who doesn’t care about their animals.”
I hope you’re inspired by the stories ahead, whether you’re a seasoned advocate or looking for ways to get involved for the first time. And if you’ve taken part in interesting efforts to educate the public and government, I’d love to hear about them.
I’m also eager to hear from you about next year’s Who’s Who issue, the theme of which is innovators. Are you aware of a producer who’s known for adopting cutting-edge technologies or management practices? Send me an email at email@example.com.