September 17, 2014 - Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) has given final approval to its new Specialty Breeds Chicken program. The program was designed to support the increasing Ontario consumer demand for alternative breeds of chicken, and CFO says it will "create exciting opportunities for the specialty chicken value chain", which includes hatcheries, farmers, distributors and retailers of specialty breeds of chicken.
CFO's Specialty Breeds Chicken program was developed to bring Ontario into alignment with the national Chicken Farmers of Canada specialty breeds policy. The new program specifies that two common breeds of specialty chicken will now be included under this program: Frey's Special Dual Purpose chickens and Silkie chicken. These breeds are processed with "head and feet on" and are popular with many of Ontario's growing ethnocultural consumer communities.
CFO chair Henry Zantingh said in a release that the program will "provide a significant growth opportunity for the Ontario chicken industry" and meet the growing demand for different types of chicken from Ontario's changing demographics.
Although Silkies and Frey's Special Dual Purpose chicken breeds have been available for sale in Ontario for some time, CFO president and CEO Rob Dougans noted that the market for these products has been underdeveloped.
Under the new system, those interested in becoming a specialty breeds chicken farmer will submit an application to CFO for the opportunity to grow a certain allotment of chicken. Farmers and processors and other value chain partners involved in marketing specialty breeds chicken will receive the benefits of operating under a new regulated system.
CFO will be holding information briefing sessions for individual farmers and industry value chain participants in communities across Ontario in the near future and applications for growing specialty breed chicken are now being accepted for 2015.