Dec. 14, 2012 - The Practical Farmers of Ontario (PFO) and Sustain Ontario have launched campaigns asking the Chicken Farmers of Ontario to increase the number of broiler chickens that farms can produce without quota in Ontario from the current limit of 300 birds per year to 2000 birds per year. There are provisions made, however, for farms to raise a certain number of chickens without quota, which in Ontario is called the "small flock exemption".
In Ontario, the small flock exemption of 300 birds per year together with the minimum entry point for quota (14,000 birds x about 7 cycles per year = 90,000 birds per year) form the most restrictive climate in the country for meat bird production on small, diversified farms. The production limit of 300 birds per year is not economically sustainable for many small, diversified farms, while the quota minimum amounting to 90,000 plus birds per year is far beyond what these same farms can afford to purchase or want to produce.
Other provinces allow much greater flexibility in meat bird production. The small flock limits for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba allow for production of anywhere from 999 to 4000 meat birds without quota. In Nova Scotia, new farmers can produce 500 birds in their first year without quota and increase to as high as 10,000 with payment of an annual fee and nominal bird levy and licensing fees.
The Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) are responsible for managing the broiler quota system and setting the small flock exemption limit in Ontario and on September 6, 2012, the PFO sent a request to the CFO asking for the small flock exemption to be raised to 2000 birds per year. That request was subsequently rejected and the PFO has requested a hearing with the CFO to discuss the matter.
The hearing will be held at the Chicken Famers office in Burlington on December 20, 2012.