From the Editor: Poultry comes together for sustainability

Roundtable brings feather sectors together to tackle pressing challenges.
Brett Ruffell
July 05, 2019
Roger Peliserro, industry co-chair of the Poultry Sustainability Value Chain Roundtable.
Roger Peliserro, industry co-chair of the Poultry Sustainability Value Chain Roundtable. Egg Farmers of Canada
The definition of sustainability seems to vary from industry to industry. One thing each sector shares, however, is that their interpretations have evolved from a focus on environmental impacts to a broader concept that requires a multi-layered strategy. Poultry is no different.

That’s why Canadian Poultry took a wide-ranging approach to this, our sustainability issue. The pages ahead cover everything from the efficient use of resources to the poultry industry’s social and economic impacts and more.

Our cover story on page 12, for example, is a profile of B.C.’s Lockwood Farms. Producers James and Cammy Lockwood recently became the first commercial layer barn in Canada to add black soldier fly larvae to their poultry diets. The insects are billed as a good source of protein that’s also environmentally friendly. In our story, we look at the evidence.

We also assess the chicken sector’s sustainability performance (see page 20) and the impact producers are having on the communities they serve through food bank donations.

And see page 15 to learn about how the egg industry’s research chairs came together to collaborate on a sustainability report. It’s a fascinating look at how the researchers managed sustainability tradeoffs between their respective areas.

Another collaboration that’s making headway is the Poultry Sustainability Value Chain Roundtable. Established in 2017, the initiative brings policymakers together with industry leaders from the egg, broiler, turkey and hatching egg sectors, as well as their downstream supply chain partners.

Together, they collaborate on common priorities participants identified during a strategic planning session. These focal points include antimicrobial use and resistance, food safety and animal care. The roundtable spawned four working groups tasked with advancing those key areas of concern: The Public Trust Working Group; AMR-AMU Working Group; Global Scan Working Group; and Research Coordination Working Group.

“It is about more than just the environment,” says Roger Peliserro, industry co-chair of the roundtable. “It is about the long-term sustainability of the entire Canadian poultry sector.”

The group meets about once a year and has conference calls in between those face-to-face gatherings. At its most recent meeting, the group had a cross-sectoral discussion on Salmonella sp. reduction activities. Another highlight was the Public Trust Working Group unveiled ‘The Poultry Story’ – a communications tool that succinctly celebrates positive efforts across the poultry sector around animal welfare and food safety.

Peliserro says having stakeholders from across the poultry value chain collaborate on important issues has been invaluable. “The most significant takeaways from the roundtable are the moments of shared opportunity and learning,” he says.

For instance, he notes that Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) was the first to roll out a quality mark program. As other poultry groups look to roll out similar programs – like, for example, Egg Farmers of Canada’s recently launched Egg Quality Assurance program – there is an opportunity to draw on CFC’s experience.

Looking ahead, the roundtable co-chair says the biggest sustainability challenges facing the poultry sector will be its ability to respond and adjust to changing consumer demands. “The future belongs to farmers and food producers who recognize that these values are changing and understand the opportunity ahead to ensure the long-term sustainability of our sector through collective action.”

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