Business & Policy
Seeking Supply Management
The Pullet Growers of Canada are one step closer
By Jim Knisley
The Pullet Growers of Canada have come a long way in their quest to become the first commodity in more than two and a half decades to come under supply management. But, it is a long road and there are a few more miles to go.
In mid-July, the Pullet Growers of Canada (PGC) made their formal submission to the Farm Products Council of Canada (FPCC) to seek Part 2 status under the Farm Products Agencies Act. The FPCC formed a committee and the submission is expected to come before the full council at a meeting at the end of September.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Andy DeWeerd, the PGC Chair. “There hasn’t been a new commodity to come under supply management since 1986, so it’s new for everyone involved.”
In preparing their submission, the pullet growers spent two years consulting with pullet and egg producers across the country as well as provincial supervisory agencies to gather ideas, address all questions and concerns, and ensure all details were attended to.
DeWeerd added that he is confident the pullet growers have done their due diligence and is hopeful of a positive result at the council meeting.
Pullets were one of the components of the poultry industry that were not under supply management. DeWeerd said he understands that an attempt was made in the 1980s to get pullets under supply management, but it fell apart and he’s not sure why.
But once approval is received for pullet producers to form their own agency, “we will have the industry voice and price parity shared by the rest of the poultry industries,” he said.
“Being an autonomous agency will give PGC the required legal powers to make decisions on such issues as cost of production, disease control programs and housing standards, among many others,” said DeWeerd. “The time has come for the Canadian pullet industry to come into its own.”
At present, different provinces have different rules for such things as housing, HACCP and disease control.
The formal drive for a new federal agency began in 2010 when pullet growers from several provinces got together and decided they wanted supply management. At this point in time, it looks as if five provinces – Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which represent about 80 per cent of national production – will be members from the start. But the agency is open to the other provinces and others may want to sign on once it is established, he said.
However, there are strict requirements for establishing a new supply-managed marketing agency.
The federal Farm Products Agencies Act says: “The Governor in Council (federal cabinet) may, by order, establish an agency with powers relating to any farm product or farm products the marketing of which in interprovincial and export trade is not regulated under the Canadian Dairy Commission Act if the Governor in Council is satisfied that a majority of the producers of the farm product or of each of the farm products in Canada is in favour of the establishment of an agency.”
In the legislation, a Part 2 agency is defined as a “marketing agency and it relates to “eggs and poultry, and any part of any such product.”
The agency will develop a marketing plan, which, under the legislation, means “a plan relating to the promotion, regulation and control of the marketing of any regulated product in interprovincial or export trade that includes provision for all or any of the following:
“The marketing of the regulated product on a basis that enables the agency that is implementing the plan to fix and determine the quantity, if any, in which the regulated product or any variety, class or grade thereof may be marketed in interprovincial or export trade by each person engaged in the marketing thereof and by all persons so engaged, and the price, time and place at which the regulated product or any variety, class or grade thereof may be so marketed.”
It continues, saying “a system for the licensing of persons engaged in the growing or production of the regulated product for, or the marketing thereof in, interprovincial or export trade, including provision for fees, other than fees related to the right to grow the regulated product, payable to the appropriate agency by any such person in respect of any licence issued to such person and for the cancellation or suspension of any such licence where a term or condition there of is not complied with, and the imposition and collection by the appropriate agency of levies or charges from persons engaged in the growing or production of the regulated product or the marketing thereof and for such purposes classifying those persons into groups and specifying the levies or charges, if any, payable by the members of each group.”
The pullet growers have also developed a draft Federal-Provincial Agreement. This describes the basis of the federal-provincial relationship on pullets, proposals of how the agreement might work and a quota methodology. A new agency would also be able to establish housing and disease control standards and more.
Once the Pullet Growers are under supply management, Canada’s 550 pullet growers will have the ability to recover their costs of production. DeWeerd said the growers are falling behind.
The organization has the support of the Egg Farmers of Canada and provincial egg organizations. And like other supply managed groups, the pullet growers will have provincial representation, as well as a national organization. To date provincial organizations have been formed in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.
At present Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia pullet growers operate under their provincial egg marketing boards. Quebec growers recently became a stand-alone organization outside the province’s egg board.