Canada
Nuscience, a member of the Royal Agrifirm Group, has announced the introduction of its elite level feed technology suite into the Canadian market, under the Biotica product brand via strategic marketing partnership with Canadian Bio-Systems Inc.

The launch of Biotica introduces Nuscience feed technology across Canadian poultry, swine and ruminant sectors, offering producers and industry fresh solutions to employ as part of strategies aligned with optimizing production and meeting new marketplace requirements and demands.

“The opportunity for livestock industries to benefit from new science-driven, feed ingredient-based solutions is rapidly advancing,” says Rob Patterson, CBS Inc, technical director. “Nuscience technology stands at the leading edge globally. We are pleased to partner with Nuscience to offer Biotica across Canada as part of our CBS Inc. Feed Science Platforms.”

Future is now

Biotica is a functional feed additive. It is available in tailored formulations for different types of poultry, as well as for swine and ruminants, with versatility to support a broad range of production systems and market opportunities. Biotica fits well with advanced strategies designed to support health, well-being and overall performance of animals, including those raised under strict judicious use principles regarding the use of antibiotics.

“In the global animal feed industry, the future is now,” says Rob Goedegeburre, global lead, Health4U Feed Additives, Nuscience. “The Canadian market is among those embracing change and innovation. We are pleased through our partnership with Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. to provide our most advanced feed technology to this increasingly progressive market.”

The Nuscience technology featured in Biotica has become a market leader globally with a proven decade-plus track record among feed formulations designed to optimize animal and production benefits without the inclusion of antibiotic growth promoters.

Production systems in Canada have become increasingly focused on judicious use principles and veterinary oversight. Canada has set December 2018 as the deadline for moving all use of antibiotics to prescription only.

New world of feed technology

Nuscience approaches the animal feed industry with two focused business units, Nutrition4U and Health4U. Nutrition4U by Nuscience is a range of young animal nutrition concepts, customized premixes and performing concentrates. Health4U by Nuscience, which includes the technology featured in Biotica, offers innovative additives and functional feed ingredients.

Royal Agrifirm Group, headquartered in the Netherlands, is a leading agricultural cooperative with an international network of subsidiaries in 16 countries within Europe, South America and Asia and a worldwide distribution network. It is focused on delivering measurable, relevant and sustainable value at farm, field and industry.

Innovation focus

CBS Inc., based in Calgary, Alta., is an innovation-focused company with global reach that researches, develops and manufactures a wide range of bio-based products used in feed, food and industrial applications. It is a pioneer and leader in enzymes and other bio-based feed technology options, leveraging over 30 years of research and development.

CBS Inc. Feed Science Platforms include multi-carbohydrase enzyme technology, phytogenics & probiotics, grain management technology, enhanced yeast technology and functional fatty acids. Producers and industry can contact their CBS Inc. sales representative for more details. More information on CBS Inc. and its comprehensive line of feed technology is also available at www.canadianbio.com.
Published in Company News
What’s on consumer’s minds? Each year, the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) conducts trust research to take a deeper dive into what’s important to today’s consumer. It gives us crucial insights into how to continue to earn trust in food and agriculture on issues that matter most.
Published in Consumer Issues
Do you know a standout up-and-coming producer, vet, researcher, industry member or advocate in the Canadian Poultry industry?

Canadian Poultry magazine’s Who’s Who issue is released every July with the goal of shining a light on stand-out members of the Canadian poultry industry.

The theme for the 2018 Who’s Who issue is up-and-comers and we want your help in finding the best candidates.

Nominate
rising stars today to potentially have them recognized in our Who's Who issue this summer!
Published in Producers
“There are some diseases that we can live with, but not Avian Influenza. It is a great danger for our livelihoods and our industries,” said Dr. Travis Schaal, GGP/GP and technical manager for Hy-Line International, during the Defend the Flock: Biosecurity Basics for Poultry & Egg Producers program, held at the 2018 International Production & Processing Expo.

Schaal discussed his company’s view on biosecurity, which encompasses four areas: conceptual, structural, operational and cultural. He emphasized the National Poultry Improvement Plan’s 14 points to enforce biosecurity and expressed the importance of farmers committing to these robust standards.

He summarized by stating that culture takes time and repetition; rules must be complied top down in order to have bottom up involvement; rules must be practical and effective, not complicated; and to educate at every opportunity.

Dr. Ben Wileman, director of global technical services for Select Genetics, observed that a big challenge for turkey biosecurity involved people travelling globally on vacations, mission trips or family visits. He remarked that these trips may have an impact on farm animals because pathogens are carried from one place to another.

Wileman posed the question, “How do you balance independence with not negatively affecting billions of dollars of trade?” He answered by stating that you need to balance trade with national biosecurity through veterinary inspections, CODEX, OIE and USDA AMS, among other organizations.

“Human nature is to take easy routes, which is why biosecurity needs to be fairly simple for people to do,” Wileman remarked. He pointed out that turkeys live longer than breeders and therefore have more risk, especially during their peak growth. Wileman highlighted 14 biosecurity points that every farm should take into consideration, including biosecurity responsibility, training, perimeter buffer areas, and auditing, among others.
Published in Biosecurity
Send your questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and our team of industry experts will answer them in an upcoming edition of Canadian Poultry Magazine’s Ask the Vet.

In the latest edition of Ask the Vet... 
What is the difference between ionophores and non-ionphores (chemicals)?

Virtually all poultry become exposed to the coccidial parasite, which often causes the important disease coccidiosis, noted by mortality and enteritis. Often, the enteritis can trigger another important disease, necrotic enteritis.

Between coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis, flocks can experience high mortality (=>20 per cent), unthriftiness, poor feed efficiency, and is the case with all disease, undue bird suffering.

Because coccidiosis is such a threat to poultry, industry has come up with a number of compounds (anticoccidials) that reduce the risk of this parasite. Coccidiosis is a risk throughout the life of a bird so it is not surprising that anticoccidials were developed for use in feed to be where the parasite resides (the digestive system) and to give continuous protection for the life of the flock. | READ MORE
Published in Health
Canadian Poultry Magazine strives to provide the industry with informative and timely information and innovations to help maximize profitability, efficiency and safety. As a reader, we are requesting your help with this goal.

Please lend us five minutes of your time to complete the CP Reader’s Survey. Through this survey our editorial team hopes to gather input from producers across the country in order to develop a more thorough understanding the issues readers want to see addressed by industry experts between our pages.

All responses to this survey are completely confidential. Thank-you in advance for your valuable opinions.

Take the survey now! www.CPSurvey.ca

Take the survey before Feb. 9, 2018 and you will be entered into a draw to an iPad Mini!


Published in Company News
Canadian Poultry will be ringing in the New Year with a makeover. Starting in 2018, you will notice some serious cosmetic changes in our pages, including our cover.

But, it’s not all cosmetic, the January issue of Canadian Poultry will also see the addition of some great new content, such as our Ask the Vet column, a revamped back page that will showcase poultry operations from across Canada, and so much more.

Here’s a sneak peek at our new cover look!
Stay tuned for more.
Published in Companies
August 30, 2017, Abbotsford, B.C. - Nestled in the red Farm Country livestock barns is a display set up by B.C. Eggs, the provincial egg-marketing board, of a new cage system for non-free-range or organic birds.

Within the next two decades every caged chicken on a B.C. farm will be re-housed. Just over five per cent of chickens in B.C. are already in the new cages, while 23 per cent of B.C. chickens already live cage-free, in free-run or certified-organic conditions. The board says B.C. has the highest percentage of cage-free hens in all of Canada. READ MORE 
Published in Eggs - Layers
August 30, 2017, Hickson, Ont. - Weeden Environments is a global leader in providing new technology in products & equipment designed for the poultry and livestock industry to lower stress levels while improving performance and productivity. Weeden Environments is headquartered in Hickson, Ont., and the company recently hired more employees to support the growth of operations and expand customer services.

“We continue to experience strong growth as we drive forward with our efforts,” Kevin Weeden, President said. “We’re excited to welcome our latest members, as they will each take on essential roles in strengthening our service.

Bryce Bramhill, initially hired at Weeden Environments as purchasing manager in 2016, is moving into a role as operations manager/inside sales manager. Bryce joined Weeden after running his own business in Waterloo, Ont., for seven years. Combined, he has more than 15 years of agricultural experience both working and living on hog, and poultry operations. Additionally, he worked at a poultry equipment company in Listowel, Ont., for six years. In his role at Weeden Environments, Bryce will manage purchasing, shipping and receiving as well as oversee the internal operations and processes of Weeden Environments. Also, he will work collectively with the technical service support team to ensureall customers are completely satisfied.

Mark Lingard joins Weeden Environments as the service manager. Mark brings a wealth of experience to the Weeden team as he spent numerous years running his own company and working for Tim Horton Children’s Foundation as the property and asset standards manager for seven camps throughout Canada and the U.S. Mark attended post-secondary education in the United Kingdom for physics and completed a surgical instrument course. He then moved to building and renovating homes where he specialized in custom furniture and became a master cabinet maker. Mark’s in-depth knowledge of the agricultural and technical aspects of Weeden Environments, will allow him to maintain Weeden’s high quality customer service through installing, repairing and servicing poultry equipment.

Kevin Thompson will oversee Central and Eastern Ontario and the Niagara region as the territory sales manager for Weeden Environments. Kevin’s farming experience began early as he was raised on a dairy farm and eventually switched to growing broilers 14 years ago. In 2011, his family broiler operation successfully converted their broilers to antibiotic free. Kevin received his Honours Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Guelph and he also spent 4 years gathering data and administering protocols in poultry research at Maple Leaf Foods AgResearch, now Nutreco Canada AgResearch. With Kevin’s lifelong experience in farming combined with his deep educational background, Weeden Environments is thrilled for him to join the team.

For further information on Weeden products, please contact:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 1-800-552-1064, or visit: www.weedenenvironments.com

Published in Company News
August 28, 2017 - Join egg farmers and champions from across Canada to celebrate fresh, local Canadian eggs and the benefits the system of supply management delivers to Canadians and farmers alike.

Across the country, these champions are already sharing our industry’s story across their networks.

Join the celebration by adding your support for Canada’s egg farmers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #EhInEggs.
Published in Profiles
August 25, 2017 - Dairy may be getting all the attention in the upcoming NAFTA negotiations, but the chicken, egg and turkey boards aren’t letting their guard down as talks begin in mid-August.

“The government has been clear in its support for supply management and we are confident it will continue to support and protect supply management during the negotiations while finding a way to work with the United States,” said Yves Ruel, manager of trade and policy for Chicken Farmers of Canada. “It has been done before successfully and we believe it will be done again.”

The Canadian chicken sector believes the reason it’s not in the spotlight is that the existing NAFTA arrangement has provided stability and predictability to chicken producers on both sides of the border. READ MORE
Published in Trade
For as long as he can remember, Dan Kampen has been in poultry barns. “My mom introduced me to the barns before I was two years old,” the Abbotsford, B.C. turkey and egg farmer recalls.
Published in Producers
August 18, 2017, Vancouver, British Columbia – The governments of Canada and British Columbia are working under the AgriRecovery disaster framework to determine the type of assistance that may be required by British Columbia’s agriculture sector to recover from the impact of wildfires.

The announcement was made following the first meeting between Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay and B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

"The AgriRecovery response will help B.C. ranchers and farmers recover from their losses, and return to their land and their livelihoods. Our governments are working with producers, local officials and stakeholders, and the results and spirit of resilience is collective and clear, we will work together to respond to this emergency until the job is done," Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture said. 

Government officials are working together to quickly assess the extraordinary costs farmers are incurring and what additional assistance may be required to recover and return to production following the wildfires.

The types of costs under consideration include:
  • Costs related to ensuring animal health and safety.
  • Feed, shelter and transportation costs.
  • Costs to re-establish perennial crop and pasture production damaged by fire.
"Our Government stands with producers in British Columbia who are facing challenges and hardships because of these wildfires. Together, with our provincial counterparts, we will work closely with affected producers to assess the full scope of their needs and help them get back in business as quickly as possible," Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said.
Published in Farm Business
As we say goodbye to 2017 this December, Baildon Hutterite Colony in Saskatchewan will begin shipping out the first organic eggs produced in the province. It will be an achievement that is the culmination of much research, discussion and planning.

Baildon Colony was established in 1967 and is located just south of Moose Jaw, Sask. Colony members currently farm about 19,000 acres in a continuous rotation of wheat, barley, canola, lentils, chickpeas, peas and soybeans. “Our land is a little bit rolling, but some of it is very flat as we are near the Regina Plains,” notes layer manager Paul Wipf. “Some of our cereal crops are used for our livestock, as we have a large hog operation, dairy, layers and also some turkeys.” Feed-grade grain goes for that purpose, with additional feed grain purchased as needed, and higher quality grain is sold.

Free-run transition
When the colony started in 1967, members built a barn for 7,000 layers and maintained that number of hens until 1983, when another Hutterite colony was established in the province. At that point, colony members bought a 20,000-layer farm and split the quota in half so, in total, each colony had about 12,000 birds.

“All the hens were housed in conventional cages at the time as this was the going trend,” Wipf explains. “However, in 2009 we decided we needed to build a new pullet barn as our existing one was not big enough to produce all the pullets for our layer operation, and we decided to completely rebuild the layer barns too. The question was what kind of a layer barn do we build, as the growing concern was about whether conventional cages will be good enough in the future.”

To answer this question, Wipf approached Star Egg in Saskatoon to see if they were in need of free-run eggs to fill provincial demand. The company told him there was only one small free-run producer and that, yes, free-run eggs were sometimes in short supply. After a lengthy discussion, all the colony members agreed to pursue the challenge. They also decided that they would convert the old layer barn to a free-run pullet barn, and selected Hellman Poultry for the equipment needed for this and the new layer barn.

Then, in 2016, Star Egg approached Baildon to ask if the colony would be interested in turning half their free-run barn into organic production. There was no commercial organic egg producer in the province and demand was growing.

“Again, after a lengthy discussion, we decided rather than convert half our barn that we would build a completely different barn, as we had some layer quota that we were having to lease out anyway,” Wipf recalls. “This January we started talking with Pro-Cert, an organic certification company out of Saskatoon, to find out what was involved to produce organic eggs and built the organic barn accordingly.”

The colony again went with Hellman, and decided to situate the new organic barn close to the free-run barn. He notes that a lot of the construction of the new organic barn is made out of stainless steel, which he considers a must in free-run production.

The heating system is a hot water delta tube design from Europe, which Wipf believes should be both very efficient and also easy to clean. The ventilation system is Hotraco from Holland, chosen because the colony already has this in the layer barn and it is working very well.

The lighting, however, is different. Baildon went with LED lighting for the organic building because of the higher energy efficiency it provides and also because the LED fixtures are placed on the ceiling. What’s more, chickens sometimes break fixtures that hang down by flying against them.



Barn design and placement aside, the colony also had to answer the question of where the organic layer feed would be sourced. The answer was considered in light of the fact that this spring, Baildon had also decided to replace its existing centralized hammer mill used to grind feed for the hogs, dairy cattle, turkeys and layers.

“It had always served the colony well, but we felt it was time to change over to a disc grinder mill, as they are now more common,” Wipf explains. “The organic regulations would have allowed us to use the new mill for both organic and regular feed, but we would have had to flush the system every time we switched from one type to another, so we decided we will produce organic feed with our old hammer mill. It’s still in good-enough shape, and we’ll be making our organic layer feed with purchased organic grains.”

Baildon will achieve organic certification in January 2018. The colony members had gone into the January meeting with Pro-Cert with plans to have their first organic egg layer pullets arrive in early May. However, Pro-Cert informed them of a new organic regulation that had come into effect in December 2016. The new rule requires that the free-range pasture attached to the organic layer barn be monitored for a year before certification is granted. Wipf says it was a bit disappointing to learn about this new regulation, but there is nothing that can be done to speed things up.

In terms of the biggest challenge facing egg producers today, Wipf names hen housing. “The egg producers here in Canada will have to spend a lot of money in the next 15 years to change from conventional cages to enriched housing,” he notes. “However, the system has been good to us in the last 30 years, so it makes it a lot easier to accept that change.”

Once organic egg production is rolling in 2018, the colony will look at its degree of success and consider expanding and growing organic feed grain in the future.
Published in Producers
August 17, 2017, Guelph Ont. – Catching crews on poultry farms have made do for years when they needed an extra step loading full crates from the barn onto transport trucks. Using the tools at hand, they improvised and turned empty crates on end to get where they needed to be.

But there are two big problems with this practice – the obvious health and safety risks of standing on a slippery, uneven surface, and the damage done to the crate when used as a makeshift step.

The Poultry Service Association – that represents the vast majority of poultry-catching and live-haul poultry business in Ontario – set out to design, build and test a better way.

With no commercially made loading steps available, the association engineered, fabricated and tested a lightweight, portable and safe poultry-loading step for the Ontario industry.

Developing a new, safe, loading step was approached as a sector initiative involving the main commercial poultry-catching companies in Ontario. This collaboration made it a much more economical and unified way to arrive at a solution that all companies could access.

Driving the need for a new safe step was two-fold – reducing slips and falls by crew, and reducing damage done to crates. It’s tough to calculate improved health and safety in dollars and cents. The savings in reduced crate damage is easier to estimate.

At $85 per crate, and an estimated 30 per cent discard rate of damaged crates, the annual savings to the industry with the new safe step is estimated at more than $2.5 million.

The new safe portable step is now in use by 85 per cent of commercial poultry-catchers in Ontario, and the industry is noticing the difference. Trucking companies have seen a reduction in crate damage and appreciate the safety aspect of the new loading platforms.

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
Published in Bird Management
August 17, 2016, Ottawa, Ont. - The Government of Canada is listening to Canadians from across the country and from all sectors and backgrounds about trade. This includes conversations with the provinces and territories, industry, unions, civil society, think tanks, academics, Indigenous peoples, women, youth and the general public.

"We recognize that trade policies need to respond and contribute meaningfully to Canadians’ economic, social, and environmental priorities. This is a key element of the Progressive Trade Agenda, which supports the Canadian middle class and those working hard to join it," read a Government of Canada press release. 

"NAFTA's track record is one of economic growth and middle class job creation in Canada and across North America. As we prepare for discussions with the United States and Mexico on the renegotiation of NAFTA, we are seeking your views. Are there areas of the agreement that could be clarified? Are there parts that should be updated? Are there any new sections that should be part of a modernized agreement?"

For more information and to submit your views on NAFTA, visit: http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/consultations/nafta-alena/form-formulaire.aspx?lang=eng
Published in Trade
When you look at the career accomplishments of fifth-generation farmer Peter Clarke, it’s clear to see that his dedication to agriculture runs deep. “I am passionate about agriculture and I am proud to be a farmer,” Clarke proclaims.

After attending the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in the 1960s, Clarke returned to the family farm in Annapolis Valley, N.S., to work with his father, Harry, who was mainly a potato grower but was also involved in egg and pullet production.

In the late 1970s, Clarke and his father formed a partnership, until 1984, when he and his wife, Janet, took over the farm. They formed a limited company they named Southview Farms, which owns three farms on 750 acres growing corn, winter wheat, barley and soybeans.

Southview Farms is very much a family operation, Janet operates Clarke’s Trucking, which processes and distributes grains for the farm’s flocks.

Their son Jeff is the operations manager of Southview Farms, Clarke’s Trucking, plus another farm he owns separately. His wife, Kelly, is the farm office manager.

Southview Farms has three employees. There’s a full-time feed mill manager, Garry Rafuse. Matthew Tanner manages the layer facility. And Clarke’s nephew, Matt Petrie, is involved in most aspects of the daily operations, including feed distribution and product procurement.

The volume of production has risen greatly at Southview Farms over the last 13 years, from 16,000 layers and 40,000 pullets produced under license annually in 2004 until 2017 with an estimated 32,000 to 33,000 laying hens and “between Jeff and myself in excess of 100,000 pullets,” Clarke estimates.

He puts it all in perspective. “The average size of a family egg farm now in Canada is about 25,000 birds and there are approximately 1,000 egg farmers. These are family farms unlike in the U.S. where you can have flock sizes of several million birds. There are some U.S. operations that have more birds than all of the layers in Canada.”

Industry involvement

Having family members highly involved in the farm business has enabled Clarke to devote more of his time off-farm to industry groups.

Throughout his farming career Clarke has been a regular on numerous industry organization boards, including in the role of director of Egg Farmers of Nova Scotia, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, chairman of ACA Co-operative Ltd., chairman of Agra Point, the provincial consulting body now known as Perennia, director of the Nova Scotia Winter Grains Marketing Board and Atlantic Grains Council as well as Atlantic representative on the Canada Grains Council.

Clarke also served as Nova Scotia’s representative to the Net Income Stabilization Agency and he was a member of the advisory committee of the Atlantic Veterinary College as well.

In 1995, Clarke was appointed to the Egg Farmers of Canada board as the Egg Farmers of Nova Scotia representative. Over the years, he chaired EFC’s budget, research and production management committees. He became first vice-chairman of the EFC in 2006 and chairman in 2011.

In that most senior role, Clarke helped guide the organization towards notable achievements. For example, during the international trade negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), his lobbying efforts helped secure continued support for supply management from every major Canadian political party.

Clarke is also proud of EFC’s role in helping to create several poultry research chairs. Universities across the country now have experts focused on issues such as egg industry economics, poultry welfare, public policy and sustainability.

The International Egg Foundation, a charitable arm of the International Egg Commission (IEC), was founded. Tasked with increasing egg production and consumption in developing countries, it worked with EFC on Project Canaan’s egg layer operation in Swaziland. In September 2014, it awarded EFC The Crystal Egg Award for outstanding commitment to corporate and social responsibility.

Clarke’s passion and dedication to agriculture has long been recognized. In 1990, the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists presented him with its inaugural Outstanding Farmer Award. In 2007, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia presented him with the Order of Nova Scotia and in 2012 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture.

Clarke’s acumen as a rural businessman was also saluted in 2006 with the Kings County Business Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce.

After six years as EFC chairman, Clarke stepped down as a director last March, returning to the family farm and assuming the role as a controller for the IEC. “We review the finances of the IEC on behalf of its membership,” he says.

He believes firmly in the concept of social license. “We are producing a product for the consumers of this country,” he says. “We owe it to the consumers to be as open as possible about the production of that food.” He sees social license as encompassing the issues of animal welfare and care, codes of practice and sharing knowledge of what producers do on the farm. “By being transparent we will not encounter as much challenge to how we operate,” he says.

In 2016, the Canadian egg industry made a decision to transition from conventional cages to alternative housing. By 2026, Clarke believes Canadian egg farmers will be well along into the transition process, which has a deadline of 2036. He cautions, however, “when we do all of that; we have to consider both the health and welfare of our birds as well the people who tend our flocks.”
Published in Producers
August 16, 2017, Alberta - Public trust is eroding in Canada, and farmers — along with others in the value chain — need to fight back, says the head of a new ag organization aimed at winning back confused consumers.

“The whole industry needs to know a whole bunch more about consumers,” said Kim McConnell, an Okotoks-based marketing expert and new chair of the The Centre for Food Integrity. “That’s what the primary focus of The Centre for Food Integrity is.”

The centre, based in Guelph, Ont., is holding its first “public trust summit” in Calgary from Sept. 18-20. The conference is designed to show members of the agricultural industry how to earn the trust of consumers. READ MORE
Published in Consumer Issues
Keith Robbins grew up on a farm just north of London, Ont. There were no feathers in the mix. Instead, his family raised cattle, pigs, some sheep and grew grains. But today he heads up one of the country’s most important poultry organizations.

Four years ago, Robbins became executive director of the Poultry Industry Council (PIC). He assumed the role after two decades in communications positions with Ontario Pork. “The only commonality was that they’re both monogastrics,” Robbins says in comparing the two industries.

The Centralia College grad, who holds an agricultural business management diploma, had to be a quick study, as he was tasked with leading PIC through a major transition.

As background, the organization was founded in 1997 when the Ontario Poultry Council and the Poultry Industry Centre merged. The move brought both groups’ responsibilities – education extension, event co-ordination, and research administration and co-ordination – together under the newly created PIC moniker.

Then in 2013 it took a different direction. Ontario wanted a one-stop centre to streamline the application process for livestock study. Thus, the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC) was born and Tim Nelson, then PIC’s executive director, became the new entity’s CEO.

That’s when Robbins entered the fray. Supported by a small team of staffers working out of PIC’s head office near Guelph, Ont., and guided by a dozen directors, he was tasked with refocusing the council solely on education extension, events and project management. Its research responsibilities would be gradually transferred to the LRIC.

A few years in, Robbins is happy with how the transition progressed. “It became an opportunity for us to look at how we run events and manage profitability,” he says.

Indeed, as PIC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it has plenty to celebrate. Its events continue to draw, not just more producers, but more industry salespeople as well. These reps often become extension staff for the council by sharing the resources it develops. “They often ask, ‘Can I get a couple more copies of that handout?’ ” Robbins says. “That’s a great opportunity for us to put out other factsheets.”

The London Poultry Show, the council’s marquee trade event, drew record numbers two years in a row. Likewise, its annual golf tournament also saw its largest ever turnout last year. And PIC continues to add to its events portfolio, now averaging about two events per month. The council grew its presence in Eastern Ontario as part of that effort, including bringing its Producer Updates educational series to St. Isidore.

What’s more, membership has steadily increased, despite widespread industry consolidation that would typically mean fewer members. “The driver is the material they’re developing,” says Al Dam, poultry specialist with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

“We try to ensure everything we do is driven by our members,” Robbins explains. “They ask and we provide what they need.” Take culling, he cites as an example. One of PIC’s most highly regarded initiatives in recent years was its Euthanasia Resources and Training Project.

PIC’s shareholders identified a strong need for consistent training in the area. Many family farms had developed their own euthanasia practices over the years that they’d pass down. “There may be three generations of you that were doing this in a less efficient manner,” Dam points out.

Thus, the council worked with a diverse range of experts to develop a three-part educational package. “The intent was to have everyone trained to the same level so that the industry has a defendable standard,” Dam continues.

Part one was the “Timely Euthanasia of Compromised Chicks & Poults” poster – a practical guide that helps producers identify young birds that should be culled. The second instalment was the “Practice Guidelines for On-Farm Euthanasia of Poultry” manual.

That document provided the basis for the third instalment – PIC’s Euthanasia Training Program, which is available to farmers in both classroom delivery and video format. Feather boards, organizations and producers across the country utilized all three resources.

PIC’s Poultry Health Day is another example of the council responding to industry trends. While events like Producer Updates and Poultry Research Day often included health-related topics, Robbins and co. saw value in dedicating an entire event to such issues.

Thus, it held its first Poultry Health Day August 2015 in Stratford, Ont. One of the main topics was avian influenza, naturally, as the London Poultry Show was cancelled just a few months before due to an outbreak. The inaugural event was a success, drawing 130 attendees. One of this year’s hot topics was infectious bronchitis, which has plagued Ontario poultry farms in a variety of sectors this year.

Dam expects poultry health to be an ongoing concern for producers and, thus, the council. On the layer side, for example, he sees old diseases the industry solved years ago resurfacing due to housing changes. “What’s old is new again,” he says.

On the broiler side, Dam sees brooding becoming a bigger issue in need of PIC’s attention. He points out that days-to-market continue to shorten each year. This means the brooding period becomes a larger percentage of a bird’s life in the barn. “You screw up that first few days it follows you all the way through,” Dam says.

Going forward, Robbins wants to see a more co-ordinated effort to address farmers’ concerns quicker. Currently, universities conduct the research, LRIC helps with administration and PIC plays that outward role. “That process has to be more interwoven,” Robbins says. “What can we do to solve that problem now?” He also hopes to start live streaming council events to expand its reach.

Looking back on his previous career, Robbins says one of the biggest differences between pork and poultry is marketing legislation. Supply management gives the industry the stability it needs to focus on finding innovative solutions to trends and challenges producers face. That’s where PIC fits in. “Our role is helping understand what those trends are and what they mean for farmers.”
Published in Farm Business
August 15, 2017, Winnipeg, Man. - The controversy over Manitoba Chicken Producers’ (MCP) new annual specialty quota program has been resolved with both sides satisfied they were treated fairly by a ruling from the Manitoba Farm Producers Marketing Council (MFPMC).

In a ruling in early July the council told MPC to postpone charging administrative fees for 10 years among those participating in the program, recognizing the financial impact the additional fees would have on existing participants. At the same time its ruling stated support for MPC’s move to adopt new policy seeing a need to modernize and update the manner in which chicken is regulated. READ MORE 
Published in Business & Policy
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