Canadian Poultry Magazine

Features 100th anniversary Key Developments
Why B.C. poultrymen want a Marketing Board

March 1949

January 28, 2013
By Geo. A. Cook Secretary B.C.P.P. Assn.


The B.C. Poultry Producers Ass’n which came into being in the spring of 1941 at a time of extremely low egg prices, is now endeavoring to get a Poultry and Egg Marketing Board put into operation. This has been brought up before in the organization but with freight assistance on feed granted, a controlled price on feeds put into force, and an assured market for all surplus eggs at a reasonably fair price in Great Britain, the project was felt unnecessary at the time and against the wishes of some of our delegates to the Central Committee.

However, with the taking away of price controls from coarse grains over a year ago, the demand was again made in no uncertain terms by many producers in various parts of the Lower Mainland. By resolutions from the majority of the locals of the Association, the Central Committee was asked to go ahead and draw up a Scheme for a Poultry and Egg Marketing Board. This has been done and submitted to the various producing groups and in the main has general approval.

The producer is tired of the ups and downs of poultry products with its periods of “booms and busts”. The very considerable number of people in the Lower Mainland, especially those who depend very largely or entirely on poultry farming for a living, fail to see why they should not have a price for their products which will give them an adequate living wage as is secured by the workers in industry, or the professions, or other lines of endeavor, with a price for feed which, must have a relationship to the price paid for their products. Such a happy position does not seem to be in the least likely unless they do something themselves about it.

No manufacturer would consider for a moment sinking his money into a project where he had no assurance whatever of either the cost of his raw material, nor yet have any say or control of the price his product will fetch, when marketed. That is the producer’s position, however, in the past, and except for his position being considered when egg contracts were drawn up with Britain in recent years, and of which he has no assurance of in the future, and the price of his raw material, i.e., feed controlled in price for those few war years, he has no security and sees none for the future. So rather belatedly he is considering mending his own fences and protecting his own interests. Just why poultry and egg products should have its price controlled whenever a surplus exists, be it large or small, by the price it will fetch in London or Liverpool or any other far away place, minus all the freight and handling charges enroute, the poultrymen fails to see.

The producer feels it is high tie that the domestic price of eggs and poultry should be entirely divorced from the price paid elsewhere whether it be with or without British Contracts. If either organized labor or the professions had to accept the slave wages paid to poultrymen and also most other branches of agriculture at various times in the past, they would raise such a howl it would be heard in heaven.

I would add that the poultrymen are organizing for their own protection, but rather late we know. It is difficult too, because we are scattered, but determined, if possible to keep both our homes, and get as decent a standard of living as other honest, industrious citizens.

Not to exploit consumer

It is neither the intention nor desire of the poultrymen to exploit the consumer, although they feel that in many instances of late they have been ruthlessly exploited when comparing the prices they have had to pay for various articles and services in comparison to what they have received for their own product. It is hoped to keep red tape and restrictions to an absolute minimum. It designs to help the economic position of the poultrymen and, while a few poultrymen have brought up the fact, it might in some small degree restrict their freedom of operation.

They might well ask themselves whether that was not too much better than worrying themselves sick over last week’s feed bills, considering how many hens they will have to sell to pay this week’s bill, and how much longer can they hold out till the tide turns and prices rise. Many have had to sell out and go on a labor market already glutted.

Travelling over much of Surrey Municipality lately, I have been depressed at the empty chicken houses, because of the very unfavorable conditions. With high feed prices and recent low egg prices, we are now faced with a shortage of eggs and poultry meats.

Surely some order and stability in our business can be obtained and the producer is beginning to realize that only through a Marketing Board, under control of the producers, can order be restored out of chaos.

It cannot be too strongly pointed out that the producer seeks only a just and fair return for his product and desires neither to dictate to nor exploit anyone.