Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CFO Talks A Perfect Game

At least Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") knows what people want to hear and read.  Their 2014 Annual Report is a masterpiece in propaganda and political correctness.  While CFO says all the right words, have they provided any objective evidence to prove they achieved any of their talk?
CFO's 2014 Annual Report has been discussed for the last 3 days (see here and here). In their report, CFO says:

  • Taking Performance to the Next Level
  • CFO is relentlessly focused on achieving our full potential
  • Business as usual is not an option.
  • Our focus is to be better.
  • Our goal is to make a difference.
  • And so forth for a total of 32 pages of rainbows and unicorns

  • So where are all the results from all of CFO's pomposity, promises, and  propaganda?

    From an outsider's prospective, I see the following changes and improvements for CFO in 2014:
    • CFO re-decorated the office to a brighter shade of red, more consistent with CFO's corporate colours
    • CFO has implemented (or is still implementing) their very expensive and complicated SAP software (ie. "CFO Connects") that the Canadian and Ontario taxpayers bought for them.  So much for CFO being "self funded"
    • CFO's revenue has dropped by 9.5% from 2013.
    • CFO's expenditures have dropped 2.2% from 2013 (before extraordinary items)
    • CFO has spent a total of $1.5 Million trying to figure out (or to lobby the government and other stakeholders) how to set the farm gate price of chicken in a more advantageous manner for CFO and its millionaire chicken producers.
    CFO says the key projects that it worked on during 2014 are:   price reform, business development (specialty breeds), allocating growth and emergency management systems.

    CFO spent 44% less on its projects in 2014 than what they spent in 2013.  Does that mean CFO did 44% less work, or they were 44% more efficient in carrying out their projects?  CFO may know, but they aren't telling the rest of us.  I guess it's a secret.

    Stalin's Russia shared more info on their 5 years Plan implementations than what CFO shares.

    Perhaps CFO should talk to their many management consultants they hire about how to do Strategic Planning, openness, and accountability.

    What I expect is PLAN, DO, CHECK, IMPROVE (Deming's Cycle).

    1.  Each year, CFO should say what they are going to do, and the expected results that will be achieved.
    2. CFO implements their plan.
    3. CFO checks and measures the effectiveness of their plan implementation, and the results achieved.
    4. CFO improves their systems (ie. planning, implementation, checking, etc.), then repeat the whole process for the following year.
    In that manner, there's openness, transparency, and accountability.

    Until that happens, CFO deals solely in lobbying and propaganda; nothing more, nothing less.  Most unfortunate!


    Monday, March 23, 2015

    It's All About CFO

    On reading CFO's Annual Report for 2014, you quickly learn who is the star of the show in CFO's eyes:  it's CFO.  To me, the public and the consumers should be front & center, not CFO.  Perhaps that is why CFO and I don't see eye to eye on many topics.

    I previously did a word cloud on a CFO document in June 2013 when CFO announced they were going to look at improving their Cost of Production (see Blog Posting Congratulations CFO!).  In that document, COPF (Cost Of Production Formula) had the lead and starring role at center stage, and CFO was way back in the pack, a mere Extra in the crowd for the performance.

    Word Cloud for CFO's Annual Report for 2014.  The
    font size is proportional to the frequency of occurrence.
    Guess who is most important in CFO's mind?  If you
    magnify the image, you can barely see "consumer" in
    the microprint font size, located 6 lines above the "F"
    in "CFO", just below "management".
    In yesterdays posting (see CFO's Mission & Role ).we discussed CFO's wrong headed and misleading corporate Mission.  At least in CFO's self declared Mission and roles, they admit that they are stewards.

    In other words, CFO is a trustee, charged with the duty of properly serving the best interests of their beneficiaries:  the Ontario consumers of chicken.

    Today, we do another word cloud on CFO's Annual Report for 2014.  Click on the image for a bigger version, or download a pdf copy here

    As a parent, I try to keep in mind, and teach my kids that this world isn't all about me, nor my kids.  It seems CFO hasn't yet learned that lesson.  CFO wants to star in their own movie, then tries to steal the show, thereby ruining the movie for everybody else, including the audience.  That's why "CFO" is in the biggest font size in the Word Cloud to the right.

    If you click on the Word Cloud image at the right, and maximize the magnification, you can barely see the microprint where "consumer" is a mere extra in CFO's movie, pushed to the wings, barely on the stage at all.

    Other important words like quality, continuous improvement, affordable chicken, expectations, etc. are either totally absent, or you need an electron microscope to see them because the Word Cloud font used is so small.

    To me, the consumer should be the star of the show, placed center stage.

    Would you donate to a charity where the charity's CEO acted like a rock star who could never get enough publicity for himself?  Those beneficiaries whom the charity is trying to help should be the focus of attention, not the narcissistic CEO.

    CFO needs their wings clipped, and maybe a liitle more.
    I believe it should be the same for CFO and all of the other Supply Management Mafia.  The consumers are #1, not CFO.

    It's about time that the narcissistic CFO learned this lesson that CFO isn't the most important organization in the world.  Perhaps CFO needs their wings to be clipped so they come back down to Earth with us mere mortals.

    Perhaps OFPMC, if they were doing their job in the best interests of the public, should get out their wing clippers and snip off some of CFO's proud peacock plumage.

    If and when that occurs, it's going to be a very strange world.  I can't wait to see the sight of a bald, bare ass CFO running around the barnyard.

    Sunday, March 22, 2015

    CFO's Mission & Role

    Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") has a Mission and a defined role.  Is it the correct role?  Is it well executed?  Let's take a quick look.  Who is CFO supposed to be working for?

    CFO's latest annual report (2014) has been recently published.  On page 3, CFO declares its Mission and purpose.

    CFO's Mission is stated as:
    Deliver strategy‑driven and entrepreneurial leadership that builds economic value for the Ontario chicken industry
    What exactly does CFO mean by this?

    Wikipedia provides a military definition of these terms:
    "Strategy is undertaken before the battle. Tactics are implemented during battle."
    A Small Business Internet magazine provides a business interpretation, which seems more aligned to what CFO (or CFO's high priced management consultant who dreamed up these words) likely had in mind:
    Figure 1:  CO's Infographic for their Strategic Plan
    "Strategy refers to a direction toward a goal. Tactics are the actions taken to support that strategy. Most businesses deal with five types of strategy and the tactics used to achieve strategic goals: product, pricing, marketing, operational and financial strategies."
    CFO provides a nifty infographic, showing CFO's purpose, 3 strategic roles, 5 business operating strategies, 3 enabling resources, and 5 key performance areas.

    The problem with all this is starting with an assumption or an incorrect premise, this sets CFO off in the wrong direction.

    I agree with CFO's Strategic Roles:
    • Supply Management Steward & Regulator
    • Farmer-Member Business Advocate
    • Industry Value Chain Partner
    There is no doubt that all of these are true, proper, and valuable.  Lets dig deeply on the first and foremost, namely "Supply Management Steward & Regulator".

    "Steward" is defined as:   " One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs."

    This means that the Supply Management system does not belong to CFO, it belongs to somebody else, somebody that CFO is supposed to be working for, doing their very best to achieve the best outcome for this other party.

    Is that somebody the Ontario government?

    I suggest not.  The Ontario Government is also a Steward.  Both CFO and the Ontario Government should be working co-operatively and effectively for the people of Ontario.  The greater good of the public is CFO's boss and the owner and beneficiary of the Supply Management System.  CFO manages a fiduciary trust in the Chicken Supply Management System for the best interests of all Ontario.

    Hopefully you now understand what CFO should be doing.  Hopefully CFO understands this too.  Did CFO's high priced business management consultant point out this important fact in great clarity to CFO's Board of Directors?  If not, why not?

    In CFO's Annual Report for 2014, I counted 42 mentions of Ontario's "consumer".  CFO can certainly talk a good game, saying all the right words.  At least CFO seems to know what the public wants to hear.  At least CFO has that well in hand.

    The question remains,

    Is that CFO's hypocrisy and an attempt at their wrong, dysfunctional manipulation of consumers? 

    Or does CFO really care about serving the public?

    This is CFO's 50th anniversary.

    Past performance of CFO's results at serving the public get a "D" grade.  Unacceptable!

    Will CFO admit its past failures, and take remedial action to dramatically and quickly improve its performance?

    It appears to me that CFO has too much pride.  At this point, they'd rather pretend all is well, rather than know for sure, or admit their shortcomings.

    Likely that will continue until something else forces CFO to change for the better.

    Where will that "something" come from?  When will it arrive on CFO's doorstep?


    Friday, March 20, 2015

    CFO Millionaires want to be Billionaires Sooner

    Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO"), lobbyists for 1,138 millionaire chicken farmers of Ontario, appealed to OFPMC for immediate relief of their members' terrible plight.  Those millionaires suffered a $0.051/kg price cut under the new farm gate pricing formula, which slows the rate at which those millionaires can become billionaires.  CFO says that is totally unacceptable, and cannot be tolerated.

    "Being a millionaire chicken farmer in Ontario, I am now forced to make tough choices...a new
    tractor or a new Maserati sports car.  I can no longer afford both."
    Did you hear about the  Chicken Mafia farmer?  He would have to choose between buying a new tractor or a new Maserati, he could no longer afford both.

    In 2014, CFO and their henchmen produced 470.7 million kg of live chicken.  At a loss of $0.051/kg, that is an average loss of $21,095 per Chicken Mafia farmer.

    If I was one of them, I'd likely be sore about losing $21,000 per year from my pay cheque.
    2015 Kia Optima, $24,795 MSRP

    Enough empathy?  OK, let's continue.

    That $21,000 won't buy you a Maserati, but it could have bought a brand new 2015 Kia.

    The question remains, were the Chicken Mafia previously over-paid, or are they now under-paid?

    I think I have previously answered that question, in spades.  More than 2 years ago, I presented the objective evidence that the Chicken Mafia had raped the Canadian public for bogus chicken charges from false and misleading Feed Conversion Ratio charges, totaling $945 Million per year for about 10 years (see Blog posting Bogus FCR takes $945 Million per year from Canadians ).

    By each Chicken Mafia farmer disgorging $21,095 per year of the previously ill got gains, it will be 166 years before they have repaid their debt to society.

    Slow, to be sure, but at least they have started the reimbursement process.

    At CFO's AGM on 2015/03/12, CFO and its members were complaining about this repayment plan (see here and here).  They want to change the rules again, more in their favor.  It's tough being a millionaire when you really want to be a billionaire.

    When AOCP heard that CFO wanted another kick at the cat, they too came up with "improvements" to help themselves.  Shockingly, AOCP was mentioning that they are in favor of "...advancing the industry through growth, increased efficiencies and consumer focus."

    Consumer focus?

    Are they feeling OK?

    Since when were CFO and AOCP concerned about anybody but themselves?

    I hope this is more than a bargaining ploy.  If it is for real, we support and welcome it.

    If OFPMC is opening it up, perhaps Small Flockers should submit our Christmas List to Santa.  If not, our wish list may arrive too late.

    I immediately sent an email to Mr. Gerri Kamertz, Chairman of OFPMC, CFO's supervisory body.  Here is a copy for you to enjoy.  Small Flockers' letter to OFPMC

    What do you think?

    Wednesday, March 18, 2015

    Micky D Chicken Rules Change

    McDonald's Restaurants in USA have decided that they will "solely source chickens that are grown without antibiotics that are important to human medicine".

    Today, the old McDonald's sees itself
    differently.  McDonald's is transforming
    into the new, hipper, millennial version
    of itself.  (Image from NY Times)
    McDonald's ("McD") is the world's largest restaurant chain. McD is the #1 buyer of beef in the world, but McD sells more chicken than beef, and one of the world's largest buyers of chicken.  This adds McD to a growing field of other restaurants (eg. US' Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chick-fil-A and Canada's A&W) who will no longer settle for the crappy chicken previously pushed onto consumers by the Chicken Mafia.  That's why this announcement is BIG!  McD doesn't make rash decisions on a whim, they do their research first.

    CBC Radio said:
    The fast food giant issued a statement acknowledging, “Consumer needs and preferences have changed... McDonald’s current performance reflects the urgent need to evolve with today’s consumers, reset strategic priorities and restore business momentum.”
    Larry Light, the former Chief Marketing Officer for McDonald's USA said:
     "It is a crisis. McDonald's has unfortunately lost its way. The consumer has changed and McDonald's stood still."  
    Canada's Chicken Mafia had better wake up and smell the McCafĂ©® coffee.

    Are you listening, CFO?

    The Drugs
    What exactly are "antibiotics that are important to human medicine"?

    There are 4 classes of antibiotics used on humans.  Class 1 is critically important to curing infections that likely cannot be treated any other way.  Class 4 is the least important.  It would seem that McDonald's ban on antibiotics includes all 4 classes.

    Ionophores, another family of drugs, is generally considered to not be an antibiotic.  However, ionophores are often fed to factory chickens to promote growth by reducing the impact of questionable growing practices and diseases inside CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).  Ionophores (eg. drugs used to treat coccidiosis), are not used for humans.  Therefore it would seem that McD's antibiotic ban wouldn't include ionophores, other drugs, or feed additives used by most CAFO's.

    Does McD's ban go far enough, or too far?  Should a restaurant dictate farming practices?

    The Government
    The so-called "experts" of Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, & Rural Affairs ("OMAFRA"), who are for the most part fossilized dinosaurs, who give unquestioning love and support to their Chicken Mafia masters, says it is impossible to do chicken factory CAFO's without using antibiotics.  Here is a quick taste of OMAFRA's dogma:
    Q. Should the use of antimicrobials in agriculture be stopped?

    A. No. Antimicrobials used in agricultural production systems help to control animal and crop diseases, and reducing disease helps to keep the cost of food reasonable. It can also help to prevent diseases from spreading from animals to people.

    However, antimicrobials need to be used cautiously in agriculture, human medicine and public health applications. Prudent use means antimicrobials are not used excessively or indiscriminately. Many organizations have developed or are developing guidelines for prudent use of antimicrobials in animals and people.
    The same goes for other bureaucratic, fossilized "experts" at Canadian Food Inspection Agency ("CFIA") and elsewhere.

    The Farmers
    Yorkshire Valley Farms of Peterborough, Ont., has proven that OMAFRA's fossilized "expert" apologists for drugged chicken to be wrong.
    Did CFO help Yorkshire lead the way?   CFO decided to observe from the sidelines or sit on their hands, rather than offering significant help for Yorkshire to create a new future for chicken in Ontario.

    I, a small flock chicken farmer, and most other small flock chicken farmers, do not use antibiotics on a regular, consistent basis with our chickens.  We keep our birds healthy by better farming practices.  We're not chained to using antibiotics as a risky, partially effective use of antibiotics that has significant negative consequences for many, including the consumer.

    The rollout of McNuggets in the US happened between 1979 and 1983.  The Chicken Mafia caused a delay for McNuggets in Canada.  When McDonald's introduced Chicken McNuggets to Canada, Cuddy Foods in London ON won the contract to produce those McNuggets, but could never get enough chicken to supply that contract due to the infighting, jealousy, and posturing by all the Chicken Mafia factions across Canada.

    For now, McDonald's in Canada won't be following the US McDonald's lead; possibly because of the previous difficulties and obstructionist Supply Management policies in Canada.

    McDonald's has made this Antibiotic-Free decision (and other similar moves in Europe and US) because they understand McDonald's must change with the times.  McDonald's same store sales and profits have crashed in the last 2 years.  McDonald's chicken contamination scandal in S.E. Asia was a major blow there, and still is.  A cautionary tale to the Chicken Mafia here, and their questionable food quality practices.
    McDonald's Net Profit & Net Income, slumping since Q3 2013
    Ref.: Market Realist

    McDonald's needs to protect and retain what they still have, and help those customers who left to return.  This can only be achieved by offering the customers what they want:  more nutritious, better food at a reasonable price.

    chickens raised without antibiotics of importance to human medicine - See more at: file:///C:/Users/Glenn%20Black/Documents/BBay/Farming/Poultry/Chickens/Blog/Pending%20Posts/McD-ChickenDrugs/McDonaldsAntibioticFreeChicken.htm#sthash.LZLuYBhj.dpuf
    chickens raised without antibiotics of importance to human medicine - See more at: file:///C:/Users/Glenn%20Black/Documents/BBay/Farming/Poultry/Chickens/Blog/Pending%20Posts/McD-ChickenDrugs/McDonaldsAntibioticFreeChicken.htm#sthash.LZLuYBhj.dpuf
    chickens raised without antibiotics of importance to human medicine - See more at: file:///C:/Users/Glenn%20Black/Documents/BBay/Farming/Poultry/Chickens/Blog/Pending%20Posts/McD-ChickenDrugs/McDonaldsAntibioticFreeChicken.htm#sthash.LZLuYBhj.dpuf

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    FSRN: Gone but not Forgotten

    The Food Security Research Network ("FSRN"), part of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, was formed in 2006, funded for 6 years, ending in 2012.

    One of the projects that FSRN worked on was the high quality chicken eggs and meat for Northern Ontario.

    They produced an informative table showing the quota and non-quota systems for chickens and eggs in Ontario.

    I remember it as a resource I had found 3 years ago.  It was a helpful primer to introduce me to the complex regulations and systems.  Unfortunately, I never blogged about it before.

    Today, I remembered it fondly, and decided FSRN's moment in the sun for this Blog has arrived.

    My thanks to FSRN and Dr. Connie Nelson who shepherded FSRN to do many important projects.

    Monday, March 16, 2015

    CFO: From Misleading + Blackout, to Partial Disclosure

    Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") surveyed more than 600 in Ontario about chicken, then went into almost total, complete blackout on the survey results, except for a mis-leading Media Backgrounder and Media Release on Dec. 3, 2014.  I congratulate CFO on disclosing some of the damaging survey results at their Annual General Meeting on March 12, 2015; 99 days late.  I now encourage CFO to release the entire survey report so as to provide full, open, transparent, and accountable governance of Ontario's chicken industry for the people of Ontario.

    It is good that CFO, like all other businesses who might care what their stakeholders think, conduct a comprehensive, independent survey, done by a third party.

    In the past, it appears that CFO designed their surveys so complaints and problems were ignored or hidden.  To illustrate that point, let's design a biased question that has no downside (as only the chicken gods have seen the survey, I don't really know what CFO did, but we can speculate):

    Q1:   How do you feel about the fresh chicken sold in Ontario grocery stores?
    • Best chicken in the world
    • Excellent
    • Very Good
    • I'm satisfied
    • Not applicable or no comment
    This improper question has 4 degrees of happiness, and a neutral catch-all, but nowhere can a dissatisfied consumer express their opinion.

    With this biased question, I'd expect to hear, "93% of consumers are satisfied or better with the chicken sold in Ontario".  No matter how good or bad CFO really performs, they can spin the results to make CFO look fantastic.

    If things get really ugly, and 90% of consumers are so pissed off at CFO and Ontario chicken, that they choose "Not applicable or no comment", then CFO could still say, "Of those who expressed an opinion, 93% are satisfied."  What that means is that 90% clicked next to the most negative choice available, and of the 10% that CFO hasn't pissed off yet, they were disbursed among the 4 remaining positive choices so that 93% of that 10% chose "Satisfied".  It sounds great until you do full disclosure.

    It's all in how you word the question.  Mislead the public through creative wording of the question and misinterpretation of the survey results.

    Is that what CFO has done?  Only full disclosure of the survey and its results will reveal the full truth.

    Therefore, I call upon CFO to fully disclose the survey and all of the results.

    After CFO received the survey results, they issued a Media Backgrounder on Dec. 3, 2014.  It was subsequently deleted from their website by CFO (too much information ?), but through the miracle of Google's web crawler and cache system, I was able to obtain a cached version of that document.  All 100% positive, smiles & chuckles, rainbows and butterflies.  Isn't that precious!  I have preserved a copy and stored it here.  CFO also issued a Media Release, which is archived here

    On March 13, 2015 an explosive article about CFO's survey was published on Better Farming.  Due to the critical importance of this information, I have copied it for archival purposes, and stored it here

    From this unprecedented partial release of survey data from CFO, we now learn that most people have no clue how Supply Management works, or if chicken is under Supply Management.  In spite of these facts CFO twists the survey data so as to claim that the vast majority of consumers support Supply Management.

    Read the CFO press release, then the BF article.  It's hard to believe they're referring to the same survey.

    There 'aughta be a law.

    There is a law, truth in advertising, and no misleading of consumers.

    Too bad CFO ignores it.

    Does these embarrassing results justify CFO to bury the survey results, or twist their meaning?

    I don't think so, but what do you think?

    Friday, March 13, 2015

    Paid Skeptics & their Propaganda

    I watched Food Inc. again last night with family who had not yet seen this important documentary on commercialized food system in the USA.  By watching this movie for a second time, I have thereby renewed my disgust and rejection of the Frankenstein food systems that have become too commonplace today.

    Note:  The CBC Radio clip embedded below starts playing automatically, and I have no control of this.  To stop the audio, scroll down to the CBC Radio embed below and click on the double vertical bars in the bottom left corner of that embedded player.

    I bought the movie Food Inc. from the Internet last year after I learned about it during my research for Small Flockers.  Food Inc. provided first hand witness accounts about dysfunctional systems in multiple processes and products in United States food systems, from farm to fork.

    While the movie was exclusively focused on farms and food in the USA, other research I have done tells me it is the same or similar here in Canada.

    Clip from Food Inc.

    There was a response to Food Inc., no doubt.  One of these can be seen at Safe Food Inc. website.  A fast & furious response from the impugned and alleged wrongdoers, even while the filming was actively occurring.  Today, the CAFO food industry has many paid skeptics and lobbyists who tirelessly word to un-ring the bell that had been rung by the documentary Food Inc.

    Since most people are easily distracted and misled by well researched and promoted propaganda, is there hope for us in the short or long term?

    Nazi Germany's Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, was an excellent orator, and even better working behind the scenes to shape public opinion.  Goebbels learned his propaganda methods from Edward Bernays and his 1928 book Propaganda.  Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, began his seminal 1928 book Propaganda, with these ominous words:
    "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.  Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of."
    --- Edward Bernays, 1928, pg. 1, Propaganda
    Also see here for an excellent summary of these propaganda techniques and the consequences for society.  How do propagandists, lobbyists, and paid skeptics sell their questionable services to wrongdoers?

    "You can 'Lose Pretty', or come with me and 'Win Ugly'"

    The purpose of paid skeptics and propagandists is to spread doubt, and cause delays in the resolution of social problems that affect the pocketbook of wrongdoers.

    Paid skeptics get away with this misdirection because there are fewer and fewer investigative journalists. Combine this with the constraints on the main stream media who are tightly bound to their advertisers, the powerful mega corporations who buy ads and sponsor the media's operations.  The remaining media staff at main stream media tend to be forced by their tight 24/7/365 deadlines and their affiliation with their advertisers to accept the press releases sent to them by paid lobbyists and propagandists.

    CBC Radio did a short program on paid skeptics and their impact on society.  A chilling tool that we all must be aware of, and guard against.


    Clip from the documentary Merchants of Doubt