Wednesday, August 29, 2018

SM Lobbyists on Steroids

Times are tough, no time for sleep.  Lobbyists for Supply Management ("SM") must earn their keep.  NAFTA and TPP are on the rocks.  Canada's SM is being stared down by the hungry wolves around the globe.  Can SM survive?

Maxime Bernier likely lost the PC Leadership race because of his stance against SM; one of the first Canadian politicians to do so.  You have to admire this guy's courage and fortitude.

Alberta's PC members introduced a motion debated at the 2018 PC Policy Convention to end SM:

“In order to lower the cost of food for Canadians, strengthen the agricultural sector and open more markets worldwide for Canadian exporters, a Conservative government will phase out supply management while smoothing the market adjustment for Canadian farmers,” reads the proposed change.

In one of the many other puff pieces designed to support SM, I chose to respond as follows:

Dear Alan:

I saw your article "Canada mustn’t cave on milk marketing" in Charlottetown's The Guardian newspaper on Aug. 26, 2018 ( ).

It appears that you tried to address all of the standard arguments against Supply Management.  I would like to reply to each of those arguments, and add a few additional arguments on the other side.

Before I begin, I want to make full disclosure of my bias on this hot issue.  I am a small flock chicken farmer, one of 60,000 or so non-Supply Management (ie. non-SM) chicken farmers across Canada. There are about 4,000 SM chicken farmers in Canada, which is just 6.6% of all Canadian chicken farmers.  Small flock, non-SM chicken farmers have had our rights and freedoms stolen from us so that the  SM chicken farmers can rule the roost, and impose tyrannical rules upon the non-SM chicken farmers.  I call it *Chicken Apartheid* because SM allows the minority to dominate and persecute the majority.  While your article and my response will focus on the SM dairy sector, I believe the other sectors of SM are as bad or worse than dairy.

1. You said, "It’s not like there are billions of dollars
".  I disagree.  Canadians pay a premium (from 38% to
   300% for Supply Management ("SM") commodities (eg. milk, cheese,
   butter, chicken, turkey, and eggs) over what citizens in most other
   OECD countries pay on the world's free markets.  When the annual
   tonnes consumed by Canadians are multiplied by the premium SM marked
   up prices that Canadian are forced to pay, it's in the Billions of
   dollars per year.

2. You say, "...these same free-enterprisers are not against farmers
   collecting massive government subsidies...
". I disagree.  In
   Canada, there are more lobbyists in the agricultural sector than
   pharma, automotive, IT, tech, banking, finance, or any other
   business sector.  Lobbyists in SM are the largest and best of all
   Agriculture Lobbyists.  Those Ag. lobbyists are highly paid and very
   effective at their job of keeping those subsidies flowing.  The SM
   system double dips in that governmental feed trough.  SM is eligible
   for most of those subsidies and governmental programs like most
   other farmers, then also get to write their own laws and enforce
   them on non-SM farmers and all Canadians as o how SM will control
   and gouge Canadians and manipulate the system to their personal SM
   advantage.  There is a governmental panel that must endorse these SM
   decrees, but it is mostly a toothless lap dog who does what it's
   told to do, rubber stamping and approving almost everything that is
   placed before it by SM lobbyists.

3. You say, "If Canada’s poor can’t afford to buy milk, then
   increasing the subsidies to the poor would be a better use of tax
", rather than changing the SM system.  In 2015, the
   Ontario SM dairy industry dumped 400,000 litres of skim milk in
   sewage lagoons so that they could maximize their SM profits.  In a
   June 2, 2016 article in the National Post, SM is criticized for dumping
   tens of millions pounds of perfectly good skim milk as animal feed,
   flushing milk down the municipal
   sewer, dumping skim milk in pig manure composting pits, or similar
   wasteful disposal.  Ever since 2015, the skim milk dumping continues
   almost every day, but the Main Stream Media have moved on to other
   issues.  SM says their hands are tied because the Canadian skim milk
   manufacturing plants have been operating at capacity since 2015, so
   SM claims there is no other solution.  What they keep secret is that
   SM operates the system so as to maximize profits for their SM farmer
   members, not so as to serve the greater good of Canadians.  SM lies
   to the public by omission when they hide the obvious facts that they
   could build additional skim milk manufacturing capacity, or the
   liquid skim milk could be shipped to US powder milk producing
   plants, or they could sell the skim milk to Canadian consumers at a
   low enough discount price so as to clear any surplus, or donate the
   skim milk to Food Banks, or run the SM system so that all dairy
   products and by-products are balanced and have a ready market at a
   fair price.  Canadians have consistently wanted more butter than
   what Canadian dairies can produce, and drink less and less homo and
   skim milk because it's so expensive.  SM selfishly obliges these
   desires by charging up to 300% more than world prices for Canadian
   butter, then imports cheap New Zealand ("NZ") surplus butter by the
   tonnes, jacks up the low import price by 300% to sell NZ butter to
   desperate Canadians, and uses the "buy low -- sell high" price
   gouging profits on NZ butter to pay for the Canada-wide advertising
   and lobbying about the goodness of Canadian butter and dairy
   products.  Sheer and udder [sic] hypocrisy!

4. You claim that SM is a "...system that provides high quality dairy
".  Quality of milk is usually measured by:   a)
   contamination of milk with bacteria,  b) BTSCC (bulk tank somatic
   cell count   ie. puss);  and c) adulterants in the milk.  Using data
   from the Canadian Dairy Commission and USDA, in 2011-2012 Canadian
   milk had an average of 239,556 BTSCC, while US milk was 197,000 so
   US milk is 21% better than Canadian milk for BTSCC.  When the
   Canadian milk quality standards were tightened in Jan. 1992, the
   number of incidents of adulterated milk in Canada from improper
   antibiotic use significantly increased, likely as Canadian dairy
   farmers tried to take the easy way out to meet the tougher quality

   The quality of Canadian milk is mediocre, and variation between
   Provinces, and month-to-month are outrageous.  For somatic cell
   counts  (ie. puss) in the milk from Jan. to June 2015, Manitoba had
   the worse milk in Canada, 17% worse than the Canadian average.  BC
   had the best milk, which is 14% better than the Canadian average
   somatic cell count.  The worst month for a Province was 45% more
than the best month.  For bacterial contamination in
   Canadian milk from Jan. to June 2015, the monthly variability across
   all Provinces is 48%, which shows an out of control situation,
   indicating poor dairy management.  Nova Scotia had the worse milk,
   208% worse bacterial count than the Canadian average.  New
   Brunswick had the best milk, which is 57% lower than the Canadian
   average bacterial contamination. The worst month for a Province was
   13 times worse than the best month.  Again, totally out of
   control.  This poor quality milk wasn't dumped, it was sold to
   unsuspecting consumers.  Thank God for pasteurization.  When we
   compare the 1998 data to the 2015 data, there has been little to no
   improvement over this 17 year period of SM mediocrity and/or negligence.

   You claim that all milk sold in Canada is "...hormone-free".
   However our SM system allows friends of SM to import BST milk from
   the USA (a hormone banned in Canada which creates up to 21% more
   milk when that hormone is administered to a cow).  In addition,
   there are credible reports of US drug companies delivering large
   shipments of BST to USA farms that are near the US-Canada border,
   then some Canadian dairy farmers or their agents cross the border,
   pick up their illicit drug supply, and personally import it to
   Canada for their dairy cows.  SM knows about these chronic
   allegations, but has done little to nothing to investigate or stop
   it from re-occurring.  Therefore claims that all milk sold in Canada
   is BST-free are not to be believed.

5. The 17,000 or so SM farmers in Canada are just 8% of all Canadian
   farmers, and just 0.05% of all Canadians.  I agree that SM is
   excellent for the 17,000 SM farmers who are the highest paid farmers
   in Canada, as SM farmers earn 21% more than non-SM farmers on
   average.  While SM is excellent for SM farmers, there is is no proof
   that SM is good for Canadians, and considerable proof that millions
   of Canadian consumers and thousands of non-SM farmers suffer
   significantly under SM's tyranny.

6. In 2015, US Bureau of Labor Statistics ("BLS", who surveys US retail
   prices to calculate US inflation rates) shows "Milk, fresh, whole,
   fortified, per US gal. to sell retail Mid-West in June 2015 for
   US$2.835 per US Gallon.  There are 3.785 litres per US Gal., so the
   equivalent price is US$0.749 per litre. Statistics Canada Table
   326-0012, Average retail prices for food and other selected items,
   monthly shows June 2015 retail price of milk was CDN$2.49 per litre
   (see Statscan).  Bank of Canada shows the average US-CDN exchange rate in June
   2015 was 0.8080 CDN$/US$. The US price converts to CDN$0.927 per litre.

  Therefore I conclude that Canadian milk is 268.6% more expensive than US milk in June 2015.
   The gouging by Canada's SM system has been consistent, both before
   and after this June 2015 example.

7. New Zealand let their SM system run amok until there were just 3
   dairies left standing in 2001, with a billion dollar corporation
   called Fonterra (NZ's biggest dairy conglomerate) producing over 90%
   of NZ milk.  Does Canada have to destroy family dairy farms in the
   same manner as NZ, or can we learn some lessons from NZ?  Today,
   about 95% of NZ's dairy products get exported.  The NZ tail wags the
   dog at this elevated level of export market shares.  With only 5%
   attention span of Fonterra for domestic markets, I suspect some
   NZ'ers feel the export markets get the best service, quality, and
   quantity, while the citizens of NZ get what's left over.  When
   Fonterra was formed in Oct. 2001, they processed 96% of NZ's milk
   supply, and Fonterrra only had two competitors, Westland Milk
   Products on the West Coast and Tatua Cooperative Dairy Company in
   Morrinsville, Waikato.  From 1990, NZ dairy exports have grown from
   NZ$2.1 Billion to NZ$15.5 Billion in 2014.  That's an average growth
   rate of 8.8% per year, doubling and re-doubling in size every 8
   years.  In the same time period, Canadian dairy exports went from
   CDN$196.5 Million to CDN$281 Million.  That's an average Canadian
   growth rate of 1.5% per year, doubling and re-doubling in size every
   47 years (mediocre to sickly).  Note that Canada and its SM system
   had just 17% of the growth that NZ's dairy farmers enjoyed.  That's
   quite a difference!  The other 83% of the potentially available
   growth that Canada could have enjoyed  was pissed into the wind by
   SM's dysfunctional thinking and actions.

8. SM was invented so as to save Canadian dairy farms operated by
   Canadian farming families.  In spite of this lofty goal, the number
   of Canadian dairy farms has dropped from 25,825 in 1993, to 12,430
   in 2011; a 4% per year average drop, halfing and re-halfing every 18
   years.  SM has failed miserably on its most important mission.  In
   2014, there is only 11,962 dairy farms left in Canada, another 1.3%
   drop from 2011.  Like the passenger pigeon decimation in the early
   1900's, the death rate continues as Canadian dairy farms become
   merger & acquisition targets by Big Ag., or go out of business in
   spite of SM's promises and because of their gouging of Canadian
   consumers.  This isn't good news, it's just how extinctions tend to

9. SM lobbyists are constantly surveying the Canadian consumers, so as
   to nip any emerging problems in the bud.  Many of these surveys are
   quoted as alleged proof that Canadians support SM, but the only
   thing these surveys truly prove is that most Canadians don’t
   understanding SM.  For example, in 1963 steroids & hormones were
   banned in Canada, but 64% of BC consumers believe they’re still used
   in SM products, and this myth upsets most consumers.  In a 2014
   survey by Chicken Farmers of Ontario (an SM lobby group), only 3% of
   consumers realized that chicken is produced under SM, but thought
   apples, beef, honey & wheat were SM products (not true).  First we
   must educate the public.  Consumer opinions are only valid once
   comprehension is achieved.

10. In Dec. 2015, the Food Institute at the University of Guelph
   announced that food inflation in Canada is the highest in the world,
   topping 4.1% in 2015.  It will be more of the same for the near
   future.  While all food prices are on the rise, the SM commodities
   (ie. chicken, turkey, eggs, and all dairy products) are leading the
   inflation parade.

   For example, for someone earning Ontario Minimum Wage between 1995
   and 2005, the affordability of chicken dropped 31.7%. Since chicken
   has historically been the cheapest meat available, if you can't
   afford chicken, you are forced to become a vegetarian.

   Health Canada reports that 7.6% of Canadians can't afford the food
   they need to feed their families.  In the North, rural areas, and on
   First Nation reserves, 33% to as high as 80% of families have food
   insecurity.  For example, in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut a whole chicken
   sells for $80 to $90, 4 to 5 times the price paid in Toronto ON,
   making chicken unaffordable by most families.  Many families in
   Nunavut are forced to do their "grocery shopping" at the Municipal
   Garbage Dump, cutting off the best parts from the rotting garbage,
   bringing it home to cook supper for their starving family.  The
   Canada is the 7th to 11th richest country in the world, depending on
   how you measure it.  In spite of this, the United Nations Special
   Rapporteur stated that Canadian aboriginals are worse off than any
   other aboriginal population in the world.  Shame on Canada!

11. Economists have determined that Canadian dairy farms and dairy
   processing plants are the 2nd worst in the world for productivity
   (ie. $/litre production cost of milk).  SM has caused or contributed
   to Canadian dairy farmers losing their way, and falling far behind
   their dairy competitors around the world.  If the SM life support
   system was suddenly unplugged, the weak and frail Canadian dairy
   industry would immediately (or slowly) die with little hope of
   recovery.  Every day that SM remains in place, SM farmers are
   getting fatter, weaker, and closer to extinction.

12. In the end, you seem to be calling for a Royal Commission to fully
   and fairly review the entire SM system that has been in place for 50
   years, and make recommendations to improve or replace the system.  I
   can't agree more.  Lets do it.  Lets do it now.

Glenn Black   President
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Fossilized CFO vs. Used Litter

*** 2018-09-07 Update ***

Poultry Health Magazine describes the latest research that shows significant benefits of re-using litter to start a new flock so that coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis (NE) for NAE (No Antibiotics Ever) poultry farms.

More proof that CFO and CFC are fossilized dinosaurs, out of touch with reality, and only operate to protect themselves and the million dollar monopolies of their members.  Supply Management is a bad joke, and bullying of trusting Canadians.

*** End Update 2018-09-07 ***

Two years ago, I asked for an interpretation & approval on my Small Flock Farm for CFO's Artisanal Chickens to use recycled litter (ie. composted between flocks), rather than being forced to clean out the brooder and use virgin litter between each flock.

I believe composted litter is better for bird health for our young chicks in our brooder.  I provided CFO with detailed peer-reviewed research and written reasoning to justify my request.

Coccidiosis and Necrotic Enteritis are Billion $/yr problems that chronically exist in CAFO poultry farms. 

As usual, CFO and CFC refused to consider my request & suggestion.

CFO's refusal is further proof that CFO is fossilized, frozen in space & time, and unwilling &/or unable to change in significant ways.

You'd think that profit motive would prick up the Chicken Mafia's ears.  However, it appears that power & control are even more important than higher profits.

Alternatively, we can explain their refusal by The Chicken Mafia's cup already overflowing with windfall, excessive profits.  Even higher profits from better disease control would means even more flowing into their cup and spilling on the floor as waste.

Unfortunately, it escapes CFO's awareness that Billion $ health savings on farm could be shared with Canadian consumers by lower prices flowing back into the grocery stores for SM commodities (ie. chicken, eggs, turkey, dairy).

Here is additional, latest research from Poultry Health Today that proves the value of used litter.

I believe CFO and CFC needs to be more open to alternative methods, rather than a dogmatic ultra orthodox, Luddite approach forever & ever.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Supply Management's Zombie

One Zombie who Lived & Died for
Supply Management
Everybody knows that Zombies are hard to kill.

The same is true for Canada's system of Supply Management ("SM").

In spite of this, the times are a changing.  President Donald Trump has heard about the unfairness of Canada's dairy sector for American exports.  He has forced the pending NAFTA re-negotiation.

Combine that with the May 2017 loss of Maxime Bernier, Quebec's favorite for the PC Leadership race due to his unwavering plan to kill SM, in spite of Quebec having more SM farmers than any other province.

Now, the Montreal Economic Institute has come out against SM.  MEI's August 2017 report shows the consequences of SM on the rate of growth and GDP produced by SM and non-SM farmers.  The MEI Report is a quick read, just 1 page, so well worth your time.

MEI's graph (see below) shows the impact of SM on domestic production for SM and non-SM
agricultural products.  Non-SM farmers who produce Soybeans, Wheat, Canola, and Pork
are good enough to compete on world markets, and are rewarded with significant exports.
Why can't SM farmers (Chicken, Eggs, and Dairy) do the same?

MEI's graph showing the impact of SM on domestic production for SM and non-SM
agricultural products.  Non-SM farmers who produce Soybeans, Wheat, Canola, and Pork
are good enough to compete on world markets, and are rewarded with significant exports.
Why can't SM farmers (Chicken, Eggs, and Dairy) do the same?
In March 2013 I posted about Canada's sickly chicken exports that were just 1.42% of the total chicken exported by the top 7 OECD chicken exporters.  In other words, Canada's market share for chicken exports was a minuscule 1.42%; close to non-existant.  Our domestic chicken industry could be 5 times bigger if we left last place, and took our rightful place as one of the leading OECD chicken exporters.

In the same post, I outlined how New Zealand's Tegal Poultry has done the hard work to develop a Feed Conversion Ratio ("FCR") 31.9% better than Canadian chicken farmers. Canada's chicken industry used to be a world leader in quality and productivity before SM was invented.  Ever since SM arrived, it has been resting on past laurels, slowly sliding into the swamp of mediocrity, where fat, dumb, and happy reign supreme.  When the bogus Canadian FCR which artificially boosted the profit of Canadian chicken farmers was finally exposed and corrected, Canada is only 25% behind NZ's world leading FCR.

New Zealand ("NZ") used to have Supply Management, but eventually gave it up in Oct. 2011, when economic hard times pushed the NZ nation to the wall.  From 1990, NZ dairy exports have grown from NZ$2.1 Billion to NZ$15.5 Billion in 2014.  That's up 738%, or an average growth rate of 8.8% per year, doubling and re-doubling in size every 8 years.

In the same time period, Canadian dairy exports went from CDN$196.5 Million to CDN$281 Million.  That's up 43%, or an average growth rate of 1.5% per year, doubling and re-doubling in size every 47 years.

Note that NZ's non-SM dairy system enjoyed 17 times greater growth than Canada's SM dairy system.  Here is the greatest cost to Canada and Canadians; the SM imposed loss of opportunity, prosperity, and jobs; punishing all Canadians so that SM farmers, just 0.05% of all Canadians, can enjoy higher profits and no competition.  The potentially available growth that Canada could have had was pissed into the wind by SM's dysfunctional thinking and actions.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Supply Management Confusion

Image result for image confusing sign
Confusion about Supply
Management kills any
hope of intelligent debate
A survey of Canadian consumers was conducted to help define preferences and trade-offs in NAFTA trade negotiations with USA who again complain about Canada's unfair Supply Management system.

In a survey by Angus Reid of 1,512 Canadians during June and July, 2017  just 4% of Canadians claim to understand a lot about Supply Management ("SM").

However, even this handful of self-proclaimed SM experts were confused about which food commodities are controlled by SM (ie. incorrectly including beef & pork under SM).

Worse, 52% of Canadians believe beef is supply managed, when it is not; and 51% of Canadians believe milk is not supply managed when in fact dairy represents about 80% of the entire system. 

Based on this confusion, any survey that shows support for SM by Canadian consumers is a misleading mirage promoted by SM snake oils salesmen who have a pay cheque to protect.

For detailed results based on knowledge of supply management and support levels, click here.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

Confusion about Supply Management kills any hope of intelligent debate

Friday, March 10, 2017

Politicians Against Supply Management

I wasn't sure if it would happen in my lifetime, but there are a growing number of politicians who are against Supply Management ("SM").

I suggest all Small Flockers, friends, and SM abolitionists should get a $15 membership in CPC and vote for Maxime Bernier.  Here is why:

Maxime Bernier is running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.  He has come out as unequivocally against SM.

In a Financial Post Op-Ed piece, Maxime explained that:
 "...Article 117 of the Conservative Party Policy Declaration affirms the party’s official support for supply management. As an MP and minister in a government that supported supply management, I was not in a position to question the party’s democratic decision, or cabinet solidarity. And so I went along with it like all my colleagues, even though I had grave misgivings about it for all these years."
He recently told the growing lobby of farmers rising up against him that he won't change his mind.

The Liberals won't change their mind either, as Ag. Minister MacAulay said on Feb. 6, 2017 in the House.  It was the Liberals who originally saddled Canadian with this SM mess.  From Confederation to the 1970’s, Canadian farmers suffered under the unfair predatory business practices of large agri-food companies, both domestic and international, while opposing lobbyists fought for the hearts and minds of procrastinating politicians.  After a growing number of unbearable crises, Bill C-176 was proposed by the Liberal government as a solution, but it became the longest debated piece of legislation in the history of Canada. In the end, two all-night sessions of parliament and a last minute amendment finally resulted in passing the bill at 6:40 AM on Dec. 31, 1971, creating Supply Management (“SM”).  SM was designed to protect Canadian farmers from predatory business practices, and end boom & bust cycles.  Unfortunately, SM has done the exact opposite.

Of course, I have tried to lend Max a hand, here, and here

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney came out 2 years ago against SM, suggesting a generous compensation package for SM farmers when it is abolished. Mulroney repeated his rally call against SM in a keynote speech on Feb. 2, 2017 in Edmonton AB.

My comment on Maxime and his anti-SM position was deleted by the censors at the Ottawa Citizen.  Here it is:
Truly, a rare bird; a politician who is against Canada's Supply Management (SM") System.  A few years ago, SM lobbyists helped arrange an unanimous vote of support in the House of Commons.  A chilling example of the power of the SM minority.

Canada's Supply Management System for chicken, turkey, eggs, and dairy is a dysfunctional, inefficient, ineffective, and mediocre tyranny imposed on 35 million Canadians by just 17,000 farmers, their paid lobbyists, and political friends.  The 17,000 SM farmers who "own" the Supply Management system are all multi-millionaires.  They became multi-millionaires by stealing away the rights and freedoms of consumers and all other non-SM farmers.

I am a Small Flock Poultry farmer (ie. I'm a non-quota, non-SM chicken farmer).  The 60,000 or so small flock poultry farmers in Canada is one group that suffers under the despotic control of the SM system for chicken, so that 2,700 SM chicken farmers (just 4.3% of all chicken farmers in Canada) can rule the roost.  I call it "Chicken Apartheid".  See our Blog for the scary details.

Under SM, Chicken Apartheid has been in Canada for more than 4 decades. SM lobbyists and their propaganda press releases say SM "protects" Canada’s family farms. However, the truth is opposite of what SM lobbyists claim.  For example, from 1966-2011 (the full reign of SM for chicken), 88% of Canada's chicken farms have disappeared. The SM chicken farms that are still here are now huge CAFO chicken factories owned by multi-millionaires.  Similarly sad statistics exist for the other 3 tentacles of the SM beast (ie. dairy, eggs, and turkey).

SM farms (dairy, chicken, turkey, eggs) are just 8% of all Canadian farms, but SM farmers are the best paid of all Canadian farmers, earning 21% more than non-SM farmers. SM farmers and their deep pockets unfairly compete against all non-SM farmers for the same limited resources in farming (eg. farmland, tractors, animal feeds, Vets, Ag. specialists, etc.).

SM is bad for all non-SM farmers.  SM is also bad for Canadian consumers.

In Dec. 2015, the Food Institute at the University of Guelph announced that food inflation in Canada is the highest in the world, topping 4.1% in 2015. It will be more of the same for the near future.  While all food prices are on the rise, the SM commodities (ie. chicken, turkey, eggs, and all dairy products) are 37% to 300% more expensive in Canada than the prices paid by most of the Western world.  The price gouging of Canadian consumers is designed into the SM system.

For example, for someone earning Ontario Minimum Wage between 1995 and 2005, the affordability of chicken dropped 31.7%.  Since chicken has historically been the cheapest meat available, if you can't afford chicken, you are forced to become a vegetarian.

Health Canada reports that 7.6% of Canadians can't afford the food they need to feed their families.  In the North, rural areas, and on First Nation reserves, as many as 63% of families have food insecurity.  For example, in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut a whole chicken sells for $80 to $90, 4 to 5 times the price paid in Toronto ON, making chicken unaffordable by most families.

Two thirds of Canadian deaths are caused or contributed to by poor diets or poor nutrition.  Getting rid of SM will help make better, more nutritious foods more affordable for all Canadians.

Now is the time to get rid of SM, before we have food riots, mass starvation, or rising epidemics of sickness.

Glenn Black, President
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada
 We will see in time if the censors at the Montreal Gazette are just as ruthless.

Our local newspaper was also concerned about the growing controversy on SM, and wrote an editorial in support of SM.  I countered with a Letter to the Editor

Max has SM farmers organizing against him by buying up memberships in all PC ridings across Canada so as to ensure Maxime doesn't win the CPC nomination.

If Canadians stay asleep throughout this leadership race, the organized SM farmers will exert an overwhelming influence, far more than they should, crushing Maxime.  All politicians of all stripes will learns an infamous lesson that going against the SM lobby is suicide.  If the SM farmers are allowed to buy the continuation of their multi-billion dollar SM boondoggle at $15 per membership, it is Canada and all Canadians who will lose.  Nobody will make that same mistake for many more decades.

You have until 5:00 PM EDST on March 28, 2017 to spend $15.00 to become a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.  The ranked ballot secret vote will be held on May 27, 2017 for all party members.

Today, SFPFC has endorsed Maxime.  Personally, I have become a member of CPC.  I intend to vote as a 1-issue candidate for Maxime.  I ask all Small Flockers and their friends to do likewise. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

New Chicken Hatchery & New Technology for Ontario

The Stratford Beacon Herald reports that a new chicken hatchery is scheduled to be constructed in Stratford Ontario, starting in May 2017, producing up to 16 millions chicks per year, starting some time in 2018.

This farmer-led partnership will use the latest technology from Europe, HatchCare providing the chicks a light, feeding and watering as soon as they hatch.  It is hoped that this will reduce the industries dependency on antibiotics.

Prior "technology" (more like Witch Doctor's Voodoo) relied upon injecting antibiotics and/or vaccinations into the eggs before they hatched, vaccinating and/or continual dosing of the parents with antibiotics and other drugs while they layed eggs for incubation.  This pseudo-science worked OK for the hatchery and the chicken factory farmer, but had significant consequences on the environment and human health; See:

Disclosure of Chicken Factory Antibiotic Use

MCR-1: Tragedy of the Commons for Antibioics in Agriculture

Organic Chicken Fraud

After Thousand of People Made Sick and many deaths, CFC finally bans use of human antibiotics in Chicken Eggs

B12 and Antibiotics for Chickens

Risk of 'Black Death' (Beubonic Plague) from Chicken Factory Antibiotic Use

and our most popular posting:   Frankenstein Chicken from Factory Farms

There are a total of 40 or so postings on his issue.  You can find them all by typing "antibiotic" in the search box in the top of the right hand column of this Blog.  If you dare read some of these posting, you may never be able to stand the revulsion of buying factory chicken again.

Dr. Blaser's best selling book Missing Microbes notes how humans are now subjected to various epidemics from the over-use of antibiotics.  He notes that this is being fought against for Caesarean births by the inoculation of the child with the mother's flora and fauna that the child misses by skipping the trip through the birth canal.

What about the baby chicks that are stolen from their parents and hatched in a sterile incubator?  Can we not avoid the majority of the disease and early death of chicks by prudent inoculation of the baby chicks with farm specific starter mix?  This would be the same as being naturally hatched under Mom and living in close proximity to her in the chick's early days.

HatchCare share some research that floor eggs (found on the barn floor instead of the nesting boxes) are more contaminated, tend to explode during incubation, and of lower average weight upon hatch.  Attempts to wash the eggs, or fog them with disinfectants don't make it much better.  If that contaminated mucous dries quickly, and the humidity is kept in he proper range, there is some (but not too much) inoculation of the egg shell, absorption through the shell and membrane, and to the chicks that eventually crawl all over the cracked shells when they hatch.  I agree that they need some of this natural inoculation, but not too much.

Note that the chicken's vent is the single opening that discharges the chickens' feces and its eggs.  The eggs are naturally coated by the feces contaminated mucous that quickly dries on the exterior of the egg.  This mucous tends to seal the pores in the egg shell, limiting the microbes that pass through the shell.  Chickens naturally share the flock's shared biome by consuming small amounts of their own feces (recycling), as well as the manure of their flock mates (cross-inoculation).  This helps ensure a homogeneous biome shared by all members of the flock.

However, the hatchery barn inoculation doesn't get them inoculated to the very different biome that exists on the farm to which those chicks are eventually sold.

A flock naturally develops a symbiotic biome of bacteria, protozoa, virii, and other microbes that is unique to its micro environment.  Inoculation with a different biome will not adequately acclimatize them for the specific destination for those chicks.

That means each farm would have to develop its own unique blend of microbes to which their chicks are inoculated.

I tried to do this for my chicks in my on-farm brooder by starting with well composted litter that was re-used from the previous flock.  CFO quoted the CFC rule book to me that assume all farmers will use antibiotics, and I soon received a non-conformance from CFO in my on-farm audit.  Presenting these theories and supporting research to CFO and CFC did no good, the rules are the rules, no exceptions, no discussion.

I was forced to remove all used litter from my brooder, immediately clean and sanitize between flocks.

Starting with clean litter, there is nothing in the CFC rule book that says I can't inoculate that new litter with some of the composted prior litter.  So that is what I now do.  As soon as the previous flock has left for the green grass pastures at 3 weeks of age, I crank up the heat to maximum, composting the old litter for 24 hours.  I save a 45 gallon drum of this composted litter, taking the rest to the compost pile.  I clean sweep and sanitize the brooder, and fill it with clean shavings.  I then sprinkle some of the old composted litter into the clean shavings, inoculating them with my farm's natural biome (approximately 0.01% old, 99.9%+ new).  I hope that this adequately inoculates the chicks with what they will eventually be exposed to when they go out to pasture.

To improve on this method (I have not yet done this step, but think I will in 2017), I suggest adding to your compost inoculant a garden rake full of green grass clippings and a shovel full of topsoil taken from your pastures (each pasture if you have more than one, or multiple samples randomly distributed over your one pasture).  Mix that with the old brooder shavings to create a hybrid biome, incubate it with the right moisture and C:N balance, and use this to inoculate your brooder.

You don't need much inoculant, as the brooder temperature and humidity will rapidly grow any microbes that are inoculated.  As the chicks grow, the concentration of the biome microbes in their liter can also grow.  You do not want to overwhelm the chick's immune system or its gut bacteria by a high concentrated dose.

With this combined biome inoculate and apple cider vinegar (with mother of vinegar if possible) in the drinking water supply, I believe you can operate without antibiotics or coccidiostats.

Please let me know what you think, your alternative methods, or ideas to further improve our small flock technology.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Selling Your Chickens

Dear Small Flockers:

We are an artisanal farmer who grew chicken last year. We still have quite a bit of chicken left that we processed in November. They were grown free range and on a vegetable based feed. They average 4.5 lbs dressed and they are frozen and whole in vacuum packaging. 

Do you know of anyone looking for free range chicken?

We are just deciding how much to grow this year. Any help would be appreciated. 

Dear Artisanal Chicken Farmer:
Thanks for contacting me.

When CFO announced the Artisanal Chicken program, I had a tough decision to make:  stay Small Flock, or become an Artisanal Chicken farmer.  Everybody told me the customers would beat a path to my door, so I applied for and was authorized to raise 3,000 chickens last year, the max. available.

I decided to do grass pastured, free range chickens as I feel this is the best opportunity, the type of chickens people want the most, people are willing to pay a premium price, and have much less competition with the commercial, factory farm chickens that are sometimes sold as a "lost leader" in grocery stores (as low as $1.49 per lb).  Statistics Canada reports the average fresh whole chicken retail price in Ontario in 2015 is $6.69/kg ($3.04/lb).  The average price for 2016 was $6.59/kg ($3.00 per lb.), down an average of 4.03% per year.

In my home town market, the historic market leader for commercial, locally grown barn raised chickens are raised and sold at $3.85/lb in 2016.  I decided to sell our chickens at $4.50/lb, then backed off to $3.85/lb for fresh, never frozen (only available the 2 days after we go to the abattoir).  I now sell frozen chickens at $4.50/lb due to the higher cost to freeze and store them long term.  In Ottawa, they sell grass pastured whole chickens at $6.00/lb. in retail stores.

When I ask other Artisanal Chicken farmers: "Is it tougher to grow them, or sell them?", everybody agrees selling is the tougher nut to crack.

Unfortunately, I too have many chickens raised in 2016 that I still need to sell.  When I calculate that my first flock was available to sell in June 2016, and the last was November 2016, and my next flock thereafter will only be ready in June 2017, so there is a 7 month hibernation when frozen chicken must supply the local demand.  At the rate of sale from June to Nov. 2016, if I project that same rate for the 7 months of winter 2016-2017, I come very close to 3,000 chickens total that will be sold.  That calculation suggest that my freezers will run empty just as the first flock of 2017 is ready to go to the abattoir.  Therefore, maybe I shouldn't worry.

However, projections to the future are very inaccurate.  Rather than trust in this bare hope for the future, I suggest a proactive approach.

Here are some ideas to get your Artisanal chickens sold (* marks the ones I have personally done or tried to do for my farm):
  1. * Local radio station spot ads
  2. * Google Adwords ads
  3. * Internet website
  4. * Internet Blog postings (daily or weekly)
  5. * Facebook
  6. * Twitter
  7. * Local newspaper ads
  8. * Letters to Editor for local newspaper
  9. Op-Ed article in local newspaper
  10. * Year-round "farmers markets".
  11. * Local seasonal Farmer's Markets and other rural markets
  12. * Local butcher shops
  13. * Convenience stores
  14. * Local restaurants
  15. * Local hotel restaurants & conference centres
  16. Banquet halls
  17. * Catering companies
  18. * Grocery Stores
  19. Wedding planners and their clients
  20. * Abattoirs that have retail/wholesale meat shops attached thereto
  21. * Meat wholesalers
  22. * Halal community (must be decided before abattoir, and killed in conformity thereto)
  23. * Kosher community (must be decided before abattoir, and killed in conformity thereto; much more demanding than Halal, needs Kosher certification by COR or equivalent)
  24. * On-line Internet Marketing
  25. * CSA (Community Support Agriculture)
  26. * Food Hubs
  27. * Organic food stores
  28. * Local food stores
  29. Farmer Co-ops
  30. Community presentations at local halls where you invite the public to learn about sustainable farming, then sample your roasted chicken, and can place an order
  31. * Partner with a local appliance store for a 10%+ discount for your customers to buy a freezer to store their own food, then fill it with your produce.
  32. Home food delivery route
  33. Buy a used propane fired convection oven, put it in an enclosed utility trailer, find a grid of sites (every compass point) around your farm where you can go to sell roast chicken (whole roasted chicken to take home, or 1/4 chicken dinners for one person), advertise that you will be at that site on a regular basis arranged in a sequence that doesn't rob customers today from where you will be next time.  Start small so you are sure to sell out, or you can eat your unsold product excess (or sell it as frozen cubed chicken pieces for chicken Caesar salads or stir frys).  Record the time of each sale.  As soon as you sell out, leave a sign that late arriving customers know they missed out, call this # to reserve a chicken for next week, and head home with your cash.  Based on your sale rate, estimate how many chickens you can sell in a reasonable time on location.
  34. Food truck selling quarter chicken dinners at local fairs, hockey tournaments, and other events.
  35. * Canada Post flyer advertising a chicken sale with the coupon flyer
  36. * Enter your info for free into SFPFC's chicken farmer database, so customers can easily find you (see )
  37. Other
Perhaps Arisanal Chicken Farmers (and/or Small Flock Chicken Farmers) can work co-operatively on solving this marketing challenge.

I ask everybody, Small Flockers and Artisanal Chicken Farmers, to use the comments section below to share their favorite sales & marketing method, or comment on the above.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Arsenic in Canadian Chicken, Round 2

It has been 4.5 years since Canada banned farmers from adding poisonous arsenic to their chicken feed.  Arsenic addition was primarily done by CAFO factory farms of the Supply Management Overlords (ie. The Chicken Mafia) to artificially increase their profits and reduce their personal risk..

I have previously made many posts and inquiries of government authorities about this barbaric practice of adding a known carcinogen and acute poison to feed animals that will eventually become human food (see Arsenic In Canada's Chicken ).

On Nov. 8, 2013 I emailed a number of questions to Health Canada about their surveillance of CAFO chicken to ensure that CAFO chicken farmers actually implemented the arsenic ban, versus ignored it and continued with their evil practice as if the ban didn't exist.

I never got a response from Health Canada, in spite of a few reminders.

I received a comment a while ago on my previous Blog postings about arsenic, asking if there has been any update.  I decided to try once more to get some straight answers out of Health Canada.  Perhaps with the new Liberal Government under Justin, Health Canada would be more inclined to answer.

Therefore, I copied the Nov. 8, 2013 email and sent it off again to Health Canada's Veterinarian Drug Directorate ("VDD") who is in charge of these things.

So far, I have received VDD's apology for their tardiness in answering the 2013 email.  Good first step.  I was told the answering of the email has been assigned to one or more of VDD's "experts".

Agri007 picked up on my renewed effort to get arsenic answers.  This cross posting prompted some additional questions about the arcane historic practice of arsenic additions to chicken feed:

  1. Has there been any anecdotal evidence, or formal scientific study that Canadians arsenic loading (ie. food, air, dermal, or water born arsenic intake) has been affected because of the arsenic ban?  Is a study of this issue planned in the future?  If not, why not?

  2. Has there been any anecdotal evidence, or formal scientific study that Canadian human health has been affected (pro or con) because of the arsenic ban?  Is a study of this issue planned in the future?  If not, why not?

  3. Has there been any anecdotal evidence, or formal study of the health status of CAFO chicken flocks (ie. farms that previously used arsenic in the feed) has been affected by the arsenic ban? Is a study of this issue planned in the future?  If not, why not?

Stay tuned.  It will be interesting to see if there is a "Trudeau II" effect on openness, transparency, and accountability by the Federal Government.

Any bets?