Wednesday, July 29, 2015

3000 chickens for Ontario's Small Flockers

As startling as it may sound, Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") just posted on their website (as of late yesterday Jul 28, 2015) the Artisan Chicken Program, where Small Flockers in Ontario will be able to raise between 600 to 3,000 chickens per year for select target markets such as retail customers, restaurants, or local farmer markets.  Small Flock Exemption for 1 to 300 birds per year will be re-labeled as Family Food program and continue as before.

"Play fair, be prepared for others to play dirty, and don't let
them drag you into the mud.
"   Richard Branson, (1950 - ),
English businessman and investor. He is best known as the
founder of Virgin Group, which comprises more
than 400 companies
First, let us count our blessings and give thanks.  I have already sent an email to Michael Edmonds, CFO's Director of Communications and Government Relations, saying:

"Thank-you for bringing this program for all of Ontario's small flock poultry farmers, and the people of Ontario who want and need safe, nutritious, affordable, and locally produced chicken."

You can email or phone Michael too:   Email Michael   Phone: (289).288.4223

I and SFPFC has been lobbying on behalf of Small Flockers and all Canadians for 3 years, others have been at it for far longer. We sought, in addition to other pleas for relief, for raising our Small Flocker exemption from 300 to 2,000 birds per year, but we ended up getting 3,000 birds per year. 

How's that for results!

Small Flockers who are happy in their personal niche sub-300 birds per year can stay there, undisturbed.  Perfect!

CFO passed CFO By-law 212-2015 for Artisanal Chicken as of July 28, 2015.
CFO Applications for Artisan Chicken forms must be submitted prior to Friday September 4, 2015. 
Applications will be considered in the order in which they are received, until the allocation available in any year is reached.

That means first come, first served.  I informed all SFPFC members of the good news at Tuesday July 28, 2015 at 7:52 PM, then I started filling out my application form for 3,000 birds, which I submitted to CFO at 9:44 PM Tuesday.  Fair is fair.

Get your application submitted ASAP.  Snooze, you lose.

CFO said, "The available allocation for Artisan Chicken will be 5% of the previous year’s growth."  When they say "growth", do they mean the total allocated quota received from Chicken Farmers of Canada ("CFC")?  If not, does that mean that if Ontario's chicken consumption enters 0% growth for some year for whatever reason, the Artisan Chicken Program will come to an end the next year?  That doesn't seem fair, nor reasonable.  I wonder what CFO really meant to say?

Applications will be processed and initial premises inspections conducted between September 2015 and November 2015. There is no set number of farmers that will accepted into the new program.  Successful applicants will be informed in early December 2015.

CFO said, "Chicken grown under this Policy is not to be marketed for home consumption."

Elsewhere, CFO said,
"The chicken grown under the Artisanal Chicken program and Local Niche Markets program will be counted against Ontario’s national allocation as set out by Chicken Farmers of Canada. Chicken grown under the Family Food program (previously the Small Flock Program) is exempt from the national allocation system as it is intended for home consumption and not considered commercial product."
It seems CFO has now defined (or always defined) that small flock farm gate chicken sales are not "commercial".  Good to know, all yea Small Flockers.  That CFC-CFO definition may come in handy down the road.

CFO said, "Artisanal chicken marketed under this program must be marketed at a price not less than the Minimum Live Price determined under Ontario Regulation 402"  The current minimum live price is $1.563/kg for a 2 kg bird.  Assuming 0.68 kg eviscerated per kg of live weight, that is equivalent to $2.30/kg of eviscerated meat ($5.06/lb.).

CFO said, "CFO has established an Annual Production Licence Fee of 20¢ per quality chick placed. CFO and CFC fees and levies are also payable at 3.6¢ and 1.2¢ per chick respectively. These are payable when the license is issued."

The total is $0.248 per chick placed.  Assuming a 5% chick mortality, the chick placing fee becomes $0.26 per live bird sent to slaughter, or $0.13/kg live, or $0.19/kg of eviscerated meat.  Assuming 1.5% of all birds slaughtered are condemned (unfit for food), that fee becomes $0.194/kg ( $0.427/lb) of eviscerated meat that can be sold.

CFO said, "Overproduction above 5% will result in a financial penalty of $1.00 /bird and impact consideration of future licences."

CFO also said they have plans for a "Local Niche Markets Program.  This program offers interested farmers the opportunity to support those larger niche or regional markets of 6,000 chickens or more per year. This is an application and quota based program.  More details on this program will be announced at a later date."

I found it very interesting that the CFO By-law calls for an "Artisanal Chicken Abattoir".

Obviously, there are many more questions that must be found, expressed to CFO, and that must be answered eventually.

There are some SM quota people who are organic, and who do pastured poultry.  We now have, or will get the express, included right to pastured poultry too; if not now, then soon.  It may take some more "discussions".  I plan to, and hope CFO will be willing to work co-operatively with us.

For some Small Flockers contemplating what to do, the added bureaucracy, paperwork, arbitrary and conflicting and contradictory and ambiguous statements and requirements by CFO under Artisanal Chicken may cause bewilderment, stress, and fear.  The "interesting" requirements of CFO's fine print include:
  • On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program ("OFFSAP") compliance (including HACCP, risk management, and biosecurity);
  • On-farm audits, planned and surprise
  • Animal Care Program compliance;
  • Farm Worker Safety Program compliance
  • CFO's Infectious Poultry Disease Isolation Policy compliance
  • CFO's Digital Communication and Transactions Regulation compliance
  • Licence Fees, Levies, Service Charges and Penalties Regulation compliance
  • Artisanal chicken farmers will be active partners in growing the Artisanal Chicken Business Community by funding community development  and program related costs [SFPFC: more overhead costs]
  •  Produce birds with a reference weight of 2.225 kilogram live weight [SFPFC:   it is unclear what happens if our Artisanal customers want different weights of birds than CFO's "reference weight"]
  • CFO may take similar action against every other artisanal chicken business community partner(s)who has been a party with an artisanal chicken farmer to any growing and marketing of artisanal chicken contrary to this Policy [SFPFC:   guilt by association, how far will the witch hunt go?]
Perhaps SFPFC can play a role to develop templates that will fit most Small Flockers who apply under Artisanal Chicken.  This could be done on a cost shared basis for SFPFC members, saving everybody time & money.

We have until 2016 to get all our ducks in a row.

We can do it if we all work together.

1 comment:

  1. "...$0.194/kg ( $0.427/lb) of eviscerated meat that can be sold."
    s/b 0.194/2.2 = 0.09 / lbs


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