Thursday, July 30, 2015

Caveat Emptor of Artisanal Chicken

I have already thanked Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") for allowing this opportunity of Artisanal Chicken to come forward, but all Small Flockers need prudence, perform due diligence, and excercise caution for CFO's Artisanal Chicken Program.

How much of an opportunity it really is will eventually be learned down the road.  On that basis, I worked till 2:00 AM to read everything CFO disclosed on this program, then submitted my Artisanal Chicken application with trust and hope stretched to the limit.

I'm in the queue line, but I can always leave the lineup later on and remain a Small Flocker under the "Family Food" exemption as we slowly learn what is behind the door we have applied to enter.  I suggest all Small Flockers should consider this cautionary, tentative plan with a clear exit strategy.

When a fox invites a Small Flock rooster to come to the fox's den for dinner, it is prudent to ask what's on the menu before accepting the dinner invitation.

For example, CFO has dangled the carrot that the Artisanal Chicken program will be allocated 5% of the chicken market growth that CFO achieved the previous year.

What CFO doesn't say is that 95% of the growth automatically goes to the kits of Mama Fox.  CFO also doesn't disclose what happens if there is no growth in the previous year.

No quota growth could happen due to weather, economic recession, Bird Flu, rogue CAFO chicken farmers or processors who get caught by animal rights activists or CFIA food inspectors, a fight at the Chicken Farmers of Canada Board where 6 out of the 10 provinces vote to refuse Ontario any quota increase, or a hundred of other reasons.

With no quota growth, CFO's allocation to Artisanal Chicken goes to zero (ie. 5% of zero equals zero), and Small Flockers who made the investment into Artisanal Chicken are summarily executed.  The following year, the door to the fox's den is opened again, the welcome mat is put out, and the fox awaits the next group of Small Flockers to blindly trust & enter.

That may not be the intention of CFO, but it is a reasonable interpretation of what CFO has said so far, and requires some clarification by CFO for prudent Small Flockers before they enter the fox's den.

Unfortunately, this is just one of dozens of other risks that the Artisanal Chicken program currently contains.

Caveat Emptor ("let the buyer beware")

Glenn Black, President
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

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