Sunday, October 13, 2013

Quota-based Chicken Farmer Speaks Out

We have been honored to have a quota-based chicken farmer post a comment to this rag torn Blog here.

I assume that not everybody would find that comment, so I have re-posted it here, as well as my response to it.

I have been patiently waiting 8 months for dialogue on these important issues.  It has finally started.  I encourage more of the same.  With dialogue, there is hope to make things better.

This comment was in response to Sean McGivern stating that he doesn't recognize CFO's authority, and he would be raising more than the 300 bird limit that CFO has unilaterally imposed on Small Flockers.

Here is Mr. Rod McLean's response to that Blog posting:

To Sean McGivern:
It's obvious you weren't around in the pre marketing board days. You don't know what it's like to sell chickens at a loss or what it's like to grow chickens for nine weeks and have a processor tell you he can't take your chickens at the previously agreed price. We have been growing chickens since nineteen fifty two and know what it's like to lose twenty five hundred dollars on a crop and not be able to pay your bills. If it wasn't for the wisdom of former Ontario Agric Minister Bill Stewart and people like Eugene Whalen and many others we wouldn't have marketing boards and it wouldn't be worthwhile for you to grow any chickens because you would be selling at a loss. You appear to be the tools of big business such as Tyson foods and KFC and retailers. If you succeed in destroying our marketing boards you will impoverish your fellow farmers, Canadian agriculture, and open the border to foreign food dependency. To extend your logic why don't you ask your farmer neighbour to share with you at no cost some of his land. It's only fair that he should not control that land and prevent you from using a small portion just because he paid for it. Also why don't you ask the guys in GM in Oshawa to share some of their union controlled higher wages with you. You should also have part of teachers union controlled salaries. It's not fair that you should be excluded. In reality all you'll be doing is hurting your fellow farmers. Be like the rest of us and earn it instead of taking from those that have spent their lives earning it. We also grow chickens under strict sanitation and disease control measures which requires constant monitoring, cleaning and auditing. This requires considerable record keeping and reporting. Thank you. Rod McLean
Here is my response to Mr. Rod McLean's comments:

Thank-you very much for fully expressing your ideas. Sean McGivern, to whom you address your comments, is equally welcome to post his comments here too.

I hope it is OK for me to post my comments as well.

I assume from your post that you are an active quota-bearing chicken farmer, part of the chicken Supply Management ("SM") system. I am glad to have you here so we can have some fruitful discussions between the two sides of the same coin.

I assume and accept that you and your family are hard working farmers, and that you have a great amount of your time and money invested in your chicken farm. It's only natural that you want to minimize the risks to your life and livelihood, and you see Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada ("SFPFC") as a growing threat.

I encourage you to read SFPFC's Mission, Vision, and Principles here: I believe you will find many things there that both SFPFC and quota-bearing farmers like yourself can share and agree upon. I would be interested in hearing your side of anything there that you find objectionable. Perhaps there is something you can suggest to add, or change the wording on.

I don't think anybody wants to go back to the 1950's, nor the boom-bust cycles similar to what the pork industry is currently suffering through. I assume that Supply Management was the best available solution at the time it was created. However, like the glow-in-the-dark fish in the waters off the crippled Fukishima nuclear power plant in Japan, in the last 50 years Supply Management has mutated into some awful Godzilla-like creature that eats people alive.

There are viable win-win-win alternatives. Nobody credible wants the win-lose of no marketing board and dismantling the lives of all quota-bearing chicken farmers, nor do they want the continuation of the Chicken Mafia tyranny of today.

I for one, am willing to work with anybody who is willing to listen to all sides of the issue, listen to all stakeholders, and help craft a solution that works for everybody.

I started this quest by asking for explanations and request to improve the Canadian chicken system. I received 100% rejection and/or stonewalling (ie. refusing to answer my civil questions) from the Ontario government, Federal Government, Chicken Farmers of Ontario, and Chicken Farmers of Canada.

After more than 6 attempts on my part with nothing but denial and stonewalling in response, I had to decide on one of two available options:

A) Drop it, and accept what the "powers that be" 1% minority had decided for themselves and everybody else in Canada (the other 99% of citizens); or

B) Choose to object, and fight for what I believed was in the best interest of all; the greater good.

As you now know, I chose "B".

SInce then, I have expressed growing concern about how this situation is becoming more and more polarized. The "Chicken Mafia" still refuses to talk. They have the lid screwed on tight to their chicken pot. There is a lot of heat on that pot, not just from SFPFC, but from everywhere all across Canada. Witness local food movements, animal rights movements against battery cages, organic pasture raised chickens, right to food movements, poverty groups, social justice groups, church groups, sub-therapeutic drug usage protesters, and many more. SFPFC has been adding lots of heat too. I assume that heat is what brought you here today.

With the burner on high, and the lid screwed down tight, the pressure inside the pot is rising exponentially fast. The pot is only so strong. Soon, if nothing changes, the lid will blow off, and there will be much damage, and many people will be hurt.

Does that mean that all of the above dissidents need to back off, turn off the burner, and let the Chicken Mafia continue in their total control of the chicken system and their unfair treatment of Small Flockers and the public in general?

I don't think so. I have been at this quest for 8 months now. I for one, am not going to quit until I die, or significant improvements are made to the chicken supply management system. I probably have another 20 years left of my life. If that is what it takes, so be it. Eventually, I believe there will be either the total destruction of the SM system, or significant changes for the better. It won't be me who ends up making the decision as to which option occurs. Perhaps nobody will make a decision, and things will just spiral out of control into total chaos. Good luck to us all if that is allowed to occur by default.

However, you, and other quota-bearing chicken farmers can decide that, or significantly influence that decision.

Do you support CFO and CFC to continue to deny, stonewall, and oppress? If yes, I believe that maximizes the risk for you, me, all other quota-bearing chicken farmers, Small Flockers, and the public in general.

Do you choose to make your voice heard here, and to CFO and CFC? Do you encourage all other stakeholder that discussions need to occur, and changes to the system need to be contemplated so it is better and sustainable for all?

This evolving situation will not continue in its current state much longer. Before the pot blows itself up into deadly shrapnel, I encourage you to decide what is in your best interest, talk to other quota-bearing chicken farmers, talk to Small Flockers, and let's get this problem resolved.

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

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Off-topic commercial spam that's posted so as to help sell your wares will be deleted.

On-topic comments, where you behave yourself and play nicely, will remain posted; whether they are pro or con. Everybody needs to fully understand all points of view so that we can find a solution that encompasses everybody's concerns. Give it your best shot.

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Before posting, please proofread, and correct as necessary. If you subsequently discover a need to fix your previous posting, make an additional posting that refers to the original posting, then set the record straight.