Friday, September 5, 2014

Tribunal revives chicken hearing

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal has revived the hearing into chicken board’s specialty-markets policy.

The hearing is scheduled to resume Sept. 15 and the tribunal has added Sept. 16.

The Ontario independent Poultry Processors Association launched the appeal earlier this summer, but the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board and the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors argued that it was premature because the specialty-markets policy might be withdrawn or, if not, then substantially changed.

They said that would happen soon.

In fact, nothing has changed since the tribunal adjourned the case in July.

The small-volume independent processors want the policy implemented so they can source chicken to supply specialty and niche markets.

The larger-volume processors who are members of the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors don’t want to give up any of the chicken supplies they enjoy so the smaller companies can develop and serve new markets. The AOCP says the extra chickens required should be allocated to Ontario by the national agency, the Chicken Farmers of Canada.

Other than a tiny trial involving special breeds, the national agency has refused to grant Ontario those extra rights to increase production.

The Ontario chicken board is also taking another look at its policy of dividing the production rights it is assigned by the national agency to licenced chicken processors.

It began that allocation policy to try to stop the processors from bidding chicken prices higher than the minimums set by the board.

Under supply management, marketing boards are supposed to charge no more than enough to cover production costs and a reasonable return on investment and management.