Thursday, March 19, 2015

Small flockers want say in commission review

Glenn Black of Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada has written to Geri Kamenz, chairman of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, welcoming his comments about re-opening negotiations on chicken pricing.

Kamenz has said the commission will consider a request from the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board to re-open negotiations and, if the commission agrees, then it will hold another round of negotiations.

Black invites Kamenz to add a third party representing Ontario consumers to the negotiations between the marketing board and the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors.

He also suggests that if the three fail to reach agreement, they ought to each present a final offer and the commission ought to choose one of those three.

If the commission agrees, it would be the first time the public would have a direct voice on marketing board regulations and policies.

The marketing board has complained about a new pricing formula, citing concerns about the valuation of assets, farm-level contributions to efficiency gains and other issues, The underlying aim of the marketing board is to lessen the price-reducing impact of the new formula.

Prices for current production have been cut by 5.1 cents per kilogram in this formula compared with the previous one.

Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada, operating mainly on initiatives from Black, has been pressing for an increase in the volume of chicken a person can raise without requiring an investment of about $1 million for quota.

Black is asking for the maximum to be increased from 300 birds per year now to 2,000.

He has argued this will benefit farmers, the local food movement, the pursuit of increased employment, the nutritional value of chicken that would be raised on pasture and offer consumers more choices among a greater variety of production and processing protocols.

The chicken board has been adamantly opposed to the request for an increase.