Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ontario chicken price irks B.C.

British Columbia says it won’t sign a new national production agreement unless Ontario changes the way it prices chicken.

Under the new allocation agreement, Ontario will gain a larger share of production increases than it’s existing percentage of the national pie.

But British Columbia says that under a new pricing system imposed on the Ontario chicken board by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, prices come down when production goes up.

That, says British Columbia’s chicken board chairman Robin Smith, means B.C. chicken prices will be influenced by Ontario.

Most provinces, including B.C., follow the pricing lead of Ontario.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan chicken boards are also appealing the new national chicken allocation agreement.

Ontario has complained since the beginning of supply management that it has not been allowed to produce enough chicken to meet local demand.

That demand includes some processors who have national markets for their production – eg. to supply nuggets for McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

David Janzen, chairman of the Canadian Chicken Marketing Agency and a producer at Chilliwack, B.C., said the timing of Ontario’s pricing change “couldn’t have been worse.”

He made the comment to reporter David Schmidt of Country Life in B.C. newspaper.

Chicken farmers are proving once again that they do not deserve the trust the public and politicians have placed in them to run supply management.