Chicken Farmers of Ontario rolled out yet another program to address consumer demand for special chicken products, the third new program this year.
It's now obvious that the board is serious about meeting market demand. I've been critical of the board for decades, but now coming to realize that its future depends on satisfying customers.
The board says this one will ‘help fill evolving consumer demand for local Ontario chicken in niche markets and support smaller-scale commercial farmers looking for more growing options.”
It will, however, be open only to quota holders with between 1,000 and 10,000 units. That means the program is for farmers who have quota worth more than $250,000.
While that may seem greedy, it is, in fact, practical in that these are the farmers who have serious investments in the business.
The board says on its website that "the Local Niche Markets Program will allow chicken farmers to grow between 6,000 and 60,000 chickens annually targeted at a well-defined discrete and distinct local market through various means including geographic identification, marketing channels, products, brands, and/or business approaches."
For those not in the new programs, the current minimum number of production quotas units required to begin commercial chicken farming in Ontario is 14,000.
The Local Niche Markets program is intended to support those consumer markets in Ontario which are looking for new ways to access larger volumes of locally or regionally grown chicken, the board says;
"Our goal is to continue to ensure that evolving markets of all kinds are supported by well designed and well-regulated programs that are flexible enough to meet the ever changing needs of both Ontario farmers and consumers," said board chairman Henry Zantingh.
“CFO continues to find new ways to respond to and support our Ontario consumers," said Rob Dougans, president and chief executive officer of the chicken board.
The Local Niche Markets Program fits between the Artisanal Chicken program, through which farmers can grow between 600 and 3000 birds per year without holding quota, and the new program open only to quota holders.
Production rights for the new growth programs will be supplied from a percentage of the future growth allocated to the Ontario market by the national Chicken Farmers of Canada agency.
The board also allows quota anybody, including quota holders, to grow birds to feed their family and recently introduced a Specialty Breeds Chicken Program, mainly aimed at filling demand from Asians living in Canada.
In addition to the Local Niche Markets Program the CFO Board also announced that it has revised its New Entrant Farmer and New Entrant Processor programs so both have more opportunity to take advantage of this new niche-markets program.