Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Artisinal chicken program succeeding

The leadership of the Ontario chicken marketing board is impressed by the success of its artisanal chicken program that enables people without quota to develop new markets.

About half of the 100 people approved for the program turned out recently for the board’s first workshop for these farmers.

“We are extremely pleased with how effective this program has been in both attracting a large number of very engaged and innovative new farmers to the chicken sector while also addressing the emerging consumer demand for artisanal chicken," said chairman Henry Zantingh of the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board.

“CFO looks forward to continue working with farmers across Ontario  to build this market even further in coming years," he said.

President and chief executive officer Rob Dougans says “the Artisanal Chicken Program was successful right from the start because of the passion and dedication of the farmers themselves.

“Artisanal chicken farmers have demonstrated tremendous ingenuity and entrepreneurship in finding and building new markets across the province and we look forward to sharing their stories as the program evolves,” he said.

But it was a major about-face for chicken board politics when it approved this and several other programs that open the door to increased production to address specific and niche markets.

In fact, the board fought hard against those who lobbied for an increase in the number of chickens people could raise without having to buy expensive quota or the relatively high volume the board set as a minimum number for entrants.

Glenn Black of Providence Bay was outspoken, articulate and a burr under the saddle of the chicken board establishment as he relentlessly researched the industry, board policies and pointed to unserved and under-served markets.

He has fallen silent on his blog for small flockers since he was accepted under the artisanal chicken farmer program.

There is another program for special breeds – Silkies and Frey’s Hatchery dual purpose birds – and a program for entrants into chicken processing.

Ontario’s board began opening the market after it won approval from the national agency to gain more production rights whenever the national allocation is increased.

That national-agency policy is operating under a memorandum of understanding and has yet to receive official approval from all those involved.