Egg farmers pledge 12,000 to Ontario’s food banks

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I have read this story a few times, and I just can't seem to find where there is any donation actually taking place. If anything, it appears to me that the egg farmers are cleverly donating to their own pockets, in advertising form, not the food banks. Raube Beuerman

I am still waiting for the Small Flocks pledge to the food banks.

This time the messenger needed to be shot because he/she is spouting supply management propaganda like he/she worked for SM5.

The worst part about his/her so-called "opinion" is the conjecture, completely unsupported by either economic or business principles, that lowering the farm gate price of eggs won't lower the retail price of eggs. This claim is complete nonsense, in part, because for it to be true, it has to work in both directions.

For example, nobody can claim that an increase in the farm gate price doesn't affect retail prices - that's what supply management is all about. Supply managed farmers do, but the proof is, if nothing else, evidenced by cross-border shoppers, and for dairy, reduced demand because the price is too high.

Therefore, for the equation to be balanced, what increases when the farm gate price increases, must decrease when the farm gate price lowers.

Unfortunately, when it comes right down to it, this conjecture about never-declining retail price, is about the only "arrow" supply management supporters really have, and even a child could see through it.

Finally, the writer of this pro-supply management propaganda would automatically fail any economics and/or ag marketing course I have ever taken, or taught - and there's no reason why this sort of economic gibberish and out-right falsehoods should be shown any courtesy anywhere.

I have treated this posting with the disdain and outrage it deserves - it sucks, and the writer deserves to be pilloried because he/she is still advocating a system which screws both consumers and other farmers.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

This reminds me of the who's right argument that a buddy was having with his wife one day . My advice to him was some times you know your right but you just let them win . Sort of like a bully in a school yard .

So your reason for being right is what you were taught and did teach . Did you ever think you did tell and were told wrong ?
But to in the end all things work out . All you have to do is think a little . It really seams that in all of your arguments you could be a woman . Always right even if wrong !

seriously editors why do you let this know it all continue with his childish bullying. we try to teach our kids to treat others with respect and we have a grown man feeling justified in bulling and bragging about it.

this "Better Farming " forum is being run by a few posters.....they are probably the editors as well.
Stephen/Glenn/Sean/R Guy are the only ones who post here
G Kimble

As usual, this bitter little group is not interested in cogent debate or honest discussion. This is not Better Farming's fault.

Look at all the personal attacks, bullying tactics and the extensive range of formal and informal logical fallacies that they try to pose as "arguments". There is no value here. It is actually quite sad, but no accident, that the forum for a real good news story - farmers giving to food banks - has been hijacked by this bitter little band.

So perhaps it is time to ignore their noise in all these forums because, as a wise man once said -- If you get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man, he will drag you done to his level and then beat you with experience!

So let's leave the four small people alone to rant in an empty room.

And let's remember in the future.

In basic economics, protectionism in the form of 200% tariff barriers is always bad for consumers, always bad for the economy, and in the case of supply mnagement, always bad for other farmers.

There is no need for debate, or even discussion - those who defend protectionism are either zealots, or poorly educated, or both.

Those who offer "proof" of things which defy both basic economics and common sense deserve to be ridiculed because they are simply being pedantic, obtuse, and/or incredibly oblivious to reality.

For example, even after the Dairy Farmers of Ontario published data in late 2010 showing that the farm gate price of milk in Ontario was within pennies per liter of the US retail price, supply management supporters on this site claim it is "fact" that lowering the farm gate price won't reduce the retail price - these supply management supporters deserve to be ridiculed and pilloried within an inch of their lives for stupidity above and the call of human possibility.

As I see it, the rants always come from supply management supporters because they have nothing else. According to their "logic" it is OK for supply management to be bullies to over 30 million consumers, and to other farmers, but when somebody verbally does to them what they believe is their right to do to the wallets of others, they turn into cry-babies.

When supply management stops bullying consumers, and when supply management stops being financial bullies in the farm community, then, and only then, will the supply management bullies and cry-babies be able to see, and deal with, how they are seen by others.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Our local food bank has seen a 75% increase in usage during the last 3 years. That's an average increase of 20.5% per year. Eggs are Mother Nature's vitamin pill, so a very healthy choice. However, exactly how many eggs do they plan to donate?

As an alternative, how about petitioning the Federal Government to do away with the huge import tariff on eggs, so that all Canadians can afford to buy eggs?

I think that would be the better solution in the short term and long run.

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

We are tied with the US for having the most affordable food in the world and you want to blame egg farmers for people needing to use food banks???
Sorry readers....Queue the next irrational anti-supply management rant in an empty room.

Egg farmers are part of the cartel which, thanks to 200% tariff barriers, gets to rip of Canadian consumers, and all else being equal, contributes to the need for food banks in Canada.

My observations aren't a rant, and aren't irrational - supply management does screw consumers, and, therefore, all else being equal, does contribute to their need to use food banks.

The only thing I might be "ranting" about is the continued obtuseness on the part of supply management supporters when it comes to admitting that supply management does screw consumers and other farmers - all the more reason why supply management is not well-liked, and will not be missed.

The really good thing about all of this is that, based on the private responses I get to my postings on this site, most readers aren't stupid enough to believe you, and don't.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So the higher the price of pork and beef go the more people will use food banks also because they can not afford to buy pork and beef in the grocery store . All while beef and pork donate to food banks . Sounds like the same as SM to me .

Beef and pork farmers didn't deliberately form a cartel to hide behind 200% tariff barriers for the sole purpose of gouging consumers.

In addition, beef and pork farmers aren't being hypocrites because they didn't deliberately create the high retail prices for their products in the first place.

No matter how much supply management supporters twist and distort the truth, they're the bad guys in this, and every other scenario involving fairness in primary agriculture.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Chicken is looking pretty good at the meat counters these days.

Beef and Pork farmers didn't create low prices in the past either but that is just the problem.You would think with this latest scenario being played out in both the US and Canada that someone in the two sectors would get clued in to what supply management really means but they won't!
The US dairy people seem to have figured it out with their Margin Protection Program..of course its not a subsidy!

Supply management means screwing consumers all of the time, and screwing other farmers all of the time, but Canadian dairy and poultry farmers are so greedy, and so self-centered, they won't ever "get clued in" to the basic economic truth that supply management is net-negative when it comes to jobs, economic activity, and social responsibility.

All the more reason why supply management is not well-liked, and will not be missed.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So lets blame those who set a made in Canada price for a product sold in Canada at a cost relative to a true Canadian COP . I am not saying I agree with the pricing of the product but there is a higher cost to any thing here in Canada than many other places around the world . Price farm equipment , equipment parts and car parts here and south of the border .
If other sectors are keen to produce at a global price then they need to accept the global price and the price swings that go with it . They should not be looking for hand outs and buy outs when they can't compete .

The provincial Buy Local push is nothing more than a spin on the SM structure of doing business . Produce it here and pay a premium price for it .

You state that the high price of SM foods is due to the high input costs paid by Canadian farmers. Is it the major reason, or a just a distraction from the true root cause?

To find out, lets take a look at growing chicken meat birds, the case that I have done the most research on.

CFO states that 60% of the cost of raising meat birds is the cost of feed. Since that is the majority of the cost (almost 2/3 of the total cost), it's a good place to start.

Up until August 2013, CFO swore up and down that it took 2 kg of chicken feed to put 1 kg of meat onto the chicken. Quota chicken farmers swore that this was just a reasonable COP (Cost of Production), which was their birthright under SM.

Back on March 13, 2013 I Blogged about this bogus and extremely high FCR that CFO was charging, and described how the Canadian Supply Management System has allowed Canadian SM chicken farmers to become "fat dumb & happy" for a very long time. Compared to other countries, Canadian farmers and processors have lost our competitive edge long ago.

For example, New Zealand chicken farmers have a FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio) as low as 1.38 (see news article about Tegel Poultry from 2012/09/06 at ).

In Aug. 2013, Ontario's Farm Product Marketing Commission ordered CFO to reduce the FCR charged to 1.72 because CFO had been enjoying a bogus 16.3% premium for the previous 10 years.

When we compare Tegal in New Zealand to Ontario chicken farmers, Ontario is 24.6% less efficient on FCR. That FCR factor is totally within the control of Canada's SM system (eggs, hatcheries, and growers are all within SM).

Since feed is 60% of total cost, if we assume that the other costs are the same, that becomes a 14.76% higher farmer gate price for chicken in Ontario just because of this one factor.

Unfortunately, Ontario chicken farmers have become a disaster in just about every other way too.

The longer SM is in place, the more fossilized Ontario's quota-based chicken farmers become, and the more the consumer is forced to pay to keep them alive as they sink into the mud deeper and deeper.

I therefore conclude that it is the quota-based chicken farmers who have shot themselves in the foot. Unfortunately, the chicken processors, riding on the coat tails of the SM system who have similar but different problems; all of which the consumer is forced to pay for.

Is it the same for turkeys, pullets, eggs, and dairy? Most likely, but I will leave that to others to confirm and report.

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

Did you also do a comparison of the feed it's self or just look at rate of gain with out knowng what the feed total make up was ? That in it's self would make a huge difference .

Tegal (New Zealand) credits their 24.6% FCR advantage over Canadian chicken farmers to have been achieved through better genetics, and customized feed formulations. Both of these improvements took years of research and on-farm trials to slowly perfect and continuously improve.

In other words, hard work.

The alternative to hard work is to declare "Divine Rights of Kings", crown yourself "King of the Chicken", issue a Fiat Proclamation Writ that you have 100% monopoly on market share from now on in your kingdom, and can set your chicken price as you please. Welcome to Canada!

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

Now that you have confirmed my thought on your apple to grape fruit example it is right to say your research is flawed .
I don't dispute the diference in genetics part as that is also part of a difference in a study that needs to be the same as well .
Thanks for the info .

It is entirely appropriate to "blame those who set a made-in-Canada price for a product sold in Canada at a cost relative to a true Canadian COP" because this statement is flim-flam designed for one purpose alone - to use legislation to transfer large amounts of wealth from poor consumers to a few rich farmers, and disadvantage other farmers in the process.

Why should Canadian consumers pay almost 38% more for a commodity like milk than US consumers a mile away, just so that 15,000 quota-owning millionaires can continue to be financial bullies in the farm community?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Could you please explain why equipment , equipment parts and car parts are more money here ? Chapter and verse of the legislation would be good for a start .

Whenever suipply management supporters get boxed into a corner about why they, and they alone, should have the protection of 200% tariff barriers, they trot out the "straw man" that since some things are fractionally more money in Canada than in the US, then it is perfectly OK for dairy and poultry products to be hugely more money here, than in the US.

This "it's OK to screw Canadians on retail price, eveybody else is doing it" is a stupid argument, and goes right back to the stupid arguments raised by toddlers when caught with their hands in the cookie jar - "but I only had two, he had three" argument.

If someone wants to point out, therefore, that supply management supporters have the mentality of infants, I won't object, but I won't be the one to point it out.

The point is that supply management, alone among every other commodity-based product in Canada, gets 200% tariff barriers which serve no purpose but to deliberately screw consumers. In any other sector of our economy but agriculture, people would go to jail if they did to consumers what dairy and poultry farmers do to consumers - yet dairy and poultry farmers just don't get it.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Well I guess you got stumped on that one . I won't call you names like you call others . I asked an easy logical question and you could not come up with the answer .

You asked a stupid, obtuse, and loaded question designed only to try to justify something which, to a greater extent than anything else in this country, hides behind 200% tariff barriers in order to deliberately screw consumers and other farmers.

When you actually ask a smart question instead of a "smart-ass" question, not only will you get a responsible answer, you'd be able to figure out the answer yourself, and not need to bother asking at all.

For example, before you ask stupid questions about this sort of thing, ask yourself - "Does it have the benefit of 200% tariff barriers?" If the answer is "NO", don't be a moron by trying to make even the most dubious sort of connection with something that does.

Finally, when I was teaching, I used to have the occasional student in my class (almost always from a dairy farm) who regularly asked these type of stupid questions - it always got to the point where I didn't even have to respond because the rest of the class would yell at him/her to stop being an idiot and wasting class time.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

It is very revealing to have some one who admits to being a teacher make a comment that a question is stupid , obtuse and a loaded question . I bet after day one with you as a teacher none of your students ever asked a question for the rath of God you would have put in them . I bet they never learned any thing but they all got passing grades because you likely stood at the front of the class preaching to them .
Why are you no longer teaching ?

I won't call you names and belittle you ( you can do that yourself ) , won't , likely should but then why would I stoop to your level .

I asked a logical question in a polite manner and got an uncalled for answer . So much for asking the teacher a question and trying to learn some thing .

Curious to know which school would hire a teacher who calls people names and belittles anyone who disagrees with him.

Aren't their regulations prohibiting the encouraging or tolerating students yelling at a fellow student? Isn't that called bullying?

Please name the school. Some agency needs to follow up on this.

You must have gone to one of those schools that don't celebrate Christmas because it will offend someone of a different religion...don't celebrate Halloween because it may cause someone to turn into a heathen...don't play in the playground because of liability...don't hug anyone because they me be accused of molestation...don't have exams because it may cause some ones self esteem to lower...don't have any competition because some one may lose.
In my book, if someone is a bonehead then you're helping them out by pointing that out to them.

I'll send my children there when they come of age, the last thing I would want is someone filling my kids head full of socialist crap. I can only hope my kids learn capitalism, not this addiction of socialism that todays farmers(myself being partly sucked into in past years) cling to. And BF, how about everyone start using names on this site, that would eliminate most of the hardcore anonymous socialists. Raube Beuerman

this forum is becoming boring because of all the name calling and bulling


Ritz is absolutely correct, however to be more specific, which commodities is he referring to? In order to answer the question, Canada or the U.S. would have show a commodity by commodity support payment comparison with the U.S. The simple fact is everyone has known for decades the U.S. Farm Bill targets support to two ag sectors, grains and dairy. Hence the reason why Canadian-Ontario Pork and Beef desperately try to camoflauge their support numbers.

Canada is about 7 billion, that includes the price support subsidy that SM farmers recieve. Mexico is slightly more. The US is over 30 billion, but remember that their population is 10 times greater that ours. Europe is higher, but remember that they are at a real disadvantage because of the high Euro. Makes the 100 million RMP cap figure look like a rounding error. Raube Beuerman

So beef and pork farmers get about $7 billion . Geez no wonder you guys cry like babies for support .

8% of household income goes to food.
On subsidized housing, 25% of household income goes to rent. If landlord didn't gouge consumers, there would be no food banks.

It is insane the way dairy and poultry farmers fall all over themselves to ignore, and even deny, the human misery they inflict on consumers because of 200% tariff barriers available to them alone - and the above posting is a vivid example of that denial process.

As an example of the flaws in the poster's logic, people can share accomodation, even in geared-to-income housing, but they can't both drink the same glass of milk.

In addition, the fact that we have geared-to-income housing in the first place, but not geared-to-income milk prices (except for frozen pizza makers), demonstrates the extent to which dairy and poultry farmers are completely insensitive to consumers, and everyone else, for that matter.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

If egg farmers didn't gouge so much at the farm gate in the first place, consumers wouldn't need to go to food banks for eggs at all.

It really is infuriating to see egg farmers to fall all over themselves to try to take credit for solving a consumer "problem" they created in the first place.

Just another reason why the buses will be empty the next time supply management holds a rally on Parliament Hill.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

I am not a SM farmer but I feel I have to speak up.

Ontario eggs are routinely featured locally below $2 a dozen. Best price I saw in Florida on a recent trip was $1.98 at Walmart. Think about how retail prices work before ranting about tariffs or alleging farm gate gouging. In reality, eggs are one of the best-value proteins for Ontario grocery shoppers. Yes, I know about exchange rates but I have also bought 18 packs of Ontario eggs recently for $2.19 without a coupon. Eggs are a real food bargain.

Try and say it with me.....Eggs are a real food bargain.

For many farmers, it is a bit infuriating to see two or three people here lobbying so hard to lower SM farm prices when it has been proven time and time again that it won't benefit consumers.  One of the biggest benefits of SM is that farmers have market power balancing that of the oligopoly processors and so farmers earn a higher proportion of the retail price. To achieve that market power in the US, "egg farmers" there cope by getting huge - they average a million layers with some being  more than 10 million hens.

Without SM, Ontario could get its eggs from one or two farms and they would probably be in the US.  Fortunately, our government knows Ontario is much better off with its 8 million hens spread across 350 family egg farms and resulting virtually the same retail prices. It also helps create a stronger rural economy and is better for disease/risk control, environmental impact, animal welfare and supply security.

So, faced with the fact that lowering farm prices won't lower retail prices and the only impact is to improve processor or retailer margins, why would anyone in their right mind think it is a good idea?

Repeat after me - nobody with an IQ bigger than their shoe size, except egg farmers, could possibly believe that lowering the farm gate price of eggs will have no effect on retail prices.

In addition, the only place the retail price of eggs in Canada is consistently anywhere near your "cherry-picked" $2.19, is at Amish farms.

As for the rest of your pro-supply managed propaganda and protectionist drivel, I suggest you not try to claim conjecture is fact, especially about cross-border retail price equivalency, because all it does is infuriate people.

In addition, I suggest that instead of spouting this sort of unfounded, and unsupportable, drivel, you review even the most basic principles of economics to discover that protectionism, such as that used in supply management, is always detrimental to consumers and the economy.

I simply cannot believe that somebody who is intelligent enough to be able to writes this clearly, could be so dumb about basic economic principles, as well as be so dumb about the adverse effect supply management has on the rest of the farm community - I smell a supply management "stooge"

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Retail price connections must be undeniable.

Egg farmers remember the farm price of eggs dropping 6 cents a dozen last November because feed costs had dropped.

I watched in the grocery stores  and, lo and behold, Stephen is right, lowering the farm gate price of eggs did have an effect on retail prices...they went up about 5 cents a dozen.

Everyone also probably remembers happy consumers enjoying all the basically free beef during the BSE crisis. 

But nobody with an IQ bigger than their shoe size could possibly believe that lowering farm gate prices will have no effect on retail prices. Right???

One of my clients bought $10,000 worth of Loblaw stock in 2006, and sold it for less than $8,000 in 2013 - now, where is that dumb schluck who claimed not long ago on this site that Loblaws was a license to print money?

The food processing, distributing, and retailing sector is not overly-profitable, margins are razor-thin, and the sector is highly-responsive to stimuli of all sorts.

If not, Loblaws stock would have gone up in the last 7 years, not down.

The other obvious point is that it is somewhat difficult for any store to try to cut prices to increase sales in any supply managed commodity simply because the supply is too-tightly managed to be able to do so - if stores could import eggs, for example, increases in sales volumes would be more-achievable than they are now. Supply management is designed to artificially restrict supplies in order to drive up the retail price, and that's what it does.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton, ON

Very pathetic example,especially for any consumer out there trying to understand it all.
They just know that Beef and Pork are at all-time highs going into Barbeque season,even lamb imported from Australia and none of them are supposedly "tightly managed," in fact l don't think they have any management at all, which should be great for would think but appearently not.

One writer refutes the retail price argument and the response is switching the topic over to stock prices?

This would be a failing tactic in a grade 11 debating class.

I don't think any facts will interfere with your seemingly rigid view of the world, but just for the benefit of others, companies can easily import eggs when production is lagging demand growth and they do so on a regular basis.

This is built into the system in the form of supplemental import permits and egg imports have in fact soared in the last few years as egg sales have risen about 3 per cent annually.

Egg farmers have been working to get more hens into production fast enough to keep up with this strong growth. American surpluses fill the short term gap.

Supply management actually works by determining the fair price that farmers need to be paid to cover the cost of production and then managing supply to fill all available markets above that cost and quite a few below cost as well.

When growth is faster than forecast, as has been the case for eggs for several years, then supplemental imports are available to make sure that the market is never shorted.

A tight market drives up imports but has no effect on prices. US egg imports mean higher wholesale and retail margins - not savings for consumers.

PS - Since you brought up stock prices, I have one free tip - a good manager will have a stop loss order placed at 6 to 8% below the purchase price to protect clients against dramatic 20% declines. It takes a 40% increase in another position to offset that sort of mismanaged loss. Perhaps such clients should seek new advisers.

Hope this has been helpful to you Stephen!

I would like to thank you for the clear explanation of supplemental imports. Makes sense and lays waste to "the eggs can't be imported" stuff that other people have spoken. Good to know how rapid growth can be achieved.

Hhmmm I remember a crash of the stock market between those years . Do ya think he is the only one that lost money on stocks ? You really should of thought that one out better .

the stock market across the board on all the major indexes was higher in 2013 than 2006. For example, the S&P 500 was at a high of 1400 in 2006, and the lowest point in 2013 was 1560, therefore, throwing your logic out the window. You are correct that there was a crash between those years, but it is still irrelevant to Loblaws stock using the years that Mr. Thompson pointed out in which his client bought and sold that stock. Raube Beuerman

Raube did you have a chance to compare Loblaw performance with their direct competitor Metro during the same period?

Know any farms that pay the kind of salaries, dividends and have the same share growth as the well-managed major food stores?

You are missing the point in that grocery stores have competition, SM farmers do not. I have no problem with with publicly traded companies, I own shares through my kids RESP, my RRSP and non-registered account. I like dividends and share growth. Maybe if more farmers learned how to invest in publicly traded companies they would not constantly spew the corporations are evil nonsense. Farmers that are protected by socialist policies like supply management should not make large amounts of money. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

Sometimes we forget who had the shiny new equipment on the road.There was a time when the Pork producers were the big money on the block,it was ok for them to build and buy but not ok now for SM farmers,is that it?

Grocery stores are like gas stations,our little town has 4 major gas outlets but at times there is not a cent difference between any of them! The same with grocery flyers,they all have sales but with virtually identical prices.

Stephen you conveniently overlook the reason for Loblaw's decline.Maybe ask your client about it if you happened to miss the many news reports in national newspapers

Bottom line is well-known management problems at Loblaws. By that I mean at one point they couldn't even keep the shelves properly stocked.

What would happen to a chicken or any livestock farmer who ran out of feed or just ingredients in the feed?

Animals and farm gone!

Your client is lucky he bought grocery store shares and just lost a few dollars.

Why didn't you advise him to buy Metro instead of Loblaws? During the same period he lost share value with Loblaws. Metro had both phenomenal dividends and share growth? Go to the Globe & Mail investor page and click on 5 year charts for each company if you don't believe me. Then explain Metro's results with your "razor-thin margins".

We will all await your apology for misrepresenting this.

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