Ontario’s chicken farmers are unhappy with new pricing formula

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Any time someone trots out jargon like "intelligibility" and/or "defensibility", as Chicken Farmers chair, Henry Zantingh, is reported to have said, there's almost always nothing intelligent or defensible about what that person wants, especially when it comes to the perversity of supply management.

In addition, it is always bizarre to see anyone in any sort of supply managed atmosphere mention the consumer, as the lawyer for the processors, Herman Turkstra, did in his letter when he urged both parties to advance the chicken industry through "growth, increased efficiencies and consumer focus".

And, as always, and as any student of business finance understands all-too-well, the "wild card" in any cost-of-production model is the way fixed costs, such as buildings are costed, and this spat would appear to be no exception.

It's well-past-time for the general public to see this sort of disagreement for what it really is - a spat amongst two parties neither of which cares one iota about the consumer.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

"The old cost of production formula has been in use since 2002"

Given that the price of quota is merely a reflection of the profits to be had by owning it, and that the value of quota now has far-outpaced inflation(since 2002) it appears to me this new haircut is long overdue.

Raube Beuerman

The Fixed cost portion should be cut in half for production above 10,000 birds per location per production cycle. All new Quotas should be handed out at 2,000 pers cycle with birs that sold to processors at half of current fixed costs. These producers should be allowed to form small processing ring(s) or coop(s) then sell these birds directly to consumers small stores or food services (some wanting nonGMO fed birds) I am one of several currently(illegal) producers selling organic chicken in the GTA.

This will not happen until goverment steps in

Editor: Comment will be published if resubmitted and signed.

Could someone enlighten me as to why we are importing poultry from the US with the tariff barriers that are in place. I read this article in the most recent edition of the Ontario Farmer, production section pg. 6B

This chicken come in with low or no tariff if used in tv dinners and other similar products Stephen webster

In response to Canada Bans Poultry From Kansas http://betterfarming.com/comment/15815#comment-15815

Foreign chicken in Canada is at least 25% of the total Canadian consumption. Some of these imports are required under our trade treaties for world trade. The rest is cheating so that the players inside & outside of Supply Management can maximize their personal profits at the expense of the Canadian consumers.

TRQ (Tariff Rate Quota) imports to Canada are limited to just 7.5% of Canada's previous year's domestic consumption, and comes in at a very low duty, 0% (NAFTA) or 5% (WTO). After that miniscule market access is exceeded, chicken importer must pay a 285% import tariff cost (see http://canadiansmallflockers.blogspot.ca/2013/06/what-changed-first-sm-o... ).

Chicken is also imported under IREP (Import to Re-export, see

There have been many allegations of IREP "leakage", where chicken gets legally imported under IREP, then is legally required to leave the country, but somehow disappears inside Canada, never to be exported (see http://canadiansmallflockers.blogspot.ca/2013/03/magical-trucks-of-chick... ).

Spent chicken (old laying hens and roosters) are imported in huge quantities into Canada as a ploy to get 0% duty rating. Experts suggest that some or all of this chicken is really regular broiler chickens disguised as spent chicken so as to save the 285% duty charge. Currently, cheating via spent chicken has taken more than 17% of the Canadian broiler chicken market share (see

The Supply Management System for chicken in Canada has been with us for 50 years, generally getting worse and worse, more and more corrupt each year, special interests taking advantage of Canadians.

The time has come for change.

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada
The Alternative to Supply Management

Is there a way to utilize these exemptions in order to attain your goals of having 2000 chickens?

In response to "So if the grey area exists........." http://betterfarming.com/comment/15819#comment-15819

I realize that some choose to cheat.

Most choose to abdicate and surrender to the chicken bureaucracy. CFO states that the average Small Flocker grows less than 57 chickens, in spite of CFO "generously" giving a small flock exemption of 300.

CFO asks the rhetorical question "If Small Flockers only use 57 of the 300 exemption we granted them, why should we increase the exemption to 2,000 birds?"

This is a reasonable question asked by the unreasonable CFO. Still, their rhetorical question deserves a reasonable answer.

CFO needs to look beyond the 57 to understand why it's just 57. 57 chickens is enough to feed a family of 4 for a year. In other words, most Small Flockers grow for themselves, and have abandoned their extended family, their neighbours, their former customers, and their community.

Exactly what forces must a government use to cause more than 15,500 Small Flockers to abandon their extended family, their neighbours, their former customers, and their community?

I suggest that the impossibility of the chicken bureaucracy jointly created by CFO and OMAFRA, Ontario, and the Federal Government has put most Small Flockers into a farming coma; a vegetable on life support in the farming Intensive Care Unit. It's not all CFO's fault. Multi-millionaire chicken farmers and their lobbyists were successful lobbying OMAFRA and the governments for regulations that oppress the Small Flockers, and ensure the millionaires their absolute monopoly.

Beyond that, it is sad and unfortunate that the vast majority of Small Flockers gave up without a fight, and submitted to the bureaucratic oppression. There is a reason we have the expression "You can't fight City Hall". Provincial governments, especially when aligned with the Federal Government, have virtually unlimited power and inertia. It is a sane thing for almost all Small Flockers to give up in these circumstances.

What that says about me and my Small Flocker spokesperson and advocacy campaign I will leave to the reader's thoughts and imagination.

The Ontario government has a policy of supporting local food. Small Flockers could be an important addition to Local Food, if they are allowed to be. That will never occur with the current Small Flock bureaucracy and regulations.

The cheating and/or gray areas in the current Supply Management System are primarily actionable for and by the millionaire quota-bearing Supply Management participants, not the outcast Small Flockers.

Will more and more Small Flockers give in to greed, and start to cheat for financial gain?

Will the Canadian economy continue to decompose until more and more Small Flockers need to revisit their abdication decision, and start growing more chicken; either for themselves, their extended family, the poor, their former customers, or their community?

Will the public finally wake up and realize how the millionaire Supply Management members have repeatedly abused and gouged the public, and demand the government act to change the system? I believe this has the highest probability, and is the reason for my focusing my efforts in that area.

Time will tell.

Until that day of truth and action arrives, I will continue to take care of my family through our farm, report on the dysfunction of the Chicken Supply Management System, and advocate for change.

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

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