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by SUSAN MANN
Ontario’s chicken producers will have to wait until March to obtain Avian Influenza insurance.
Chicken Farmers of Ontario told producers at regional meetings last fall that the program would be available this month. But a few matters still have to be worked out, including the premium cost and the licensing enabling the Poultry Insurance Exchange Reciprocal of Canada to sell the Avian Influenza insurance, says Chicken Farmers spokesperson Mary Fearon.
The insurance will pay the difference between Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s compensation for euthanizing birds in cases of outbreaks and the bird’s actual market value. It will also cover cleaning and barn disinfecting as well as vet and diagnostic fees.
“The idea behind it is to help the industry rebound more quickly,” Fearon notes, adding the insurance will be mandatory for all 1,100 chicken farmers. “It’s about covering losses and making sure that everybody gets back into production.”
Other provincial poultry boards are also considering offering the insurance but they’re not as advanced as Chicken Farmers in the process. Each board will set its own premiums and coverage levels for its farmers.
Bob Guy, general manager of the Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission, says it’s up to the farmers to recommend the program; the board would decide if it should be implemented. “We don’t have a target date for that decision,” he says.
Harry Pelissero, general manager of Egg Farmers of Ontario, says they’ll likely have a program for their farmers in four to six months. The federal government says it will look at the compensation paid for laying hens under the Health of Animals Act.
“That might have an impact on the amount of premium a program may end up costing,” he says.
A representative of Turkey Farmers of Ontario could not be reached for comment. BF