by SUSAN MANN
A Walkerton-area chicken farmer has lost his bid to relocate a portion of basic quota to another property just three kilometres away from his existing barn.
Chicken Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal both turned down Mark Schnurr’s request for an exemption from a CFO requirement that farmers hold a minimum quota amount of 14,000 units per premise.
Schnurr has 23,000 basic quota units allotted to him by Chicken Farmers. His existing registered chicken barn is on one property and he lives with his family on another farm three kilometres away called the “home farm” in the tribunal’s Dec. 21, 2012 written decision.
But Schnurr, who has been a chicken farmer since 2001, wanted to expand his business and transfer 6,500 units of his basic quota to a new 10,000 square foot barn he was planning build on the home farm on Highway 9 he owns with his wife, Tammy.
The Schnurrs’ existing barn is located next to environmentally sensitive land and it would cost about $60,000 more to expand that barn compared to building a stand-alone barn on the home farm, the decision says.
Schnurr’s processor, Maple Leaf Foods, supported his plans, according to the decision.
Schnurr requested the tribunal reverse the chicken board’s earlier decisions and consider both of his properties as a single premise. But the tribunal upheld the chicken board’s decisions of March 29, 2012 and Aug. 14, 2012 denying Schnurr’s exemption request.
The tribunal noted the chicken board understands the serious impact environmental zoning restrictions have on a farmer’s ability to expand his or her operation but didn’t consider it to be a circumstance unique to Schnurr. The tribunal agreed with the chicken board that Schnurr’s situation didn’t entitle him to an exemption to the quota policy based on special circumstances.
The chicken board was also concerned that granting an exemption to Schnurr could make it challenging to enforce the 14,000 units per premise requirement for other farmers in other circumstances, the decision says.
Schnurr couldn’t be reached for comment. BF
UPDATE: January 8 2013
Mark Schnurr of Walkerton says he isn’t planning any further appeals. “To me it’s not worth it,” he says. “I think they (the chicken board) are pretty set in their ways.”
His plan to build a new barn won’t proceed, nor will he try to expand his existing barn. BF