by PAT CURRIE
The Pullet Growers of Canada (PGC) don’t want to know which came first, the chicken or the egg, they just want to be included in the supply-management system on the same basis as other parts of the chicken-and-egg business.
At their recent annual general meeting in Ottawa, PGC members and their newly elected board reconfirmed their determination to seek approval from the Farm Products Council of Canada for Part 2 status under the Farm Products Agencies Act.
"Right now we don’t have any status at all under supply management," said PGC board director Cal Dirks, who producers 72,000 pullets a year on his farm in southeastern Manitoba.
Dirks said the application process has just been launched and the pullet growers are hoping it will be approved "before the end of the year. It’s quite an extensive process, a lot of due diligence – the council will evaluate our application first to ensure that all pullet-producer organizations across Canada have been consulted."
Gaining Part 2 status "means a lot to pullet producers, putting us on the same footing as broiler chicken farms, egg producers and turkey farmers," he said.
Newly returned chair Andy DeWeerd (Ontario) said being an autonomous agency will give Canada's 550 pullet growers "the legal powers to make decisions" on major issues such as cost of production and disease control, instead of relying, as they have in the past, on egg-producers’ provincial organizations.
The last successful application for Part 2 status was with the Canadian Broiler Hatching Egg Marketing Agency in 1986, Dirks said. BF