FAQs for Farmers

Who is eligible to participate?
Participants must:
  • Be a permanent resident of Ontario.
  • Be the beneficial owner of lands and buildings suitable for the production of broiler chickens.
Applicants include:
  • Farmers who are interested in growing and marketing between 600 and 3000 birds per year for meat production

  • Growers who are currently growing Family Food (previously small flock) chicken and are interested in increasing from the maximum of 300 birds annually to between 600 and 3000 birds per year, with the option to expand their marketing to off-farm local, retail locations

What is the application process and deadlines?
  • Those interested in participating in the program are required to complete and submit a digital application.  Currently there is no application fee.
  • Applications open in August for the following calendar year.
  • Application deadline is February 1st, space permitting.  Farmers are encouraged to submit their application early to ensure space availability.
  • Applications will be processed, and initial premises inspections will be conducted within approximately 90 days of submission.
  • The application must have a completed marketing plan for the number of birds requested.
  • As part of the application process, farm premises will be visited by a CFO Farming Representative to ensure the farm is suitable for chicken production.
  • Applicants will be informed at the time of their interview, if there are potential issues or concerns with compliance to the program requirements
  • As part of the application process, applicants must supply water sample test results. Analysis must be performed at a municipal, private or Provincial public health laboratory. The test must show counts for ‘Total Coliform and Ecoli.'

What happens after an applicant is approved?
  • All Board approved farmers must complete an acceptance form to confirm their participation in the program for the current year and confirm production numbers

  • Once farmers have confirmed their participation, CFO will issue an Artisanal Production invoice

  • Once the invoice is paid, farmers will be issued a production licence to grow and market artisanal chicken

  • The production licence is specific only to the approved artisanal grower(s), at the application premise, and does not convey any property rights

  • Chicken grown under the Artisanal Chicken Policy is to be marketed and not be used for home consumption. Up to an additional 60 birds may be grown for self consumption

  • All chicken processed under this Policy must be transported in accordance with the federal or provincial agency having jurisdiction over this type of activity

  • Only one Artisanal Production Licence will be issued in each year to the same person(s) or premise(s)
  • For this Production Licence the approved applicant will be required to:

    • Comply with all CFO policies and regulations
    • Demonstrate that an artisanal market is being met
    • Electronically transfer to CFO the Annual Production Licence Fee and Levy, and Avian Influenza (AI) Insurance premium
    • Maintain records to confirm compliance with the Program
    • Adhere to scheduled and random inspections by an appointed inspector or agent of the Board
    • Complete and submit CFO's Forms electronically

What are CFO's digital business services?
  • CFO is endeavoring to provide excellent customer service digitally in all aspects of the Artisanal Chicken Program

  • Approved participants are required to have the means to communicate digitally via email and to submit all digital forms. CFO staff will be pleased to assist new Artisanal Chicken Farmers in the transition to digital business services

  • Farmers, intending to use a third-party to communicate digitally with CFO, must complete and submit an “Authorization for Third-Party Representative”

Who has the rights to grow and market?
  • An Artisanal Chicken Farmer will grow an approved number of birds and continue with annual renewal until the Artisanal Chicken Farmer exits the sector

  • A request for the Artisanal Chicken Farmer to increase production is completed at the time the production licence is renewed annually. Active Artisanal Chicken Farmers, in good standing, will be given priority over new applicants

What is the Minimum Live Price?

What are the licence fees and levies?
  • CFO has established an Annual Production Licence Fee of 20¢ per chick placed. CFO and CFC fees and levies are also payable at 3.6¢ and 1.2¢ per chick respectively. These are payable when the license is issued and on annual renewal. 
  • Overproduction above 4% will result in a financial penalty of $1.00 /bird and impact consideration of future licences.

Can chickens from the Artisanal Chicken Program be sold at farmers' markets?
Yes, chicken grown by CFO Artisanal Chicken Program farmers can be sold at local farmers' markets.

It should be noted that Family Food Program growers' (formerly known as Small Flock growers) chicken cannot be sold anywhere other than the farm-gate.
More information about the Artisanal Chicken Farmer value chain
  • Artisanal Chicken Farmers will create relationships with hatcheries, processors and local markets. These relationships and partners need to be in place and described in the application

  • Processors must be Provincially or Federally registered

  • Sales must be local and can include farm gate sales, local farmers markets, local retail stores, local foodservice outlets and local restaurants

  • Sales must be in-province

Is a licensed Artisanal Chicken Program farmer also able to grow chicken for home consumption?
  • Yes. Approved Artisanal Chicken Program farmers may grow up to an additional 60 birds for home consumption. These birds may not be sold at the farm gate or commercially marketed. No license fee is applied to these birds.

Can approved Artisanal Chicken farmers self-hatch chicks?
Please contact Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission (OBHECC) to discuss your specific situation and requirements for self-hatch (519-837-0005). 
Can approved Artisanal Chicken farmers purchase chicks at an auction?
  • You must only buy chicks from federally-registered hatcheries recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It is recommended that you buy from hatcheries recognized by the CFIA as operating under HACCP. Most farm feed stores purchase chicks from these recognized hatcheries