Manager, Communications and Marketing
What does allocation of growth mean?
The Ontario chicken industry is well positioned to grow over the next few years as a result of both market fundamentals as well as the resolution of a national differential growth solution which will bring additional production to Ontario. This growth in the Ontario chicken industry will not only stimulate broad economic benefits for the province; it will also positively contribute to the Government of Ontario’s stated objective of creating an additional 120,000 new jobs in the food and agricultural sector by 2020.
The anticipated growth in both established and emerging chicken markets in Ontario created an opportunity for CFO and the chicken industry to review existing mechanisms for allocating growth to consult broadly with stakeholders and to explore new ways to administer that growth to both farmer members and processors.
The new programs and policy changes currently being rolled out are the result of CFO’s extensive review and consultation process.
What is the intent of the new programs?
CFO recognized that there were evolving market needs that could best be served by smaller or niche product chicken farmers who could take advantage of their smaller scale by developing innovative new ideas and exploring new specialized market opportunities to serve local markets.
The new programs will help strengthen the supply management system by providing new business opportunities for farmers and processors wishing to grow chicken for these niche and local markets in Ontario. These changes will provide a platform for ongoing economic growth and new job creation in the Ontario chicken industry.
Who was consulted in making the program changes?
Chicken Farmers of Ontario as part of Team Ontario conducted an extensive and transparent consultation process which generated input from a variety of stakeholders across the province. More than 600 stakeholders including CFO farmer-members, chicken processors, representatives from the food and restaurant industries, and the public attended the consultation meetings in person while many others submitted comments online and through other channels. Summary transcripts from the consultation process will be available on the CFO website at ontariochicken.ca.
What is the Artisanal Chicken Program?
The Artisanal Chicken Program allows farmers to grow between 600 and 3,000 birds annually for commercial market purposes. It will appeal to smaller independent, family farmers who wish to raise chickens on a smaller commercial scale and sell to selected local markets. For example, a farmer that wished to provide specially grown or processed chicken to support the defined needs of a local restaurant or a local farmers market might choose to join this program. This is an application based program requiring a production licence from CFO.
Is there still a Small Flock Growers Program?
Yes. However, in order to better reflect the intent of this program, the former Small Flock program has been renamed the Family Food program. There are more than 15,000 registered small flock growers in Ontario who may raise up to 300 chickens per year for personal use. In fact the actual average number of chickens grown by those in this program is about 65 per year. The Family Food program is not intended to be used by commercial farmers and is designed for personal consumption.
What is the Local Niche Markets Program?
This program offers interested farmers the opportunity to support those larger niche or regional markets of 6,000 chickens or more per year. This is an application and quota based program. For more information on the Local Niche Markets Program, CLICK HERE.
Will the farmers accepted into the Program be required to follow CFO OFFSAP and Animal Care Program
Yes. The On-Farm Food Safety Assurance and Animal Care Programs are crucial to ensure that food safety, biosecurity and animal care standards are implemented uniformly across the province. In addition, all CFO certified farmers - including farmers accepted into the new growth programs - must meet all disease reporting requirements as well as applicable government regulations.
How many farmers will be accepted into the Artisanal Chicken Program?
There is no set number of farmers that will accepted into the new program but the new Artisanal Chicken program is set a the equivalent of 5% of total annual allocated growth for the previous year. This could mean that depending on the number, size and nature of the applications, and size of annual growth, several hundred new farmers could qualify each year.
How does a farmer apply to the Artisanal Chicken Program?
Applications to the program are available on artisanalchicken.ca.
Do current (Family Food Program) small flock growers have to reapply to the new program?
No. Farmers who are currently registered as small flock growers for 2015 to grow 300 chickens or less for home consumption or farm gate sales will be automatically registered in the new Family Food program.
Do the new programs affect CFO’s New Entrant Chicken Farmer Program?
No. In fact, CFO in an effort to attract as many qualified potential new chicken farmers as possible has decided to expand the program. For more information on the New Entrant Chicken Farmers Program, CLICK HERE.
Is chicken grown within this new program counted against Ontario’s national allocation?
Yes. The chicken grown under the Artisanal Chicken program and Local Niche Markets program will be counted against Ontario’s national allocation as set out by Chicken Farmers of Canada. Chicken grown under the Family Food program (previously the Small Flock Program) is exempt from the national allocation system as it is intended for home consumption and not considered commercial product.