Chicken Farmers of Ontario’s Artisanal Chicken program is now entering its third year and each year the program continues to expand. Since its inception, the application-based program has accepted almost 150 farmers. These farmers grow between 600 and 3000 birds a year and are located across the province including northern Ontario. They serve a wide range of consumer markets from farmers’ markets and local restaurants, to specialty butchers and farm gate sales.
Many of these farmers have developed an effective marketing and brand strategy focused on differentiating their product and targeting specific customer groups through innovate off farm channels. Others have focused on drawing consumers to their farm to create a unique buying experience. One thing that all of these farmers share is their passion for farming and their desire to improve their operations each year.
Part of the success of the Artisanal Chicken program can be attributed to the training and education provided by CFO. For the second year running, CFO hosted a workshop for Artisanal Chicken farmers to offer guidance in areas such as brooding and feed management. At the workshop guest speakers Dr. Scott Gillingham, the University of Guelph’s Dr. Elijah Kiarie and OMAFRA Poultry Specialist Al Dam discussed a range of issues from brooding to nutrition to risk management.
In total almost half of the registered Artisanal Chicken farmers attended the workshop in Mississauga which is a tribute to their desire for continuous learning and their commitment to making the artisanal chicken business a growing success.
CFO is actively recruiting new Artisanal Chicken farmers who wish to serve their local markets. For more information on the Artisanal Chicken Program, and for information on the application process, please visit artisanalchicken.ca