Beginning farmers should have the opportunity to share in the opportunity of the rapidly growing chicken sector. Chefs and customers clearly want naturally grown chickens. In Ontario, we manage the number of chickens grown for meat so that farmers receive a fair price. This is good. But right now this means that farmers have only 2 options:
Buy quota at $1.75 million for the right to produce a minimum of about 90,000 birds a year. With this investment, the farmer’s banker will not allow taking any chances such as avoiding antibiotics, or letting the chickens out of their cages, or feed anything different than the scientifically formulated rations.
Buy no quota and produce a maximum of 300 birds per year; that can only be sold at their farm gate. 300 birds can hardly be considered a profitable enterprise. Customers do not want to travel to a farm to obtain their carefully raised chicken.
To advocate for intermediate options, send an email to the Farm Product Marketing Commission. Please support this Sustain Ontario Initiative.
Beef, Lamb and Pork have no supply management. So farmers can grow as many as they wish and in whatever ways their customers request. The demand for this quality meat remains high. However, stringent new regulations have forced over 40% of Ontario abattoirs to cease operations. It is becoming just too arduous for specialty farmers to supply their discerning customers. Please learn how you can help the Sustain Ontario Meat Processing Initiative rectify this dilemma.