From a PFO news release, Sept. 2012:
The Practical Farmers of Ontario, has sent the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board, a written request to increase the minimum number of meat chickens one farmer can raise annually in Ontario without quota.
With increasing demand for locally grown, local sourced food, many consumers are having great difficulty finding the local food they are looking for.
Currently Chicken farmers of Ontario, has a policy against advertising your government inspected roasting chickens, this only effects small farmers with 300 meat birds or less. The Practical Farmers of Ontario see this as a direct
attack on small farms ability to successfully produce goed quality sound food, as it greatly reduces their opportunities to seek out new customers.
Many rural counties have developed buy local food web sites to promote local farmers but with small farmers unable to advertise their chickens it is making it extremely difficult for smaller farmers in more rural and remote areas to make contact with seeking consumers.
Chicken Farmers of Ontario has also taken a very heavy hand approach to policing small farmers and have tried to create a lot of fear in the minds of small farmers even when those farmers are incompliance to the current regulations.
The PFO feels that 300 birds is not a number that is at all economical to raise on an annual basis. They feel that with the declining number of farmers and with very few younger people starting into farming this increase is more than over do, young people or people new to farming need to have an opportunity to enter into farming and we feel the 200 bird annaual exemption will be a great way to help get that process started, say PFO president Sean McGivern, who is an Owen Sound, area farmer, involved in raising beef cattle, hogs, poultry and grains. McGivern said never before have consumers been so interested in where their food comes from and how it was produced, as they are now and he feels smaller farmers who are more diversified are just the people to be able to bridge that gap between farmers and consumers, he said with farmers being less than 2% of the population we need our urban consumers on our side.