Practical Farmers of Ontario seeking an increase in the exemption limit (now 300 chickens) for small growers

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.

More on how you can support this initiative on the Practical Farmers’ website.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Practical Farmers of Ontario seeking an increase in the exemption limit (now 300 chickens) for small growers

  1. frustrated farmer

    FINALLY! Now how about in la belle province where the limit is not 300, but 100. What nonsense, putting limitations on what foods you can and cannot grow. This in a time of rampant obesity, extreme poverty, and food deserts, and poor nutrtion. Small farms should have many more exemptions as encouragement. Try looking in Vermont where there are less restrictions and where the number of farms has actually increased. Here’s a neat article from the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/nyregion/the-farm-life-draws-some-students-for-post-graduate-work.html?_r=1

  2. thebovine

    Comment sent in by email:

    from the person who holds meat-bird quota in British Columbia

    I just looked at the site, and if I am not mistaken this person does not know what they speak of. The 300 bird thing is for eggs. A small farmer can pay $20 for a permit and grow 2000 birds a year for meat, if they are sold from their farm gate. The supply-management system is not on the table, even tho’ people think Harper is back stabbing all of us. The need to increase numbers is because consumers are eating more poultry and Ontario wants all the increase, elbowing out the other provinces. As far as New Brunswick is concerned the processor went under. With the monopoly that Supply-Management created, a processor is crucial to the formula.

    • frustrated farmer

      The BC model sounds workable. Supply management for those who want a guaranteed market and price, yet the small guy is also given a legal way to enter the marketplace.

  3. Brandon

    I am an seriously interested person who wants the opportunity to farm Poultry (broilers) and make a comfortable living while doing it. I live and work in Toronto at an upscale restaurant and make a point of asking customers and clients their thoughts on poultry and where and what they would like to see. I would have to say every person I speak with wants similar things, humanely raised chickens, fed a proper diet and given ample room to roam. People love the idea of “Organic”..”Free Range” etc. But almost no one really knows what those terms mean. The thought is these birds are roaming around a picturesque pasture, grass green and glistening in the sun, chickens roaming around at their leisure. The fact is its not really that way is it?

    I ask these person(s) everyday because I feel their is a growing following as to what people are eating, how its raised, what its fed etc, and I believe I have the determination and direction to fill the demand. I have been looking at ways to earn a living. I repeat earn a living. I don’t mean become a chicken producing tycoon. I like to work outdoors and I like the fact of working from my own establishment. Their are a lot of other reasons why chickens in particular strike me as the direction I intend to follow but I won’t bore you as of yet.

    I am looking to speak with anyone or to hear someone’s opinion(s) on what a person like myself can do to get started. Money we all know is a given. I have looked and visited farms for sale religiously for the last 6 years in Ontario. The whole reason I came to the big city was to earn enough money to buy my own farm so this is not a new idea. I don’t however have experience in farming livestock. But I am familiar with farming, I moved to Toronto for the obvious (job opportunities) as my town was limited in employment. I have been here (Toronto) for 8 years and I want to go home.

    I have done my homework. I just would really appreciate some good advice and maybe a direction to start.

    Thanks for your time,

    Brandon

  4. thebovine

    Organic chickens need to eat organic feed. One farmer I know says that the only way to make money on organic chickens is to grow your own organic feed because if you have to buy it at market prices, it won’t be economic. Not that I’m trying to discourage you. We need more conscientious farmers.

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