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APRIL 2018 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC BC egg producers ramp up production


by DAVID SCHMIDT VANCOUVER – The demand


for eggs turned the corner a few years ago and egg production is booming across the country. Another 68,000 hens came into production in BC last year, resulting in almost two million more eggs than in 2016. The increase came in both conventional and specialty eggs. Last year, specialty (free-


run, free-range, organic, Omega 3) eggs represented 23.4% of BC’s total egg production, an increase from 20.6% in 2016. Conventional producers are also making changes, as more than 30% of eggs are now being produced in non-conventional housing (cage-free or enriched cage) systems. “We have gone a long way but still have a long way to go,” BC Egg Marketing Board chair Gunta Vitins told producers at their annual meeting in Vancouver, March 2.


Although 77% of Canadian


eggs are still produced in conventional cage systems, Egg Farmers of Canada chair Roger Pellisario said that is changing quickly. He noted EFC is now completing a cost of production study of both


conventional and enriched cage systems. Noting COP studies are


conducted about every five to six years, he predicted this would be the last to include “conventional production.” BC is receiving another


increase in its quota allocation this year and Vitins promises a “focused effort to streamline the quota distribution process,” particularly as it relates to the Farm Industry Review Board’s recent Quota Tools Assessment Review report. That job will be tackled by


a largely new set of faces. Vitins was appointed BCEMB chair in December while Barry Lockwood and Mike Payne were elected to the board effective following the annual meeting. They replace Jennifer Woike, who resigned earlier in 2017, and Fred Krahn, who chose to retire after serving as a BCEMB director for most of the past 30 years. Walter Siemens and Amir Alibhai are the only remaining directors from the previous board. In 2017, the board shifted


the focus of its marketing efforts from promoting eggs to promoting egg farmers. “We shot five more ‘Meet the Farmer’ videos in 2017


and now have a total of 10 videos on YouTube,” BCEMB communications and marketing manager Amanda Brittain said, telling producers the videos average 11,000 views each. They are also using targeted digital media and live stories of BC farmers on Global TV’s “Saturday Chef” program.


“We reached 41% of BCers


through our social media program,” she stated, saying 38% learned “a little or a lot” about egg production in the province.


Brittain said the program is


working, noting 51% of the people who viewed the ads trust how BC eggs are farmed but only 37% of people who


viewed no ads have the same trust. Overall, those numbers are about 41% of the population, clearly indicating more work is needed to rebuild trust in the industry. “Meet the Farmer events


are crucial,” Brittain said, calling them “the ultimate connect.”


Call for collaboration VANCOUVER – It’s past time for all


chicken stakeholders to get together to lay out a plan for the next five to 10 years, says BC Broiler Hatching Egg Commission chair Jim Collins. “Most of the issues we face affect the


chicken industry as a whole,” he told hatching egg producers during their annual meeting in Vancouver, March 2. The former general manager of the BC


Farm Industry Review Board notes he is “closing in on 30 years in the supply management system,” telling producers the system is becoming more challenging every day. He said today’s challenges include trade, changing markets, efficiency, pricing, managing growth, animal welfare, avian influenza, Asian breeders, new entrants, hatchery margins, transition planning and spiking males. BCBHEPA president Bryan Brandsma noted hatching egg producers are well- represented in poultry industry efforts to


BEEKMAN AUCTIONS


improve biosecurity and AI responsiveness, singling out Sharmain Zylstra and Allan Cross for particular praise. Animal welfare is another issue being


addressed. Canadian Hatching Egg Producers chair Jack Greydanus told producers the animal care component of the CHEQ (Canadian Hatching Egg Quality) program was completed last fall and trial third-party audits will to begin early this year. Greydanus said the program is crucial,


noting recent activist videos “have shown we have some holes.” He said growth in chicken production is


“the most positive news” for 2017, as it should lead to more hatching egg production. Offsetting that, however, is the market share the industry is giving up as part of the CP-TPP agreement. “We expect about 1.8% of hatching eggs will come from Mexico (once TPP is implemented),” Greydanus said. David Schmidt


15


9 AM START


CHILLIWACK CONSIGNMENT AUCTION


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