Thursday, March 15, 2018

Three more chicken processors

Ontario has three more chicken processors, thanks to policy changes by the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board.

The board rations chicken supplies among processsors which has made it difficult for newcomers interested in serving niche and specialty markets.

The board has responded with a new entrant program.

One of those opening now is Conscious Living Cuisine Processing Ltd. to serve the market for smaller birds. There is keen demand for barbecue businesses serving the Portuguese community.

They have been complaining for well over a year that they can’t get what they want since the processing companies that are entitled to supplies from the marketing board prefer to serve others.

Two others intend to market organic chicken. They are Fenwood Farms and Simcoe Street Meat Packers.

“This announcement further demonstrates the importance of building and implementing supply management policies and programs that can stimulate new industry development and investment, and which can continue to support and nurture the entrepreneurial energies and economic growth ambitions of the Ontario chicken industry,” said Rob Dougans, CFO’s president and chief executive officer.

“Our success continues to depend upon our ability to understand consumers, markets, our food customers and fellow industry-value chain stakeholders, and to ensure that we are responsive to their evolving needs,” said CFO chairman Ed Benjamins.

It's nice to see that the leaders of the marketing board have finally seen the light. Too bad it took so long.

St. Helen’s plans irk neighbours

A deal to buy a former sewage treatment site in Toronto for a meat packing business has upset the neighbours.

They say the site is still toxic and prone to flooding.

St. Helen’s Meat Packers Ltd. told a reporter it is “committed to addressing the environmental challenges and additional costs” to develop the property, adding that it will maintain and clean part of the parcel that has been used as a dumping ground.

St. Helen’s plans to build a 50,000-square-foot freezer and packaging facility that will bring an estimated 100 jobs to the area.

The site has apparently been for sale for a decade; the sale awaits approvals from the Torontoa and Region Conservation Authority.

Some local residents want the site developed as a park; they say that paving over land that is considered a flood plain could cause additional problems if the nearby Black Creek breaches its banks as it did in 2013, damaging nearby homes.

Premium Brands buys four more companies

Premium Brands continues its spectacular growth with the purchase of four more companies.

It has purchase agreements for Concord Premium Meats, The Meat Factory Ltd., both in Ontario, Country Prime Meats Ltd. of British Columbia and Frandon Seafood Inc. of Quebec.

The combined purchase price is $227 million, which is also their combined annual revenues.

Premium Brands had revenues of $585.4 million in its fourth quarter and $2.2 billion for the year, which was 18.3 per cent greater than the previous year.

Fourth-quarter profit declined to $17.2 million from $20 million the same quarter last year, but the annual profit increased to $80.5 million from $68.8 million.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

McGee added to Animal Review Board

Theresa McGee of Toronto has been named to the Animal Care Review Board which oversees the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Her appointment came only two days after two others were appointed, bringing board membership to 31 people.

All three were also appointed to the Ontario Fire Safety Commission which has 30 members, most of them also sharing two-year appointments to the Farm Care Review Board.

Paul Brown of Woodville was appointed to the Livestock Medicines Advisory Committee.

GRCA gives farmers a boost

The Grand River Conservation Authority has a website called Stories From the Field featuring 29 farmers who are doing the right things by the environment.

"We've heard some really good things about that website," Sue Brocklebank, a conservation specialist with the GRCA, told CBC News.

She works with farmers on conservation projects and helped compile stories for the website.

"I know it makes the landowners who are on it really proud to see their work showcased that way. It's almost a thank you. A way of us saying thank you to the work that they've done.

"This is a business for them, but they want it to be a sustainable business. They want to be able to pass it down to the next generation," she said.

"They do often want to do things that are obviously good for their operation, but also benefit the environment there as well. I think that can be surprising to some people."

She hopes people outside the farming community will visit the website and learn something new about where their food comes from. She also hopes farmers will use the site as a source of new ideas. 
The conservation authority has been helping farmers find ways to make their farms more ecologically sound by introducing things such as winter ground cover, natural wind barriers, stream fencing, tree planting and manure storage. 
But Brocklebank says advice from another farmer is always easier to swallow than advice from outside the farming community, which is the whole idea behind the website.