The Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board says there has been good progress in developing a new cost-of-production formula that will go into effect Dec. 1.
But there is no agreement yet between the chicken board and the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors.
They have, the board says in a posting on its website, agreed on outside experts to help develop a new formula.
That includes collecting data from 200 farmers representing 20 per cent of commercial production for Ontario.
The chicken board has already been forced to revise its feed costs to reflect better feed-conversion ratios than it was using, a change that reduced chicken prices.
Critic Glenn Black of Providence Bay, Manitoulin Island, and spokesman for small flock owners, claims that change amounts to about $1 billion a year.
Black has also questioned by Ontario poultry feed prices have increased far more than prices for other feeds and more than poultry-feed price increases in the nearby U.S. markets.
He and the newly-formed Practical Farmers of Ontario organization are lobbying for an increase from 300 to 2,000 chickens per year that people in Ontario can raise without having to own marketing-board quota.
The chicken board says on its website that “the new formula will be even more effective at:
· Providing efficient farmers with a fair return over time for their investment in growing chicken,
· Being more responsive to changes in production costs,
· Encouraging ongoing innovation and efficiency,
· Promoting stability and sustainability of the Ontario chicken farming sector, and
· Promoting increased transparency, accountability and support from all relevant industry stakeholder groups.”
The negotiations between the chicken board and processors are being held under the watch of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission.
The commission has not responded to my e-mailed request filed weeks ago, asking if there are hearings on the issue and, if so, whether the public may attend.
We're mushrooms. Kept in the dark and fed horse manure! Nothing has changed under new Agriculture Minister and Premier Kathleen Wynne. And the demand for Hong-Kong dressed and kosher chickens is still not being met by Ontario farmers and processors.
It's a situation begging for either radical reform or abolition of the chicken marketing board.