Alberta back in national chicken quota arrangement

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

A new federal-provincial agreement for allocating broiler chicken quota will formally include Alberta Chicken Producers for the first time since 2013.

Chicken Farmers of Canada announced Thursday it has a new federal-provincial agreement (FPA) in hand, including a new quota allocation methodology.

The new deal was concluded Tuesday, CFC said, when the Farm Products Council of Canada ruled the new FPA can proceed without first getting Governor-in-Council approval — that is, approval from the federal cabinet via the Governor General.

The national Farm Products Council had said in its 2015-16 annual report that it would be required to review any amendments to the operating agreement of a new FPA, to see whether they would have to have Governor-in-Council approval.

Thursday’s announcement, CFC said, “brings to close more than eight years of discussions and negotiations” toward a new allocation system.

Alberta Chicken Producers had pulled out of the FPA in 2013, but continued to work with the national producer body on updating allocation, CFC said.

“We’re excited to have all our provinces back on board,” CFC chair Benoit Fontaine said in a release Thursday.

Alberta had stepped out of the CFC system in 2013 “because our population was growing at such a greater rate than the rest of the country and our piece of the pie was getting smaller and smaller and smaller — and we didn’t think that was fair,” Alberta Chicken Producers chair Erna Ference told Alberta Farmer in 2014.

The Alberta body had estimated its producers were only getting 80 per cent of what their allocation should have been.

Alberta and the other nine provincial chicken-marketing boards in 2014 signed a memorandum of understanding which would see allocations for each of the eight-week rolling production periods partially based on factors reflecting provinces’ comparative advantage.

Officials at that time said the national chicken farmer body was working under threat from the Farm Products Council that CFC’s allocation requests would not get council approval unless a new national deal could be reached.

“The fact that we were standing on the edge of the precipice had us saying, how much is supply management worth to us?” Jake Wiebe, chair of Manitoba Chicken Producers, said in Alberta Farmer in 2014.

Alberta, according to the national Farm Products Council, had “signaled its intent” in 2014 to rejoin the FPA once the memorandum of understanding got unanimous support from the CFC board. — Network


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