New entrants are vital to maintaining a vibrant and healthy sector and encouraging new egg and pullet farmers in the current positive business and policy environment is the purpose of Egg Farmers of Ontario’s (EFO’s) New Entrant Support Team (NEST) approach.
There has been a significant increase in new egg and pullet farmers in Ontario recently as a result of a combination of positive factors for the sector and the NEST approach is designed to support and continue that trend.
New entrants to the business have been aided by a decade of consistently expanding egg sales and stable returns provided by Fair Farm Pricing under supply management. The sector has also worked collectively to improve access to egg and pullet quota and reduce barriers to entry.
The information, links and contact information that follows has been put together to help orient new entrants with a solid base of information about egg and pullet farming with an overview of the sector, the policy background and outlining the roles, responsibilities and contact information for stakeholders in the sector.
Encouraging new entrants has been a goal for our sector for a number of years and a previous program called the New Entrant Quota Loan Pool (NEQLP) was introduced in 2011 to address concerns and perceptions about barriers to entry into egg farming in Ontario.
The approach available at that time for acquiring quota was based on private sales. A significant part of the concern about barriers for new entrants was based on the lack of accessibility and transparency to people from outside the business.
The way quota was acquired by egg farmers changed dramatically with the introduction of a quarterly quota exchange called the Quota Transfer System (QTS) in 2014. Quota leasing also changed conditions during this period.
The introduction of the NEQLP included a commitment to review the program after five years of operation. As a result, a complete review of the process was undertaken during 2016.
The QTS performed as expected for all farmers in terms of accessibility and transparency. During that period, there was also the introduction of hens available through the quota leasing pool, increases to the number of birds in the pool and, most recently, policy changes that provide stability and predictability of the number of birds available for lease to each egg farm.
The changes in the policy environment of the QTS and leased birds had the overall impact of encouraging more new entrants, lowering any entry barriers and lowering the cost per bird of entry.
During the two years following the introduction of the QTS in 2014 there were 15 new entrants. Four of these were entrants selected under NEQLP and 11 were new entrants attracted without program assistance.
The review of new entrant numbers, policy developments and feedback from the consultation process all supported the conclusion that the factors and pressures that led to the NEQLP had been removed or overcome.
Based on the review of the five years of operation of the NEQLP, EFO moved to develop a new approach for encouraging new entrants called the New Entrant Support Team (NEST) focused on supporting the business information and business connection needs of potential new entrants.
The quota access and transparency provided by the QTS and the stability and predictability provided by the layer leasing pool mean the needs of new entrants are now focused on accessing excellent egg and pullet business information, business connections and the strong support network that exists in the sector and the NEST approach was developed to meet that need.
Elements of the information and support team concept to support this approach include resources identifying and outlining the roles, responsibilities and contact information for all stakeholders in the sector.
The mission of Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) is to provide customers with a supply of safe, high-quality eggs at a fair price and a return to egg and pullet farmers achieved through fair farm pricing, within a stable national supply management system.
EFO is a non-profit organization that represents the over 400 egg and pullet farm families in the province, representing approximately 40% of the total egg production in Canada (260 million dozen eggs annually). Its mandate is to provide consumers with a guaranteed supply of safe, high-quality eggs at reasonable prices. This is accomplished through the efficient management of the production of eggs, research, product promotion and ongoing marketing activities. It is a self-governing farming organization - not a government body or department. It is funded entirely by egg farmers. Each farmer pays a fee on every dozen eggs sold and these funds are used to support the activities of the Ontario and Canadian egg system.
Operating under fair farm pricing, EFO estimates how many eggs will be needed annually and sets production levels so the right amount will be produced. It also sets the price paid to egg farmers based on actual costs to produce eggs.
Efficient production of safe, high-quality eggs is a result of a number of programs and practices developed after years of research. These include an approved Code of Practice for Laying Operations (covering cage size, lighting, ventilation, water and feed, waste removal and pest control), mandatory bacteria testing of the layer operations, a standardized safety and quality program and regular on-farm inspections to monitor quality and safety standards with audits performed by an independent third party.
See more about Egg Farmers of Ontario:
Perishable staple food products with long planning cycles (12 to 24 months) but relatively short shelf lives, such as eggs and milk, are inherently unstable markets if they are not managed. Stability of supply and prices in these markets is critical public policy for consumers, governments and farmers worldwide.
About 95 per cent of global egg production and 93 per cent of global milk production are consumed in the same country where they are produced. Against this reality, almost all developed countries use specialized systems to manage and stabilize these markets, often with a complex web of subsidies, government buy-back programs, price supports and many others in countless combinations.
Canada chose a subsidy-free approach through fair farm pricing under a supply management system. In the 1960s and 70s, Canada’s egg industry was plagued by chronic overproduction and unstable prices. The government introduced supply management as a way of stabilizing the egg market for consumers, while providing farmers with fair returns.
Egg farmers operate their businesses in a fair farm pricing system where farmers produce enough eggs to meet consumer demand. A national egg production target is first set and farmers in every province work to meet this target. They guarantee a stable supply of eggs to feed Canadians in exchange for a fair price for their product.
Because production is matched closely with demand, overproduction and waste are avoided. Farmers can earn fair and stable incomes directly from the market, not from subsidies.
Supply management promotes the steady production of high-quality eggs. It's a sustainable agriculture system that encourages consumption of local products. It allows egg farmers to earn a living from farming, not from taxpayer dollars.
This is a sustainable food marketing system that ensures stability of egg supply from the farm to the processing sector to the consumer and guarantees that enough eggs will be available to meet Canadians' needs.
To learn more, check out the following videos:
Overview of Fair Farm Pricing:
Overview of the 3 pillars to Fair Farm Pricing:
In Ontario, EFO is authorized to establish the farm price for the eggs produced in the province. This is done using a Cost of Production (COP) formula and other relevant criteria. Prices are adjusted as costs increase or decrease.
The COP approach ensures egg and pullet farmers are paid fair prices based on the actual cost of production that includes a fair return for their labour and investment. The COP survey is updated and costs are tracked with prices adjusted as costs increase or decrease. Egg farmers don’t take money from government. Egg farmers get returns directly from their egg sales.
Check out the following video for more information on the COP and how supply is determined to meet the demand:
Current prices can be found here or on the Operations Page of the EFO website.
Anyone interested in becoming a registered egg farmer in Ontario must obtain quota in order to produce eggs, as well as adhere to all of EFO’s rules and regulations.
Click here to learn about Ontario’s Quota Transfer System (QTS).
The idea behind the NEST approach is that individuals and businesses are in a stronger position to succeed when they have a strong network of people or a strong support team in place. The local point to access this network is by contacting one of the members of EFO’s Board of Directors. They will be happy to act as a mentor, deal with any initial questions and direct to others that can help as required.
Visit the Get Cracking website to see the Egg Team.
There are a number of resources from government and also from within the sector, associated businesses and suppliers that are available to assist and answer questions. These can be invaluable resources when developing your plan.
Business Information Bundle for New Farmers: http://omafra.gov.on.ca/english/busdev/newentrant/newent.htm
Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pullets and Laying Hens: http://www.nfacc.ca/pdfs/pullets_and_laying_hens_code_of_practice.pdf
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Resources: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/ag.html
Poultry Industry Council: http://www.poultryindustrycouncil.ca/
Grand Valley Fortifiers - http://www.grandvalley.com/
Fleming Feed Mill (Clinton) – 519-482-3438
Floradale Feed Mill Limited - http://www.ffmltd.com/
Hensall District Co-op - http://www.hdc.on.ca/
Masterfeeds - https://masterfeeds.com/
New Life Mills - http://www.newlifemills.com/
Purina Mills - https://www.purinamills.com/
Shur-Gain - http://www.nutrecocanada.com/shur-gain/
W-S Feed & Supplies Limited - http://www.wsfeeds.ca/Poultry-Chicken_Feed-Southwestern_Ontario.html
Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd. - http://www.wfs.ca/general_feed_information.html
CFIA Approved List of Grading Stations
Burnbrae Farms - http://www.burnbraefarms.com/
L.H. Gray & Son Limited - http://www.grayridge.com/
Nutrigroupe - http://nutrigroupe.ca/business-unit/ontario-pride-eggs/
Ontario Hatcheries Association – 519- 669-3350
Archer’s Poultry Farm Ltd. - http://www.archerspoultry.ca
Bonnie’s Chick Hatchery Ltd (Elmira) – 519-669-2561
Frey’s Hatchery Ltd. - http://www.freyshatchery.com/
McKinley Hatchery (St. Marys) – 519-284-1790
Pullets Plus Inc. - http://pulletsplus.com/
Big Dutchman – http://bigdutchmanusa.com/
Brian’s Poultry Service (Mildmay) – 519-367-2675
Clark Ag Systems - http://clarkagsystems.com/index
Meller Poultry Equipment (Jarvis) - 519-587-2667
Valli - http://www.valli-italy.com/