Chicken, egg farmers still looking for trade package

A package for dairy farmers was announced before the current federal election

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Chicken and egg farmers continue to wait for a trade compensation package, which they had hoped to see before the current federal election.

Their supply management cousins in dairy got the announcement they were looking for with a $1.75 billion package that will pay out $345 million in the first year of the seven-year program.

Why it matters: Poultry farmers were also affected by the amount of their market that was given away in recent trade deals and expect compensation if dairy farmers received some.

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Trade deals with Pacific nations, the Comprehensive Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership and the United States, the CUSMA, have increased access to the Canadian chicken market to 10.8 per cent, up from 7.5 per cent.

The CETA trade deal with Europe doesn’t include any market access for chicken or eggs, but it did include significant access for dairy products.

Unlike dairy farmers, poultry farmers have yet to see any results of a compensation process that started at the same time for dairy farmers as for poultry and egg farmers. The federal government brought together working groups for dairy and poultry and eggs earlier this year. The poultry proposals were submitted in April.

“We’re very familiar with the deal with dairy farmers,” says Michael Laliberté, executive director of Chicken Farmers of Canada. “We’re very disappointed they didn’t make announcement for poultry farmers before the dissolution of parliament.”

The concern with the lack of an announcement before the election is that a new government could change the commitment to compensation, promised by the Liberal government.

Laliberté says the poultry request included two areas of funding. Unlike the dairy funding, none was for unstipulated direct payment to chicken and egg farmers.

The largest area of request was for an investment program that would go to chicken farmers who needed the money to grow their businesses and make them more efficient.

The second area was for a market development program that could help poultry farmers build market demand by Canadians for chicken raised here.

“We know that Canadians want to eat local food, Canadian product, so there’s a need for us to promote our product domestically,” he says.

Laliberté says that the Chicken Farmers of Canada was encouraged to see the government support farmers with the dairy deal, and to hear the government say in announcing the dairy deal that it would not allow any more market access for supply managed commodities in future deals.

Most of the world’s major dairy exporters are now covered in the existing CETA, CPTPP and CUSMA deals. However, the federal government is now negotiating with the South American groups of countries known as Mercosur. Among those countries is Brazil, the world’s largest chicken exporter, which causes concern for chicken farmers.

Chicken production has shown healthy growth over the past several years, but Lalberté says that growth won’t likely continue at three to four per cent over the longer term. One to two per cent per year is more likely.

About the author

Editor

John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig

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