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Egg farming in Canada, A way of life, still…

Egg farming in Canada, A way of life, still…
Canadian egg farmers operate under a system of Supply Management that ensures the needs and requirements of both farmers and consumers are met. The system is run by the farmers who agree to regulation of sales of their product in exchange for receiving a fair return.

The system was adopted in Dec. of 1972 in response to the turmoil that plagued the egg farming industry in the 60s and put many farmers out of business. Under the Supply Management system, egg farmers are organised in Provincial boards that collectively form the Egg farmers of Canada. The Role of EFC is to manage the supply of eggs, promote eggs and develop national standards for egg farming. The pillars of the supply management system are control of production and imports, and periodically determine the cost of production to ensure farmers are compensated fairly. Stability in the egg market promotes sustainability, as a result in 2013 there were 1021 egg producers in Canada with an average farm size of 22,255 layers, highlighting the family nature of egg farming. The farms are distributed over 11 provinces and territories, as shown in the table below:

Farmers and average ock size per province

1 Reported data for 2013.
2 Reported data for 2013.
Excludes inventory for Eggs for Processing and special permits

Production is allocated under quotas distributed within the provinces; additional allocations are added in response to increase in consumption, as illustrated in the table below:

Federal quota allocation (dozens)

source: 2013 EFC annual report

In addition to the gures above, there are allocations for vaccine (635 thousand doz.), distributed between Ontario and Quebec.

The market for eggs in Canada has continued to grow, this will be the seventh consecutive year showing increase in retail egg sales, prompting the quota allocation increases referred to in the table above. Programs are adopted to encourage new entrants and help them to become sustainable egg producers, as well as involving younger generations in the family farm business. The egg market in Canada is mainly a white egg market, with white eggs representing more than 90 % of the eggs sold, although the brown egg market has shown some growth lately due to the increase in popularity of alternative housing systems as well as organic ocks.

Canadian egg farmers promote egg consumption through communicating their values to key audiences, and through the practice of social responsibility. Canadian farmers contribute generously and get involved in social programs and charities in their local communities, as well as over-seas as far as Africa. The Board of Directors role is to provide leadership and vision for the Egg Farmers of Canada in key areas of interest, such as sustainability of the industry, public support and social license, and growth and innovation.

EFC invests heavily in research to promote sustainability and growth of the industry through innovation, with focus on human health and nutrition in relation to egg products. Other areas of focus are poultry health and welfare, in that regard animal care and well-being has become a major focus lately. It partners with research and teaching institutions with the aim of developing factbased responses and initiatives. The EFC also champions and supports vital programs like the Animal care, the Start Clean-Stay Clean™, Traceability, and the National Quality Code for Canadian Eggs, which recently received a funding boost as part of $2.2 million grant from the federal government to the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) to update and develop poultry codes of Practice.

Never the less, the greatest success of the Supply Management system is to satisfy the demands of the Canadian egg consumer while allowing egg farmers to maintain their Way of Life … Position of LOHMANN in the Canadian egg-market Since their introduction into Canada in 2001, LOHMANN birds have enjoyed continued growth in popularity, dominating the market in egg numbers and egg quality. The market share for LSL Lite has far exceeded any other breed in the market, due to its impressive return over cost. Similarly, with the market for brown eggs headed up lately, LOHMANN BROWN LITE is gaining market share as well, as producers become familiar with it. LOHMANN chicks are available through a network of ve independent distributors oering products and services to egg producers across Canada. The large investments that LOHMANN made in primary breeding facilities in the past two years further arms LOHMANN’S commitment to the layer market in Canada and North America, and raises hope for an even brighter future.

Khalil Arar

Source: Nielsen Markel Track, Total Eggs–National
52 weeks ending Dec. 14 2013, Dec. 15 2012, Dec 17 2011, Dec. 18 2010, Dec. 19 2009, Dec. 20 2008