My dad and uncle are chicken farmers, and together they raise chickens for Maple Lodge, a poultry company affiliated with the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO). I chose to focus one of my school assignments on the CFO, and after doing extensive research and learning about the company, I thought I would share my findings here on my blog.
The following blurb is copied and pasted directly from my assignment, and the information depicted in this excerpt is derived from the CFO website, https://www.ontariochicken.ca/Home.aspx.
The Ontario chicken industry encountered tremendous financial trouble in the late 1950s due to over-construction, over-production and a lack of collective planning. These conflicts forced processors and farmers to encounter significant financial losses and nearly caused the industry to fail. Local farmers reached out to the Ontario Broiler Growers Association (OBGA) for assistance and gave the OBGA instructions to work to adopt a more efficient system in order to correct their flawed system.
In March of 1965, Ontario chicken farms put their desire for a more efficient system to vote, with 631 farmers voting in favor of a new system and 108 voting against. The majority vote encouraged the Government of Ontario to approve the development of a chicken marketing board and allow said board to regulate the amount of chicken produced in Ontario to avoid overwhelmed markets and poor prices. The Ontario Chicken Producer’s Marketing Board was established on April 26th, 1965, and in 1979 the Canadian Chicken Marketing Agency, now known as the Chicken Farmers of Canada, was established, allowing the Chicken Farmers of Ontario to develop into its own independent system.
Today, the Chicken Farmers of Ontario is recognized for their commitment to profitable growth, positive governance, sustainability, constant innovation, and responsibly providing supply management leadership. The CFO represents over 1300 family-run farms that ensure Ontario consumers have access to a reliable supply of safe, healthy, high-quality Ontario-grown chicken. The CFO’s head office is located in Burlington, Ontario, and the CFO as an organization supports over 19,000 full-time, local jobs.
Chicken grown and raised for the CFO occurs on family-owned and operated farms located throughout Ontario. When new crops arrive at barns, chicks are delivered from hatcheries when they are one day old, and the crop has constant access to a healthy feed mix composed of corn and soybeans and further clean water throughout their five to eight-week growing cycle. Farmers growing for the CFO abide by strict biosecurity protocols to ensure the health of their crops, and all chicken grown for the CFO is free of hormones and steroids. Farmers raising poultry for the CFO are required to meet all national and Ontario on-farm food and biosecurity standards, animal care regulations and farm worker safety program requirements and are further regularly audited to ensure they adhere to the CFO’s mandatory quality assurance programs.
I find the chicken industry to be fascinating, and I hope to remain involved with my father’s and uncle’s barn in the future.