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Friday, November 29, 2013

Aaron's Eggs

I previously Blogged about Aaron Hiltz's dilemma.  More and more customers want to buy eggs produced by his green grass patured chickens.  However, the Nova Scotia Egg Producers ("NSEP") have laws that limit Aaron to just 100 chickens unless he buys expensive (Aaron say unaffordable) egg quota.

Aaron currently has 700 chickens on his farm, 100 who are legal, and 600 who are illegal immigrant chickens without papers.  So far, drone airplanes owned by CIA, NSA, or RCMP have not yet been spotted  circling Aaron's farm.  However, NSEP has charged Aaron with harboring illegal chickens, which could result in a fine of up to $6,000

Aaron seems to have done a pretty good job of lobbying for himself and other small flockers.  In his latest CBC Radio interview, Aaron outlined another proposal for compromise between NSEP and small flockers.  Aaron's latest plan is modeled on the pastured chicken settlement in Nova Scotia about 20 years ago.  Then, small flockers wanted to go after the specialty market, but couldn't without quota.  Quota-bearing chicken farmers weren't interested as they were already fully invested in their chicken factories, and weren't interested in cannibalizing and competing against themselves so as to respond to consumer demand; they considered pastured chicken a ridiculous fad.  The #ChickenMafia knew better than all others.

A fight broke out twenty years ago, and it was eventually settled by small flockers becoming licensed to supply this niche market for pastured chicken.  Now, Aaron quotes a few interesting statistics about Nova Scotia's chicken factories vs. pastured poultry:
  • There are 84 quota-bearing farmers who run NS's chicken factories under NSEP rules.
  • NS chicken factories typically have 10,000 to 20,000 hens.
  • Some chicken factories in Canada have as many as 400,000 hens on a single chicken factory farm
  • Pastured chicken in NS has 0.5% market share, produced by 35 small flock farmers.
  • If the chicken factory model is used for all chicken production in NS, the farmer count would go from the current 84 farmers to a grand total of 85 (1 extra farmer)
  • If the small flock model was used to produce all of NS chicken, the number of farmers would go from 119 (84+35= 119) to about 7,000 farmers.
  • Aaron asks which model makes more sense when we need more jobs, and need to strengthen our rural economy?
It may be that we can't find 7,000 farmers to fill all the theoretically available slots in NS.  Some consumers may decide that they don't want pastured poultry, so not all of the chicken factories will ever go totally away.  But, why oh why can't small flockers be allowed to slowly grow and prosper, and achieve their full destiny?

The same questions apply equally well to Ontario, and every other Province.

The #ChickenMafia may argue that they produce a far better quality and cheaper meat in their chicken factories.  I suggest that the customers of the pastured poultry farmers think otherwise.  Unfortunately the  customers of pastured poultry are not consulted.  The #ChickenMafia isn't interested in the customer's silly notions about chickens living in grassy pastures.  The #ChickenMafia knows what's good for all customers, as well as themselves.  Their arrogance is self-preserving for their government induced monopoly.

Aaron suggests that the #EggMafia could start to evolve in the same direction as what the #ChickenMafia did 20 years ago.

Two days ago, it was announced by NSEP that they were rolling out a new program for small flock farms.  The quota exempt limit would be raised from 100 hens to 200, and a total of 2,000 free hen quota would be leased amongst 4 new farmers through a lottery system (500 hens per farmer).  If aaron enters the lottery and wins, he'd be allowed 700 hens maximum; exactly the same number of hens he currently has.  Isn't it interesting how these numbers magically work out!

Of course, if Aaron loses the draw, he will have to reduce his flock to just 200 birds; a 71.4% drop.  Ouch!

SFPFC received a nice email yesterday from Honorable Leo  Glavine, Nova Scotia's Minister of Health and Wellness:
Good Day Glenn,

I want to thank you for your very informative email on why the farming commitment of Arron for a healthier product should be given support and therefore a change in the regulations. I have been involved in this case for some months and I am pleased that our Minister of Ag has moved quickly and I think Arron will be pleased with the 500 level quota. This is a positive step and hopefully entry to the program will be smooth and beneficial to Arron and others.

Thank you for your advocacy....

Leo Glavine Minister of Health and Wellness..
 I know there were a lot of people pulling for a reasonable solution to this issue, Minister Glavine included.  I'm glad that SFPFC could play a tiny role in helping a positive outcome to appear.

SFPFC has sent an email to Minister Glavine, as well as Honorable Minister Keith Colwell, Minister of Agriculture for Nova Scotia, thanking him for his assistance, support, and/or urgency that he gave to this situation for all small flockers, the people of Nova Scotia, and Aaron.

It is no doubt that this move by NSEP is significant, appreciated, but microscopic when compared to the magnitude of all the necessary changes that are required.

A small movement could be a strategic retreat by the #EggMafia.  It helps shows they are "reasonable", willing to listen, and reduces the driving force for total overthrow of their monopolistic system.

I'd suggest that 7 similar movements (ie. 6 more) would be needed to say confidently that they're evolving.

Most likely, the #EggMafia's strategy is to make a small movement to placate their critics, yet only slightly more than a token concession, so as to not upset their allies.  Next, they quickly reinforce that new position by underground foundations down to the local bedrock; foundations so massive that no power on earth could force a second movement; in other words, a Maginot Line.

So what does an opponent do when they are facing a Maginot Line?

At the start of World War II, the invading Germans did the same to France's Maginot Line as what the Allies also subsequently did for mountainous fortresses held by the Germans/Italians in Italy, as did the US Marines in the Pacific for the hundreds of island on which the Japanese soldiers were well prepared to defend with their lives; all of them left the enemy alone, left them exactly where they were dug in, kept sufficiently distant so the enemy's weapons were useless, and went around, rendering the enemy and their unbeatable position obsolete.

Question is, if this turns out to be an accurate assessment of the #EggMafia and #ChickenMafia's strategy, how do Small Flocker's best bypass their Maginot Line?

1 comment:

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