Sunday, March 30, 2014

Supply Management Fog

History can teach us why and how things came to be.  Bill C-176, as discussed previously (see Blog Posting Lesson #1: #ChickenMafia History Lesson ) led to the creation of Canada's Supply Management system of today.

An Internet search led me to a submission made to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture re: Bill C-176 - 2 Feb 1971 by the United Grain Growers (“UGG”).  UGG had subsequently donated its historic archives to the University of Saskatchewan Library, Department of Agricultural Economics, who cataloged and listed the documents on the Internet for schmucks like me to find.   If you are a proud schmuck, here is the link:

Box 91, Folder 17, University of Saskatchewan Library, Department of Agricultural Economics, Ref. # KF1718.W55 1971, b24167496, Catalogue # 902001621757
I ordered the document as an Inter-library loan, and 2 weeks later and $10.00 lighter, I have it in my sweaty hands.  Here is UGG's document submitted to the Federal Government in 1971, clearly stating their opposition to Supply Management.  Unfortunately, just about all of their warnings became true over the last 43 years.

Read these 12 pages to better understand why Supply Management is a bad idea, such as:
  • Individual rights
  • efficiency and flexibility from secondary and derivative industries
  • agriculture efficiency
  • geographic proximity between production and use
  • mutually agreed vs. unilateral edicts
  • one size doesn't fit all, there are different needs and issues on a Canada-wide basis
  • protections for the public
  • personal freedoms
  • SM is a powerful solution without a clear problem to solve
  • SM given excessive powers without adequate direction, constraints, supervision, accountability, or oversight
  • SM will have a negative impact on the in-farm and local economy.
  • loss of export sales of commodities
  • SM's market interference
Have we grown up enough in the last 43 years to be able to admit that UGG was right, and the lobbyists for the millionaire farmers were wrong?

If we're not yet ready to admit the obvious truth, when will we be ready?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Local Agriculture wins over Big Food

The United Nations Environment Programme says small farmers are the #1 method for fighting poverty.  Based on this, can the governments of Canada and Ontario, and the Chicken Mafia be more respectful and accommodating towards small flocker’s rights, and the benefits they can produce?

Julie Stauffer did an article on this UN report in the Jan-Feb 2014 issue of Small Farm Canada.  The focus of this UN report, Smallholders, Food Security and the Environment strongly recommends government support of small agriculture.

The UN report provides the statistical proof that a 1% increase in agricultural sector GDP is 5 times more effective at reducing poverty than that same GDP increase in any other sector of the nation’s economy.
The UN economists say the main reason that local agriculture works so well is because it reduces financial leakage.  Local farmers tend to buy local supplies, feed local people, use local services, and hire local people.  The money stays in the community, and goes round and round inside that community.  This local economy focus has been proven effective time and again, one of the most researched successes being the Worgl Experiment in 1922-23 with its use of local currency to further enhance the effect.

In contrast to local agriculture, big, monopolistic agriculture such as the Supply Management Mafia of today crushes the local people into economic slavery, using food as a weapon against the people.  The local people toil and scrape to earn enough to buy the food off the truck that was imported from far away.  Surrendering their hard earned money gets them enough food to live another day, enabling the repeating of this food slavery process again and again.  To maximize the food barons’ monopolistic profits, local expenditures are minimized.  That means the only local jobs are to get the food off the truck, protect it, and sell it; all for the benefit of the food barons.  The local poor stand helplessly and watch as their hard earned money leaves their community.  Their locally produced wealth is captured again and again, taken away as the delicious profits for far away food barons.

The advantages of local agriculture apply equally well to local or domestic manufacturing of cars, big screen TV’s, computers, customer service call centres, and so on.  Local food is orders of magnitude more important, as we must have food every day, while the loss of affordability for big screen TV’s is an inconvenience at worst.  The farther away the goods and services come from, the greater the negative effect on the local economy.  When you buy a cheap big screen TV that was made in China, remember that there are many costs and risks to your local, provincial, and national economy that are not included on the price tag for that cheap TV.  However, these non-agriculture issues will have to be someone else’s crusade on a different Blog.  Here, we focus on small flockers and local agriculture.

While the UN report is mainly focused on the third world and doesn’t specifically mention Canada, there are many neighbourhoods, regions and communities within Canada that live in third world poverty conditions.  If the report’s recommendations are valid for Africa, Asia, Central America, and elsewhere, why won’t their recommendations also work for Canada’s poorest regions, or its poorest people?

I have previously alerted you that 28.8% of Nunavut’s families in Canada’s far North are stuck with food prices higher than what they can afford (see Blog Posting The Chicken Mafia Exposed ).  Many First Nation reserves along the Southern border of Canada have between 33% to over 50% of their families that can’t afford the food they need to feed their families.  Ontario, as a have-not Province in Canada, is 11% worse off than the Canadian average of 7.6% food insecurity.

Council of Canadian Academies' report Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada:   An Assessment of the State of Knowledge finds that people in Nunavut have the highest food insecurity rate
small girl holding a sign at a protest in Nunavut about unaffordable food and food insecurity in June 2002
"I need milk", written in both English and Inuktitut,
during a June 2012 food affordability protest,
from CBC News report on Nunavut food insecurity. 
Obviously, it isn't just milk that is the problem.  She, and
thousands of others could benefit from affordable
dietary protein and fat, such as small flock poultry.
of 68%, higher than any other indigenous population in a developed country.  They also report that 35% of Inuit households in Nunavut do not have enough to eat, 76% of Inuit preschoolers skip meals, and 60% of children have gone a day without eating.

 The hardest hit are the pre-schoolers and their growing bodies.  For Inuit pre-schoolers:
  • 90% have gone hungry;
  • 76% had no food available for 1 or more meal times;
  • 70% don't know when they will get their next meal;
  • 70% live in food insecure households;
  • 60% have gone a full day without eating;
  • 31% are moderately food insecure;
  • 25% are severely food insecure.
While Nunavut is the current extreme that has now been better documented for all to see, there are many other areas of Canada that are in a significant crisis, perhaps as bad or worse than Nunavut.  To know for sure, all we have to do is go out there, then look, listen, and report.

Most Canadian families are forced to “dumb down” their grocery purchases, leaving the more nutritious foods on the grocery store shelves.  They feel forced to make the choice for less nutritious foods, in favour of paying the electric bill, the gas bill, and their mortgage.

So I ask Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development; and MP Leona Aglukkak, Minister of the Environment, Minister for the Arctic Council, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and former Minister of Health; and Chicken Farmers of Canada the following questions:
  1. Since importation of foods to remote communities build dependencies, hurts self-sufficiency, hurts local economies, and make nutritious food even more unaffordable, do you support the principle of helping ensure locally produced, nutritious, safe, and affordable food; however and where ever feasible?
  2. Whereas dietary protein and fat are essential constituents of a healthy diet, and whereas poultry are the most efficient and affordable source of locally produced protein and fat that is feasible for all regions of Canada, do you support the development and encouragement of local poultry production for all communities and regions of Canada?
  3. Whereas the UN report, Smallholders, Food Security and the Environment strongly recommends government support of small agriculture, do you support the development and encouragement of small flock poultry farms as a solution for all regions of Canada, especially remote areas?
  4. What specific actions have you personally taken, and your organization taken to support or advance local food and food security in Canada?
Remember, these are the people who continue to administer the Supply Management system for chicken that charges 300% more for chicken in Canada than the world price charged everywhere other than Canada. 

Is there nothing more than callous disregard for the people of Canada when the big wig Board members of CFO (Chicken Farmers of Ontario) meet around their fancy solid oak board table?  It is human nature for these millionaires to take care of themselves first and foremost; I get that.  However, even in the Dark Ages, the King would throw the odd hunk of meat to the floor for the dogs, or sweep the crumbs from the table so that the mice might live another day.  I have been assured that Caesar did the same in Imperial Rome, and Pharaoh did the same for his Israelite slaves.

Where is the Provincial and Federal Cabinet on these issues?  The Ministers of Agriculture are expected to take care of their portfolio, and bring pressing issues before the rest of the Cabinet.  If those Ministers of Agriculture fail to speak, the rest of the Cabinet will incorrectly assume that all is well.  In Ontario’s case, the Premier and the Ag. Minister are one in the same, Kathleen Wynne.  I assume it would be difficult for Ontario’s Ag Minister not to have the ear and attention of the Premier.

Well, for anybody who is reading, let me tell you:   ALL IS NOT WELL!   Pass the word.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

We're Rich, We're Rich ! ! !

Receiving a letter yesterday from Egg Farmers of Ontario ("EFO") was ominous.  I thought, what now?  After opening the EFO letter, I laughed, then shouted out, "I'm rich!"

EFO has been taking advantage of the SR&ED tax break worth $99,075.90 (Scientific Research & Experimental Development) through PIC (Poultry Industry Council for Research & Education).

As a small flock egg producer, we had some excess eggs that we transported to the nearest egg grading station we could find, OK Egg Farm in Elmira ON, 604 km 1-way 

View Larger Map

The folks at OK Egg Farm were very patient with me.  As a small flock egg producer, I had no clue how their quota-based egg grading systems worked.  We eventually got our eggs transferred to their tray systems and awaited our miniscule cheque.

I can't remember the exact amount, but it was around $1.75 per dozen for 80 dozen, for a gross income of about $140.00 less $0.50/km x 1,208 km for a delivery cost $604.00 for a net loss of $464.00 as a penalty for not selling all our eggs.  Based on this 1-time "dumping" of excess eggs, we were included in EFO's SR&ED lottery.  Our share of this SR&ED pot of gold was $0.03 grand total.  We get to claim this $0.03 on our income tax by filling out many CRA forms and possibly hiring an accountant.

By the way, EFO spent $0.63 in postage sending me notice of this $0.03 benefit.  The funniest part of all.

Rather than taking our excess eggs for a 604 km drive, it would be better to use our eggs for target practice on the side of the chicken coop, rather than going to the nearest grading station.  The challenge of small flock egg producers located in remote areas.

Monday, March 17, 2014

50,000 & Climbing: Bring on the Fight for Freedom

Small Flocker's Blog has now passed 50,000 pageviews.

Upon the British Navy asking him to surrender, John Paul Jones (1747 - 1792), Father of the US Navy replied,

"I have not yet begun to fight"

And so it is with Small Flockers.

Spread the word.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Factory Farm Antibiotics

Q:   How did farmers get addicted to feeding antibiotics to their farm animals?

A:   Money

In a recent New York Times article, The Fat Drug, we get a history lesson on how Lederle Laboratories started feeding its antibiotic Aureomycin to chickens to test it effects in 1948.  The chickens who got their regular feed plus the antibiotic grew faster, and gained twice the weight of the control group.

Faster and greater weight gain is equivalent to money.  Further testing on pigs, cows, and sheep proved it was universal.  Soon, they learned that they could keep the expensive drug for humans willing to pay the big price, but the waste products produced during the manufacturing of the antibiotics were equally potent for the animal feed supplement market.  The drug manufacturing wastes that previously had to be disposed at additional cost could now be sold to farmers as a feed additive; thereby giving the pharmaceutical companies a double dip of profits.

It was a marriage made in heaven.  Farmers couldn't get enough of it.

Unfortunately, few thought about the negative consequences or side effects; neither for the animals, nor those humans who would eventually eat those animals as food.

We know that there are about 1,100 different species of bacteria in the human gut around the world.  Most of those species are localized to certain geographical regions, groups, or families.  Each individual has a sub-set of around 150 species in their gut.  Those species form a community of around 100 Trillion bacteria in the typical human gut; called a microbiome.  Most of these bacteria need very specific growing conditions, and are unable to live a normal life outside the human gut, nor away from all the other microbes in the gut.

E.coli is one of the exceptions to this rule, and is quite happy living anywhere as long as you feed it.  That is why it becomes a problem when our food or hands become contaminated with E.coli.  We tend to be infected by huge colonies of E.coli that overwhelm the microbiome in our gut, giving us food poisoning.

Over time, as the experiment continued, tragic failures with many victims taught us some of the consequences for the farmer's greedy actions.  The government soon passed regulations about drug withdrawal times, so that minimal or no antibiotic residue could be found in the meat.  However, the meat that was grown under this antibiotic-induced altered state still remains on the animal.  How has the meat been changed by these life-long dosing of antibiotics?

Changing the gut changes everything.  For example, there is a recognized human medical treatment called Fecal Bacteriotherapy, or "stool transplant".  This is where stool (ie. feces) is transferred from one person to another so as to inoculate their bowl with different microbes, so as to help cure the recipient of some disease (eg. treating C. difficile  infections with over 90% success, when all available antibiotics have failed).

It has been found that if you do a stool transplant from a fat person to a skinny person, the skinny person will start to rapidly gain weight.  Similarly, if you do a stool transplant from a skinny person to a fat person, the fat person will rapidly begin to lose weight.  The gut, and the type and strength of microbes present there effect everything else in our bodies.

When farmers are messing with the microbes in the gut of farm animals, it's like the Sorcerer's Apprentice; they have no clue about what they are messing with.  Dr. Blaser and his colleagues have been studying these issues for decades, which will be summarized in their book “Missing Microbes” due out in April 2014.

Remember, there are about 100 Trillion bacteria cells in our gut, but our human body is estimated to have just 37.2 Trillion cells, so "we" (the human cells) are only 27.1% of "WE" (gut bacteria + human cells)   ie. 37.2/(37.2+100)*100%= 27.1%
The normal microbiome of a farm animal is totally disturbed when you feed it antibiotics.  That upset has been found to continue for weeks, months or years after the antibiotic doses have been stopped.  The entire metabolism of the animal is disrupted when antibiotics are fed.  It truly becomes "mystery meat", possibly quite different from what we have evolved and grown accustomed to eating for the last 300,000 years of human existence.

Some of those metabolic changes can be tested for today, but our knowledge is very limited.  A mere 60 years of experience compared to 300,000 years of human evolution is less than a blink of an eye.  We are truly conducting a live experiment with ourselves as the human guinea pig.

Unfortunately, the antibiotics allow faster weight gain, and also allow the raising of the animals in congested, un-natural housing on un-natural feed so as to maximize factory farm profits.  Without these necessary ingredients, factory farms would never exist.

Perhaps we will soon learn our lesson about settling for the cheapest, the lowest common denominator, and the propaganda of Big Food advertising.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Inter-Provincial Trade: BC, AB, and SK

BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan wanted to form the largest barrier-free trading block in Canada.  They almost made it.

They got together to expand and enhance the Canada-wide agreement we previously discussed (see Blog AIT To the Rescue! ).

They built a nice website for the New West Partnership Trade Agreement:

They negotiated and ratified a new trade agreement between their 3 provinces.

Then they choked.

Under Part V of the Agreement, Section K for AB, Section N  for BC, and Section P for SK, each province opted out of free trade from poultry, eggs, and dairy.

We want free trade and co-operation for most things,  but Whooooa! Hold it right there, SM is sacred.  No free trade for SM products.

The lobbyists for SM won again.

Better luck next time, Canadians.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Supply Management Addiction

Have SM Farmers been inadvertently or purposefully addicted to Supply Management?

The American Society for Addiction Medicine has quite a long definition, associated factors, indicators, and other comments on the definition of addiction.  The short definition is:
"Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response."
What this means for SM farmers is that the benefits derived from SM are addictive, you can never get enough, because you are being somewhat passified by the significant benefits received, while what you truly need and want is not available.  The SM benefits are an attempt to fill a bottomless pit in their SM lives.  There is a spiritual vacuum in the lives of SM farmers.  Money is a poor substitute for what they really want and need.

For example, you cannot live on just rabbit meat.  Rabbit starvation is a known disease that causes people to eat more and more rabbit, gorging themselves as they seek to fill the missing nutrient.  No matter how much you eat, it's never enough.

Similarly, it is postulated that SM Farming leads to spiritual starvation for some or most people, but narcissists and psychopaths are probably immune.

Perhaps the SM farmer hates what they have become.  Deep down inside they would like to leave, to escape from their velvet prison; but how?  The family depends upon them.  Everybody in the family as well as many friends and neighbours depend on them for jobs or spin-off business.  Even if it's your plug, and only you are authorized to pull the plug, how do you get the nerve to pull that plug?

Others are envious of the SM farmer, and their facade of benefits, advantages, and lifestyle.  They don't really know what goes on under cover; the limited choices, the never ending expectations, the compromises,  that they are forced to make so as to keep up appearances.

How do you just walk away?

Is there some individual or group out there that is causing or encouraging farmers to become addicted to SM?  Who has the most to gain when another farmer becomes addicted to SM, or the addictions of all SM farmers is continued and strengthened?

SM Farmers must hide and protect their fear of others discovering their true deep feelings.  The SM farmer never misses an opportunity to smile, and tell everyone what a great life they live, got the world by the tail, we're expanding this, and taking advantage of that.  But deep down inside, late at night when everybody else is deep asleep, there are SM farmers laying in bed with their eyes open, staring into their dark bedroom, trying not to think.  Joy is fleeting.  Joy, when it does occur, soon gets swallowed up by the empty nothingness of daily routines. The more they try not to think about it, the more it wells up, just under the surface.  It never comes into the light.  It never surfaces so it can be plainly seen.  However much it hides, its presence can be felt at still times like this, late at night, or during the day for fleeting moments in the barns when careless pauses allows it to flash into consciousness for brief seconds.

These difficult feelings of SM farmers aren't easily, nor morally dismissed as simple greed.  It's more than that.  It's the focus on the current grow cycle and getting through this one day, putting one foot in front of the other.  Secret promises to self are made that tomorrow or next grow cycle will be different.  These promises are quickly made to provide momentary relief, but are just as easily broken, again and again. In reality, there is no relief in sight.  The cavalry isn't coming.  The SM farmer has hidden their grief so well, from themselves and all others, that nobody knows they need to be rescued.  Sometimes, even the SM farmers forgets, but is soon reminded again of the need to escape by some innocent occurrence; each day, and each hour of the day.

To do what you must do to be an SM farmer, you have to focus on yourself.  Sometimes you can try to expand your thoughts and weak justification for what must be done, by projecting the excuse that you're doing it for the sake of your immediate family.  It is too difficult and deadly to concern yourself about the big picture:  the animals, the neighbours, the environment, the downstream supply chain, or the end consumer.  If you think too much, it becomes an unbearable burden that hinders the SM farmer from doing what he must.  Thinking can drive you crazy.

There are 35 different self-help groups, 12-Steps; from alcohol addiction, to chocolate, or whatever.  Unfortunately, there isn't a solution yet for SM farmers.  Maybe soon, someone will discover one, or make one.  Maybe soon.  Maybe, the SM farmer thinks, maybe they can hold on until it's OK to admit, OK to get help, OK to stop pretending.

Breaking an addiction isn't easy.  In spite of the difficulty, addictions are being left behind every day.  Like Jordan Belfort in his autobiography book and now movie Wolf of Wallstreet, Sam Polk was addicted to money.  Sam learned to kick his deadly habit, and is now leading a nutritious food charity,

Listen to Sam Polk's story as he is interviewed on CBC Radio's The Current:

If SM farmers are going to break their addiction, it is suggested that a 7-step process will be necessary.

Seven Steps to Change

  1. I Need   You need to understand that your world has significantly changed.  You can continue to ignore this change, but you cannot ignore the resulting consequences for continuing to ignore this change.

  2. I Want   What's in it for you to admit and embrace the change that has occurred?  What do you really want or need?  There is a cost for every decision, procrastination, action, and inaction you take.  Which consequence and cost are you willing to pay?

  3. I Can   Is it physically possible to do something different?  Has anybody else done it?  Is there a known technique?  Can you borrow an approach that worked in different or similar types of circumstances?  Do you have the necessary resources, or can you get the necessary resources?  This is when you develop a concrete, step-by step plan on how you will escape from your SM farming prison.

  4. I Will   You need to decide to do it, in theory or principle first.  Nobody is forcing you to implement that decision immediately.  You can decide now and delay implementation almost forever.

  5. My Head   Your decision to change is very logical.  Everybody can well understand why you have

  6. My Heart    You get emotional about your previous mis-directed actions and philosophies under SM farming.  You regret your lost time and efforts, and the delay in reaching your new found future vision.  You get very frustrated and emotional as you revisit this time and again.

  7. My Hand   You're finally ready to take specific action to break away from your SM Farming past and embrace your new future with great anticipation.
If any SM Farmer or family members have any questions or clarifications on any of the above, feel free to leave your comments below, or contact us by private and confidential email, phone, letter, or in person visit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Farming Dystopia: Supply Management for Everybody

Many are convinced that Supply Management is the greatest thing that ever happened to farming; even better than sliced bread, or lights on tractors.

When doing system design, I was taught to be careful of scaling up any system.  That means design the system for the specific case that is in front of you today.  To check the feasibility of your proposed design, you need to think to the future as that same system is rolled out from your initial guinea pig through to the last group to implement, then roll the whole system forward in time.  If all of that is still feasible, you likely have a properly designed system.  If the system explodes, or can't be scaled up, then you need a different idea.

For example, the telephone system in North America was growing leaps and bounds in the 1940's.  Everything looked great, string some new wire, hire a few more telephone operators, and make lots more money.  Then one day, somebody calculated how many telephone operators they would need when every home and business had just one phone each.  They would need every woman and girl in N. America, and would have to start bringing in shiploads of women from overseas to staff the switchboards.  Their system couldn't scale.  They needed a new idea.  They invented direct dialing; no operators needed.

Perhaps that same idea needs to be applied to Supply Management.

I assume that the SM5 members (chicken, turkey, egg, dairy, and hatchery) would say it's their God given right to be under SM.

I also assume they wouldn't deny that same right to their fellow farmers.  Therefore, let's assume that all farmers sign up for SM.  After all, what's good for the goose, should be good for the gander.

Will it scale?

When I mentioned this to a few farming friends, Jim said, "That doesn't work.  You see grains, cereals, and stuff like that, they need to export.  You can't be exporting if you're under SM."

Agriculture Canada says the total Agri-food exports from Canada in 2011 was $40.303 Billion.  If Jim is right, and we need to kiss this GDP good-bye if everybody joins SM, that is going to be a big hit to the Canadian economy.  Our total GDP in 2011 was $1.7 Trillion.  Add to that SM hit the spin-off effects (often 2.5 times the main effect, eg. suppliers and mechanics and parts manufacturers no longer needed due to the reduced farming activity), and we have a huge 5.9% hit to Canada's GDP from everybody joining SM.

SM for all would put us into a recession, or possibly a depression.

Median Canadian Farm Incomes, 2010 with SM's chicken & egg
farmers leading the crowd to the bank
OK, if we assume Jim's right, that means no  (or virtually no) farmer will export from now on.  Will it scale?

In a previous Blog posting (see Tail Wagging the Dog ), I showed how chicken & egg SM farmers are living like Kings, the highest paid farmers in Canada.  Here is that graph again (click on graph to make it bigger).  All data originates from StatsCan, analyzed by yours truly.

I find it hard to justify why SM's chicken & egg farmers deserve to lead the pack.  Somebody has to lead, but there is an obvious significant jump that they have taken past their next nearest farming brother (Greenhouse/nursary/floriculture).  How come SM dairy farmers are trailing the pack?  Many questions, too few answers.

If we also assume that everybody is equally deserving as the SM chicken & egg farmers, we should boost all other farm families up the the same median income level enjoyed by the chicken & egg farmers.  In 2011, there were 197,045 farming families in Canada. Multiply through the fraction of farms in each sector, by the SM pay supplement, and we get a total bill of $3.04 Billion for SM Income Supplements that Canadians would have to pay to all SM farmers through higher food prices.

Don't worry about these SM farmers getting caught in a squeeze by rising prices, thereby losing any gains received from the SM Income Supplements.  If grain prices go up suddenly due to grain farmers joining SM, that higher input cost for chicken feed automatically gets reimbursed under SM rules, thereby protecting the chicken farmer.  He couldn't care less how high his costs go, as he is always fully compensated.

Too bad Canadian citizens can't find somebody to fully compensate them, protecting them from rising prices.
2011 Canadian Farm Sector Median Incomes, with calculated SM Supplement
to equalize all farmers to SM's chicken and egg farmers

Annual SM subsidy ($/yr) to various Canadian farming sectors
if all farmers were paid as well as SM's chicken & egg farmers
So as to help selfish greed kick into high gear, here is the extra income that would come to each type of farmer who joins SM.  This is calculated by the difference between actual 2011 median income, and that of SM chicken & egg farmers.  For example, if beef cattlemen joined SM, they should "expect" that they would receive an extra $23,377 per year in SM Supplement income.

Well, beef farmers, what will you do with your $23,377 per year in SM Income Supplement payments if your group joined SM?  A pool in the backyard for the kids?  A down payment on a condo in Florida?  A cruise?  Pay down your FCC loan?

Before we start spending what we can only dream of having, perhaps we need to think about where all this money will come from.  There are 12.438 Million households in Canada.  The SM supplement of $3.04 Billion will have to be paid, so that is $244.41/yr/household in higher food prices.

However, if it's their right to join SM, we need to respect their right and cheerfully accept our fate.

The only other option is to wake up and realize that SM doesn't scale, it's a mistake, it's a bad idea, and rather than have everybody join SM, we need to get everybody out of SM and the system shut down.

That would be progress!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

SFPFC's Ball is in Tribunal's Court

The dirty deed is done!  After almost a year in preparing our case, the Notice of Appeal has been filed with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Tribunal.

I previously posted about our draft Notice of Appeal (see SFPFC's Appeal at the OMAF Tribunal ), and requested suggestions to further improve it.

As usual, sober second thought, eagle eyes and dedication spotted a few mistakes in the draft versions, and raised some additional ideas for putting a few more nails into CFO's coffin.  This process added 14 additional pages to our docket for submission.  I'm sure we could have continued that improvement process for 5 to 7 more rounds, but our time was limited to get in under the 1 year deadline.

Final Version:  SFPFC's Notice of Appeal to OMAF Tribunal, 272 pages, 4.73 MB

The Tribunal is created and controlled under Section 16 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act.  The Tribunal thereby created is authorized and has all the necessary powers under Ontario's Statutory Powers Procedure Act.

Here is the email transmitting and submitting our Notice of Appeal

As stated in the email, I have been informed that there are a number of other interested parties who likely will want to be added as parties to this appeal, intervenors, or attend the hearing, so I have requested that the hearings be held in or near Guelph ON with a hearing room suitable for 200 people.

I assume that CFO will create a huge financial war chest to fund their attack.  According to CFO's 2013 financial statements on page 28, CFO has  $8.8 Million is assets, and a net worth of $6.73 million.  By borrowing from banks or passing an emergency levy to all #ChickenMafia members and friends, they can get a lot more money to fight for a very long time, using the most expensive mercenaries money can buy.

SFPFC has its legal defense fund too.  We have been selling memberships, cutting expenses to the bone to save our pennies, cashing in aluminum cans and glass bottles, etc..  We are proud to announce that we have amassed a grand total of $26.00 ready to apply to financing this important issue.  As you can see, this is truly a David vs. Goliath battle.  Additional donations to SFPFC's legal defense fund can be made if you are so inclined.

If we can achieve more than $100.00 it might be worth opening a SFPFC bank account, rather than using the recycled coffee can sitting on the kitchen counter. 

Typically, these David vs. Goliath legal battles require an almost endless series of roadblocks that will be erected by Goliath (ie. CFO and the #ChickenMafia), and we will be required to provide strict proof and justification of every single point whined about.

CFO has already stated that they plan to contest our right to request a Tribunal hearing, as they see us as frivolous, vexatious, acting in bad faith, raising trivial matters of no importance, and that we have no right or legally justified interest in the matters complained about.  They also mentioned something about my Mom wearing army boot.

If CFO can prove any of those allegations against SFPFC, then the hearing will be over before it starts.

It may go as far as CFO denying that Planet Earth exists, as you can't have a Tribunal hearing if Planet Earth cannot be proven to exist.  Similarly, they may try to deny the existence of such things as chickens, me as a person, SFPFC, and all similar arguments that could possible delay or deny existence or responsibility for their actions.

That system of delay tactics may take a while to get through, including a multitude of preliminary motions, arguments against disclosing documents to us, and many other legal maneuvers; all before we can get to the hearing proper.

While it may seem endless at the time, the delaying tactics by CFO and the #ChickenMafia will eventually come to an end.

While all of the above is likely their plan, we may be pleasantly surprised by their willingness to get right to the meat of the matters.  We'll have to wait and see.

Hopefully, the Tribunal is well aware of their tricks, and won't tolerate them for long.

As soon as I know the date for the hearing, I'll let you know.

In the interim, please pass the word to everyone who might be interested.  Share with them your reasons for being interested.  Help them to understand what is at stake, and what the benefits might be from a positive ruling at this appeal.  We seek justice for small flockers, and to make a better world for all residents of Ontario.

Plan on coming to the hearing.  Bring your popcorn.  It should be an interesting show.

Friday, March 7, 2014

430,000 New Jobs for Ontario

Ontario is a have-not province in need of new, good, full time jobs.

For example, the employment rate for males in Ontario, 15 to 64 yrs. old, seasonally adjusted has been trending down for the last 38 years.  Is it time that our government react?

Here is one sure-fire method to create between 10,000 and 430,000 new jobs in Ontario, almost immediately with a 1-page letter from Premier Wynne at virtually no direct cost to the government.

As Ontario's Minister of Agriculture,  Kathleen Wynne has the authority under  Section 13.(1) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act to issue a government directive on agriculture policy to the various agriculture boards and commissions, including the Farm Products Marketing Commission.

What do you think it would cost for 1 sheet of paper and an hour of the Premier's time to write a letter so as to create up to 430,000 new jobs for Ontario?  Let's say it's $125 for her time, and $2.00 for a sheet of paper, envelope, and stamp for a total of $127.00  which is 0.03 cents per job created.

But we're ahead of ourselves.

Let's look at three possible options available to Minister Wynne.

Option #1:  Small Flockers are Banned

Currently, everybody in Ontario can raise up to 300 meat birds per year (provided your local zoning permits raising chickens) under the small flock quota exemption.

In this option, Minister Wynne orders the banning of small flock poultry farmers and the cancellation of the small flock quota exemption.

Since small flockers are already tyrannized and oppressed, what's a little more abuse in the grand scheme of this country we call Canada?
Figure 1:   Small flock size and number in Ontario
Source:   Chicken Farmers of Ontario

Figure 1 is a chart I received that was originally issued by CFO.  It shows the number of small flocks in Ontario, and the size of those flocks. In another CFO publication, CFO states that most small flockers grow for their personal consumption, and 2/3rd of all small flocks have 50 birds or less.  However, there is strength in numbers, for there were 23,560 small flocks in Ontario in 2010, while there were just 1,026 quota-holders that produce factory farmed foul in Ontario.

Statistically analyzing this data, we determine that small flockers raised 1.005 Million birds in 2010, while quota-bearing chicken farms produced about 192.7 Million birds, so small flockers had just 0.52% of the Ontario grower market.  The average flock size for small flockers was 42.7 birds.  The average quota chicken farm raises 187,813 birds per year.  The smallest available quota farm CFO permits without special permission has 14,000 quota units, so with 6.5 grow cycles per year, the minimum factory farmed foul is 91,000 chickens per year.

If Premier Wynne ordered that small flockers were to be totally banned, the 1.005 Million birds currently produced by small flockers would need to be replaced by the factory farmed foul quota-based system, requiring an extra 5.4 average quota-based chicken factories to be built.  An extra 5 families get a job, while 23,560 small flock farmers are put out of work, for a net job loss of 23,554 jobs in Ontario.  At $127 for the Minister’s 1-page letter, that’s $0.0054 per job lost.

I’m sure CFO supports this option, giving them a guaranteed 100% monopoly, instead of the 99.48% monopoly they currently enjoy and jealously guard.  Therefore let’s call this “CFO’s Plan”.
While Option #1 is good for CFO, it isn't such a good idea for everybody else in Ontario.

Option #2:  Small Flockers are Encouraged & Set Free

Premier Wynne could instruct the FPMC to order Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") to increase the quota exemption for small flock poultry farmers from 300 to 2,000 birds per year per property address. This is what Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada has been lobbying for during the last year.

I suggest, so that CFO and the #ChickenMafia don't cry and whine forever, that a hard limit be set on the small flockers, with an aggregate total maximum for all quota-exempt production to be 10% or less of the total chicken produced in Ontario.  As small flockers expand in their new role, CFO would monitor it, and once the 10% maximum is reached, no more quota-exempt permits.  You can either choose to be quota-exempt, or quota-based; but no double dipping on both sides of the issue would be allowed.  The quota-based factory farmed foul would still have 90% market share guaranteed for themselves.
A 10% market share in 2010 would be 19.27 Million birds per year that would be ear-marked for small flockers.  At the historical average of 42.65 birds per average small flock in 2010, we would need a total of 454,125 small flock farms.  Since we already have 23,560 small flock farms, we therefore enable the creation of 430,461 new jobs for Ontario.

That shift of chicken production to small flockers would be equivalent to 103 quota-based chicken factories.  In 2010, 35 chicken farmers left the quota-bearing factory farm business (ie. farmers die, retire, move away, etc.), so at that rate of natural attrition, the 103 vacancies to make room for small flockers would take about 3 years to occur naturally without anybody being forced out, if we assume natural turnover.  It is highly unlikely that small flockers would expand that quickly, more likely it would take longer; possibly as long as 10 to 20 years to grow into their regained civil rights.  Therefore this attrition and transfer from quota to quota-exempt does not seem to have a logistics or scheduling problem.

What would happen if small flockers exceed this historic flock size of 42.65 birds per farm per year?
If all small flock farmers increased to 2,000 birds per year, that 19.27 Million birds allocated for small flockers would require just 9,685 small flock farms.  Since there are already 23,560 small flock farms as of 2010, that would be a job loss of 13,875 small flock jobs, for a total job loss of 13,978 (quota and quota exempt). 
If instead, we were to make this reassignment of chicken production to be job neutral, we need to keep the current  23,560 small flockers employed, plus add an additional 103 small flockers to make up for the quota-based farmers who will eventually disappear, so the quota-exemption limit should be 818 birds per year per small flock farm; which is better than the current 300 bird limit.

Therefore depending on the average number of birds raised per small flock farms, there could be an end result somewhere between losing 13,978 jobs, to job parity, to gaining an additional 430,461 jobs.  Either way, the cost to implement is $127.00 as a 1-time charge.

Option 3:  Standard Government Job Creation Systems

In a Nov. 2013 press release by Premier Wynne's government they detailed how they "leveraged" (a new politically correct way to say "spent"?) a total of $4.135 Billion to create or protect 45,000 jobs in Ontario.

That comes out to be $91,889 per job.

There's government efficiency for 'ya.

Note that these aren't all new jobs.  That $91,889 is for creating a new jobs, or keep a currently existing job.

Analysis & Conclusions

So there you have it. Premier Wynne can write a 1-page letter and create up to 430,461 new jobs for Ontario almost immediately.

CFO’s Plan:                        $0.0054        per job, with up to 23,554 jobs lost.
Premier's plan:           $91,889.00         per job, with up to 45,000 jobs created or saved
Small Flocker's Plan:          $0.0003     per job, with up to 430,461 jobs created

Sounds like a bargain to create small flocker jobs (ie. cheapest per job, most jobs created).

I guess that's why I'm not in government.  I just don't think the same way as politicians and bureaucrats.

SFPFC's Appeal at the OMAF Tribunal

Our application for appeal at the OMAF Tribunal is finally ready.  Give it a read

Draft #1 of SFPFC's Notice of Appeal to OMAF Tribunal, 272 pages, 4.73 MB

Obsolete:  Draft #0 (original) of SFPFC's Statement of Claim for Appeal to OMAF Tribunal,
                 258 pages, 4.31 MB

If you're not sure what this is all about, read the history here:

March 26, 2013  CFO Chickens Out, Denies Hearing

 June 6, 2013  Off to the Tribunal we Go!

June 10, 2013  Getting Ready: OMAF Tribunal Appeal

Dec. 11, 2013   Is it Tribunal Time?

I'd appreciate brave people stepping forward and giving it a read.  Any errors, suggestions, advice, or other assistance you can offer would be most appreciated.

Please keep us in mind for any donation towards our Legal Defense Fund would be most appreciated.  We cannot yet afford the postage to mail the claim to the Tribunal.  We only have 2 weeks left before our 1 year deadline expires.