Important information for our Alberta poultry growers

Alberta Chicken Producers act to restrict your rights to purchase chickens!

Alberta Chicken Producers (ACP) is the marketing board that regulates the production of broiler chickens in Alberta. ACP is run by and represents the 250 chicken farmers in Alberta that hold quota. Under the considerable and valuable protection of the supply managed system, these producers have enjoyed growth of almost 500% since 1966. When control was granted to the quota holders in 1966, an exemption was provided for households to grow up to 2000 broiler chickens annually without quota, outside the control of the marketing board, with only some conditions on how the processed chickens can be marketed. This limit of 2000 has not been increased since supply management was introduced in 1966. In contrast, the BC government shared some of the growth with small producers for specialty production and niche markets.

Having failed in the past to secure provincial government support to reduce the current annual exemption of 2000 broilers, ACP has decided to use other means to affect your right to raise chickens. One attempt has been to ask the exempt producers to submit reports while falsely claiming that the regulation required such reporting. Some of this tactic continues to this day with people that grow larger numbers, even though they are within their exemption.

Several months ago, under the pretext of biosecurity, disease control, and ensuring the integrity of the ‘system’, ACP issued an order that creates significant barriers to getting your broiler chicks from a federally registered hatchery like ours: Before placing your order, you will now be required to provide your land location, and sign an attestation that the chicks you are buying will be grown on your own property (in addition to already providing your address and telephone number)! Upon pickup, the board will further require you to identify yourself, personally sign a document to confirm receipt of the chicks.

You, like a vast majority of our customers, probably live in a rural area and depend on getting your chicks through one of our agents (feed dealers), by mail, or courier. In the real world, obtaining the required signatures, if you rely on these routes, creates substantial practical issues. If the board’s requirements are allowed to stand, in addition to driving up the cost, many of you will not be able to meet the mail or courier trucks or rely on a friend or relative to pick up your chicks; you will either have to stop growing your own chickens or be forced to get your chicks from an unregulated hatchery with little or no disease controls programmes in place.

We have taken our concerns to Marketing Council (Government of Alberta oversight body); however, the ACP has threatened that if the imposed requirements are rejected, they will attempt to have the regulations changed to support reinstating the onerous requirements. It is possible that while they are at it, they will once again try to have the exemption limit of 2000 birds reduced.

The 2018 Supporting Alberta's Local Food Sector Act identifies “innovative and dedicated producers […] of all sizes” as a strength of our province’s agriculture and food industry. The Act has a stated purpose to "encourage the development and success of a local food sector throughout the Province...". In opposition to this, the requirements imposed by the ACP will make buying chicks to grow food for your family and your customers more difficult than buying Cannabis!

What can you do? Send a letter to your current MLA and the Honorable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture. You can find your MLA’s contact information at tinyurl.com/pwwftgy. 2019 is an election year, ask your potential MLA how they intend to protect your right to grow your own food. You can also sign the petition that will be available through our website and at the hatchery. It was your action that recently succeeded in stopping an attempt by the Alberta Turkey Producers to reduce your right to grow up to 300 turkeys annually.

Act to protect your rights, before you lose them!