CFO to grow local food communities with new ‘Artisanal Chicken’ program launch

BURLINGTON, ON - July 28, 2015 - Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) has announced a portfolio of new programs that will support expanded business opportunities for chicken farmers and offer Ontario consumers even more choice in accessing locally grown, high quality chicken. The new business opportunities were developed following the recent farmer, public and industry ‘Allocating Growth’ consultations, and includes an ‘Artisanal Chicken’ program which will appeal to smaller, independent, family farmers looking to meet local markets.

“CFO is continually looking to meet the changing needs of Ontario chicken consumers and markets,” said Henry Zantingh, Chair, Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “This new program will help farmers fill local food and seasonal markets and will give Ontario consumers more choice and options in how and where they buy locally grown chicken.”

The new portfolio of programs were developed by CFO following six months of extensive consultations and reviews during which CFO and its Team Ontario partners solicited input from a wide range of stakeholders including farmers, the chicken processing industry, the retail and food service sectors, and members of the public.

“CFO is focused on finding new ways to support the growth of a local chicken industry, increase job opportunities across the province and ultimately to provide fresh ideas to grow Ontario,” noted Rob Dougans, President and CEO of CFO.  

The new ‘Artisanal Chicken’ program is directed at those farmers who are interested in growing between 600 and 3,000 chickens annually (through a production licence) for select target markets such as local farmer markets. Details on a new ‘Local Niche Markets’ program for farmers wishing to raise more than 6,000 birds will also be announced in coming months along with other program updates. These new CFO market opportunities will be supported by a portion of future production growth allocated to Ontario through the national supply management system. 

In addition, the existing CFO small flock program for those farmers growing under 300 birds per year has been renamed the ‘Family Food’ program in order to better reflect the intention of the program. The current average “Family Food’ chicken farmer in Ontario grows approximately 65 birds a year. The full list of new, expanded and revised programs will be outlined on the CFO website at ontariochicken.ca as they become available.

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Michael Edmonds
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