Significant changes are coming to Ontario’s rules regarding small-scale chicken production.

Until now, any individual could raise up to 300 birds per year under the Chicken Farmers of Ontario small flock program, a program with the intention of allowing families to raise a few chickens for themselves without requiring the purchase of production quota.

Fancy ChickenExpanding business opportunities in Ontario and a thriving local market, however, has prompted CFO to launch an ‘Artisanal Chicken’ program allowing those farmers interested in raising between 600 and 3,000 chickens annually (through a production license) for select target markets such as local farmer markets, says CFO.

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, says CFO.

The existing cap of 300 birds has been renamed the ‘Family Food’ program in order to “better reflect the intention of the program,” says CFO.

“CFO is continually looking to meet the changing needs of Ontario chicken consumers and markets,” says 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 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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