If just the mention of chicken wings and chicken sandwiches make you hungry, you’re going to want to hop onto this edition of RealAg LIVE!

Chicken Farmers of Ontario’s Mike Nailor joins host Shaun Haney for an interesting discussion on how the chicken value chain works, how the value chain adapted to COVID-19 changes, and who makes the best wing flavours.

Don’t miss an episode of RealAg LIVE! A new Q&A goes live, weekdays at 3 pm Eastern!

SUMMARY

  • Mike is BACK at Chicken Farmers of Ontario
  • He’s interim CEO
  • Chicken versus egg production
  • Eggs and chicks too, then turkeys — there are several different groups!
  • There are about 1,300 chicken producers in Ontario
  • Slight uptick in membership
  • Cost to entry can be a barrier
  • There is a new entrant program
  • Once accepted, there’s training and mentorship
  • And a loan of quota (14,000 quota units needed. 4,000 must be bought). Then “paid” back over 15 years
  • Best chicken wings? Hot butter from the Fat Duck in Guelph (sambal seasoning)
  • Competition between proteins? Grow the (meat) pie!
  • But definitely compete with beef, pork, and plant-based protein
  • Plant-based isn’t the same focus in chicken circles vs beef
  • But supply management (and its pillars, including trade) and COVID-19 dominated this year
  • What’s the path forward in COVID?
  • The livestock industry was in the same boat as most others and had not planned for a human disease outbreak
  • Experience and planning for a livestock-based outbreak was time well spent, however
  • Trend line is up and has been up for some time, and COVID has not changed that, BUT how people consume chicken is changing
  • KFC, Mary Brown’s Chicken, food service, etc., had extra chicken, but retail was short
  • How food was packaged changed (larger flats of eggs, larger wings, larger cuts of chicken)
  • CP-TPP and UMSCA have allowed for more access to Canada’s market, and that added supply isn’t regulated as to when it happens, so can disrupt supply
  • Spent hens can enter Canada with a very low or no tariff, and some was coming across the border as spent hens (low quality) but was really chicken
  • Chicken barns need heat — how does the carbon tax impact farmers?
  • Because of supply management, there IS a means to update the margin but it’s a lag between now and when the consumer price index updates
  • Best fast food chicken sandwich? Popeyes’! Or was it Mary Browns’?

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