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Best wishes to you all for a prosperous 2020! We have much to celebrate as we look forward to the coming year. BC egg production, consumption, and farm cash receipts continue to grow. Through allocations and innovative programs, we will place more birds in barns, increase quota utilization, and strengthen our focus on animal welfare and public trust. BC continues to lead the way in transitioning to non-conventional housing with 40% of our egg production now in non-conventional systems including enriched housing, compared to the national average of 30%.
Strengthening public trust in our industry continues to be one of our most important goals. In BC, we are leading the country in innovative programs that ensure consumers have access to fresh, local eggs and that our hens have the best living conditions in the world. BC Egg’s Barn Fitness Policy and the Specialty Audit are two new programs focused on improving hen welfare and ensuring the people of BC that the eggs they buy at the grocery store are exactly as advertised.
In order to minimize the potential of oversupplying the market, the Egg Farmers of Canada made a small growth adjustment for all provinces in 2020. One of the Board’s first major undertakings in 2020 is determining how to distribute the new allocation of 14,916 hens to BC producers. This small allocation represents 0.45% growth for BC, far smaller than the 6.48% growth of the 2019 allocation. In 2019, BCFIRB approved our innovative three-allocation proposal. This proposal has us committing to allocating 150 birds to each producer who meets the non-conventional housing requirements for this second (2020) allocation. However, to meet this commitment, we would need 21,600 birds so the allocation falls 6,684 quota units short. The Board is presently deliberating and consulting with stakeholder groups to determine how to distribute this small allocation to best meet our sector’s current needs.
The Board of Directors conducted a complete revamp of BC Egg’s Strategic Plan in 2019 which included extensive consultation with stakeholders. We thank you all for your valuable input. The new strategic plan outlines our 10-year vision and the strategic priorities for the next five years. Our Vision is that British Columbians will choose fresh, local wholesome eggs as their go-to protein and we’re going to make that happen by maintaining and enhancing our successful, trusted, supply-managed egg industry in the best interests of stakeholders throughout the province – from farmers to consumers. The strategic plan is focused around these three strategic priorities:
These may be audacious goals but they are achievable. Our farmers need to keep doing what they’ve been doing – caring for their hens so that they continue producing high-quality, delicious eggs every day. With this Strategic Plan, BC Egg will continue to work in the best interests of British Columbians and lead the country with ground-breaking programs. Our transition to non-conventional housing continues to be unsurpassed. While the production and demand for specialty eggs in our province is higher than in the rest of Canada, we will continue to produce commodity eggs using enriched housing to ensure that everyone can afford to eat local, nutritious eggs as their go-to protein.
In closing, I want to thank BC Egg management, staff, directors, and committee members for their outstanding work and to all BC egg producers for their commitment to producing world-class eggs!
Gunta Vitins, B.Sc, B.Ed, MBA