Chicken agency farms out five-year plan

The directors of the national marketing agency for chickens took a radically different approach in 2008 to develop their new five-year plan.

Rather than working on it themselves, as they had done for the two previous five-year plans, they decided to “outsource” the task and struck an external steering committee to do the work.

That steering committee then involved a group of 40 people from all facets of the chicken industry to review its proposals.

That happened during the annual Poultry Industry Show at London, Ont., in late spring 2008. The feedback from those consultations prompted refinements, then a presentation to the board of directors of Chicken Farmers of Canada in June.

By August, that board was ready to adopt the plan and in October it laid out the action plan for the remainder of 2008 and for 2009.

That’s the first stage for implementing the five-year plan. There will be new action plans every year, “and there will be adjustments as we go along,” said general manager Mike Dungate. “For example, we made big adjustments when there was the first outbreak of avian influenza” in British Columbia in 2004.

One of the major changes in this five-year plan is expanding industry risk management. That used to be about food safety, Dungate said, but now the term covers a much broader spectrum of risks, including financial risks. Other aspects are national and provincial emergency response plans, biosecurity protocols, traceability extended to the feed level, premise identification, foreign animal disease surveillance and contingency supply protocols.

Another change is from “consumer preferences” to “consumer expectations” for quality and variety, animal care and the environment.

Some of the other main elements of the five-year plan are market development, system performance – that is, to “optimize the efficiency and competitiveness of the Canadian chicken industry” – and organizational capacity, meaning “a strong national organization… (able) to bring the chicken industry together to develop consensus approaches to industry issues.”

The agency has made its plan a public document.

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