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Direct Farm Manitoba wins specialty chicken appeal

Direct Farm Manitoba is pleased with a ruling by the Manitoba Farm Products Marketing Council (MFPMC) earlier this month that orders Manitoba Chicken Producers (MCP) to not charge extra administrative fees for a decade among those participating in its new specialty chicken quota system.

DFM co-ordinated an appeal on behalf of three specialty chicken producers who would have been affected by the additional expense.

DFM voiced numerous concerns with MCP’s new program after it was rolled out last year, but ultimately launched an appeal on the specific grounds that the program’s new fees for participation would force those already raising specialty chicken to either pay more to keep producing, or produce less.

It argued that the new Annual Specialty Quota Program unduly penalized specialty producers now producing more than the program’s 30,000-kg limit, said DFM spokesman Phil Veldhuis.

“We feel that we’ve been heard,” he said. “The council recognized that the producers affected were going to be affected in the way we’d said they would.”

Just three producers wished to put their names forward in the appeal process, but at least a dozen others would have been affected, he added.

The MFPMC decision stated that MCP did not fully account for how the transition would affect existing specialty chicken producers, and that it also didn’t provide enough rationale for either the amount or need for the administration charges it was proposing.

The ruling said the council was concerned that if those producing more than 30,000 kg of specialty chicken were to withdraw, these markets would be underserved.

The MFPMC’s ruling did also state that MCP’s move to adopt new policy “was in general not unreasonable” and that it saw “need to modernize and update the manner in which chicken has been regulated under the former policies.”

Manitoba Chicken Producers was still reviewing MFPMC’s decision last week and declined to comment.

About the author

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Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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