Out-of-province non-farm corporations, are not buying Manitoba egg farms, says Rory Rybuck, general manager of Manitoba Egg Farmers.
“You have to have land, equipment of course, and be an actual farmer,” he said in an interview Sept. 25.
During the national agriculture debate organized by the Canadian Federation of agriculture broadcast online Sept. 24, Kate Storey, a Green party candidate and Grandview, Man., farmer, claimed an Ontario corporation was buying Manitoba egg farms.
“Supply management was supposed to work for family farms,” Storey said. “It was supposed to keep dairy and poultry (production) in the hands of family farmers.
Rybuck said egg production allocated to Manitoba can’t be sold and removed from Manitoba.
Farmers from other provinces can buy egg quota in Manitoba and hire someone to operate their Manitoba barns, but they can’t lease out their quota, he said.
“They are actual bona fide farms,” Rybuck added.
“We do have a handful of farms purchased by people outside the province. That’s been the case for decades really.
“But they have invested in the industry here by building new barns. It could, if I had to hazard a guess, be Burnbrae Farms (Storey was referring to). They are an Ontario family, but again for decades they have invested in grading and processing and production capacity in Manitoba. I’m not sure what she is referencing.”
In an interview Sept. 25 Storey said her comment came in the heat of the moment, and based on complaints she had heard, but couldn’t verify.
However, she said she stands by her criticism of supply management.
The Green party is split on supply management, in part because it restricts farmers from producing raw milk and pastured poultry, Storey said.
“The fundamental issue is we need more people in rural Canada,” she said.
While much of agriculture has been consolidating, the number of Manitoba egg farmers has grown with the demand for eggs, Rybuck said. Since 2009, Manitoba has added 24 new egg farms, including two that will come from an upcoming lottery. The winners will each receive quota for 6,000 laying hens.
The size of Manitoba egg farms is capped at a maximum of 125,000 hens.