Stop the Alberta Turkey Producers from taking away your right to grow up to 300 Turkeys!
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The Alberta Turkey Producers has included in its regulation review a change to reduce the exemption number allotted for non-quota producers from 300 to 100 birds. The Alberta Turkey Board has not only failed to consult the affected stakeholders, other than the quota holders, but is not considering the adverse effect this would have on the exempt small flock producers and on consumers.
Many small flock producers support a strong supply managed turkey sector; the current 300 bird exemption also helps small flock producers feed their family and make a living. Production costs of their free-range turkeys are higher than more intensively raised birds due to a much longer rearing period, higher feed costs and lack of access to affordable processing. With net profit margins between 10% and 15% any reduction in their ability to raise an adequate number of birds would have a devastating effect on small producers.
There is no evidence that small flock producers pose any risk to raising healthy birds in Alberta. In fact, some evidence shows turkeys raised in small flocks are safer and healthier than those raised intensively in large numbers. Therefore, I strongly defend the practices of small flock producers and their right to continue raising up to 300 turkeys without quota.
The consumers that buy these free-range turkeys are showing there is real demand for an alternately raised turkey. Any reduction in the exemption as a result of this proposed change would leave consumers with less choice.
The Alberta Government’s Bill 7 (Supporting Alberta’s Local Food Sector Act) states that it wants to “encourage the development and success of a local food sector throughout the Province…”. Clearly reducing the number of turkeys a small producer/direct marketer can raise, runs counter to that goal. Allowing small producers to raise and market up to 300 birds a year encourages local food production, supports diversity on family farms and offers Alberta consumers increased product choices.
We strongly oppose any move to reduce the number of turkeys non-quota producers can raise in Alberta.
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