EFA initiated a review of the New Entrant Program (NEP) in December 2015. The review was conducted to help ensure continuous improvement, and to address key issues or concerns with the program. The NEP review involved input from a broad range of stakeholders, including past applicants, new entrants, registered producers, financial institutions, government representatives and others. In total, EFA received 116 responses to the NEP questionnaire.
The review was intended to evaluate the current NEP and determine whether its structure and processes were effective in meeting the objective of bringing new people and new investment into the Alberta egg industry. The NEP operates by providing a certain percentage of the province’s egg quota increases to assist individuals and families who want to own an egg farm in Alberta.
After a review of the feedback from stakeholders, and a meeting with new entrants over the summer, the EFA Board began to review options for the NEP moving forward. The Board recognizes that in order to build a viable egg business, a quota allocation larger than 1,500 birds is likely required, while at the same time quota is not always readily available to purchase or lease.
At the December 2016 EFA Board meeting, an Interim Bridging Policy for new entrants was approved, which will provide all existing new entrants with access to 5,000 birds for a period of 10 years (to the extent that quota is available in the Quota Leasing Pool). New entrants are not required to lease to their 5,000 bird maximum. Quota leasing fees and payment terms will be consistent with those outlined in the Quota Leasing Pool policy. Access to a guaranteed 5,000 birds will be reduced by purchases and grandfathered leases. New entrants may apply for further leases beyond 5,000 birds from the general pool, but those requests will be assessed on a pro-rata basis, as per EFA’s Quota Leasing Pool policy.
New entrants will retain their allotted 1,500 birds under the same principles originally allocated. New entrants transitioned from the MDLP program will have their allotment of new entrant quota brought up to a total of 1,500 birds on the date the Interim Bridging Policy comes into effect.
It is EFA’s hope that the revised New Entrant Program will provide guaranteed, consistent access to quota required by new entrants, to help establish a viable and sustainable egg business.