When it comes to the uniquely Canadian system of supply management, there seems to be a lot of misperceptions and misunderstandings, with lots of misinformation being shared in the media and on social media.
Here are some common myths about supply management, along with the facts!
- Supply management manipulates the supply of eggs, to artificially inflate demand.
The system tracks egg sales and trends – both total and for the different types of eggs – in each province and across the country, so that Canadian/Alberta egg farmers can work together to ensure they produce [supply] what consumers want [demand].
Demand – actual sales – is what drives the system. Egg farmers will gladly raise more hens to provide more of the eggs that consumers are demanding.
- Supply management increases the price of eggs. Supply management causes egg prices to be higher in Canada than in other countries.
The system only sets the price that egg farmers receive from the grading station, which is based on the average cost of production, along with a fair market return for their products.
The system does not influence the price negotiated between the grading station and the retailers/restaurants. The retailers and restaurants are also free to charge whatever price they believe consumers will pay for the end products.
For over 40 years, supply management has cultivated a dependable animal agriculture industry, which has prospered without the need for any provincial or federal government subsidies. In many other countries, consumers pay for their eggs twice; once at the grocery store and again through their taxes, as subsidies given to their egg farmers.
- Supply management is bad for the family farm.
Every egg farm in Alberta is owned by family farmers or Hutterite colonies, many of whom have been in egg farming for several generations.
For Alberta’s farming families, agriculture and egg farming is their life and livelihood, and they are proud to provide their fellow Albertans with fresh, locally produced eggs.
With an average of just over 12,000 birds, Alberta has the smallest average flock size in Canada.
- Supply management is a barrier to new farmers. Supply management is a closed shop.
Encouraging new and young farmers to join is vital to the long-term sustainability of Alberta’s egg industry.
EFA’s New Entrant Program (NEP) was developed and launched in 2012. The NEP was established in order to assist individuals and families who want to own and operate an egg farm in Alberta, by issuing a portion of newly allocated egg quota to successful applicants, thereby alleviating some of the producer’s start-up costs. Thanks to the NEP, 7 new farmers joined the industry in 2014 (chosen from 40 qualified applicants), and up to another 13 new entrants are set to join Alberta’s egg industry in 2015!
- Supply management hurts Canada during international trade negotiations. Canada could miss out on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) because of supply management.
Canada has successfully concluded many free trade agreements while maintaining supply management, and can and should continue to do so. Our industry is an integral part of Canada’s agricultural future and continues to deliver exceptional benefits to consumers.
Supply management is a proven domestic market focused policy that allows Canadian egg farmers to produce eggs for Canadians that are among the best in the world in terms of freshness and quality. In doing so, the egg industry provides stability at home, while agricultural industries with greater export potential pursue opportunities in international markets.
Canada’s egg farmers are pleased with the assurances that have been given by International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, that the federal government continues to support supply management and will defend supply management in trade negotiations.