Egg Farmers of Alberta (EFA) was honored to host a distinguished group of stakeholders for the Environmental Stewardship Workshop, which was held in Edmonton on August 26 & 27, 2015. The workshop brought together a diverse mix of influencers and decision-makers from across the egg supply chain, including farmers, graders, retailers and restaurants, as well as industry, government and non-governmental organizations. Participants shared their ideas and provided strategic insights about the past, present and future of sustainable egg production in Alberta.
“What a grand opportunity to share our collective insights and build relationships through the value chain,” says Susan Gal, General Manager of EFA. “My takeaway is that all stakeholders have a desire to support one another as we work together to build a sustainable egg industry in Alberta, and across Canada.”
For Alberta egg farmers, sustainable egg production is socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable. The workshop enabled EFA to share past and present environmental initiatives in Alberta, including the launch of the Producer Environmental Egg Program – the Canadian egg industry’s first on-farm environmental program – and the publication of EFA’s inaugural Sustainability Report. More importantly, the workshop allowed other stakeholders to explain their views and expectations for the future around sustainability, as it relates to the egg industry and food production.
“I am extremely pleased by the level of interest and engagement from all participants, in terms of both supporting and developing the environmental, social and economic sustainability of Alberta’s egg industry, for generations to come,” said Susan Schafers, Chair of the EFA Board of Directors.
The workshop also included a tour of STS Farms, which is one of the more than 160 registered egg farms in Alberta. Susan Schafers and her family were gracious hosts, leading the more than 30 attendees through the pullet barn, layer barn and egg collection room. It was an enjoyable and educational experience, especially for those guests that had never been on an egg farm.
“Opening the barn doors is a great way to get to know people and find out what is important to them,” says Susan Schafers. “It also provides farmers with an excellent opportunity to share what we are doing and to connect at a personal level.”
EFA will take the next step with these stakeholders and others on this journey of continuous improvement. Options are being considered to expand on these existing relationships and engage with additional stakeholders regarding the past, present and future of other important topics. Even though we were focused on the topic of environmental stewardship, it was great to see and hear the stakeholders ask questions and offer opinions about the trade-offs between environmental stewardship, hen housing, animal welfare, food safety, economics and other factors. It really is reassuring to know that people care about where their eggs come from and want to know more.