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Poultry Producer Seeking New Regulator

by 5m Editor
28 February 2011, at 9:25am

CANADA - A northern New Brunswick poultry producer says the provincial government needs to create a new regulatory board if the company is going to survive.

Nadeau Poultry, which is facing competition from Westco, a company owned by many of the province's chicken growers, has lost several legal battles against Westco and is now asking the provincial government to step in.

Michael Burrows, the chief executive officer of Maple Lodge Farms, the Ontario company that owns Nadeau, said this isn't a "chicken war."

But he said Westco has "attacked" Nadeau and has brought "devastation" to the northwestern community of St. François.

According to CBC News, Nadeau currently has the only chicken plant in New Brunswick and once controlled all processing.

But Westco has been challenging that dominance in the province's poultry sector.

It is co-owned by chicken growers in New Brunswick and it's trying to build its own processing plant in Madawaska County, just down the road from the Nadeau plant.

In the meantime, Westco is shipping its chickens to a Montreal-area processing facility owned by Olymel, a partner in Westco.

That leaves Nadeau with fewer chickens to process and it has already laid off 160 employees.

Nadeau is asking the provincial government to create a chicken marketing board so it has a guaranteed supply of product.

Westco has accused Nadeau of trying to limit competition and inter-provincial trade.

Agriculture Minister Michael Olscamp said the provincial government reviewed Nadeau's pitch for a new chicken oversight board.

After the review, Mr Olscamp said the provincial government decided it would not implement the reforms.

"The provincial government, therefore, is not prepared to interfere by attempting to restrict producers' rights to market their product where they so choose," Mr Olscamp said in a statement issued on Thursday.

"The rulings are clear. This issue will not be resolved by trying to circumvent the regulations under which the chicken industry is regulated in the province and across the country."

Mr Olscamp said the provincial government is open to help mediate the dispute between the two companies, while a spokesperson for the Chicken Farmers of New Brunswick says producers won't get involved in a fight between two private companies.