Egg Farmers of Alberta has launched a program designed to attract new entrants to the supply-managed egg business without having to pay for quota.
Alberta was allocated additional quota earlier this year in the annual review process, and 10 percent of the province’s new quota, equivalent to 10,538 birds, is being made available to new entrants. The rest was allocated to existing producers.
“We’re looking for dedicated people who really want to farm and this is their life passion,” said EFA board chair Susan Schafers.
“Usually quota has to be purchased. This is an opportunity for producers to basically have it at no cost.”
It is the first year for a formalized new entrant program at EFA. New entrants can apply for quota lots of up to 1,500 birds, and they must file their application before June 27.
Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and live in Alberta. As well, they and their spouses cannot be current or former egg quota holders and cannot be current or past shareholders in a company that has egg quota.
Hutterite colony applicants must be fully independent from any other colony to be eligible.
All applicants must provide a business plan accompanied by a $1,000 fee, after which a selection committee will review all applications. Allocation will be determined by a draw if there are more qualified candidates than lots available.
Schafers said no preference will be given to young farmers, though she hopes the program will attract and assist beginning farmers.
“I think all of agriculture would like to attract younger producers,” she said.
“We’re happy, obviously, if we can attract new producers in general, but I think having younger producers just adds to the well-being of the industry overall. They bring in fresh ideas quite often.”
Schafers said recipients of the new entrant quota will have two years to activate it. Once activated, the quota cannot be transferred or sold for 10 years, after which it becomes officially allocated.
New entrant program plans have been in place for several years, but this is the first time it has been used, said Schafers.
“It’s a great new program. We are really thrilled about the number of people who are interested. We’ve had quite a good response already.”
For more information, visit www.eggs.ab.ca/NEP.