Reflecting back on 2016, it can be said that Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) encountered our fair share of challenges. But more importantly, we saw it as a year full of opportunities and growth.
It was about creating a stronger foundation on which EFC can stand and continue to grow through our many goals and initiatives that position Canada’s egg industry as a leader in our country’s agricultural future. Judging by our collective accomplishments over the past twelve months, I’d say that we’re well on our way and that Canada’s egg industry is strong. Thanks to the collective efforts of many people from coast to coast, we’ve accomplished much—here are some of the highlights:
Creating a sustainable industry now and into the future
We kicked-off 2016 by setting a new course: a national transition away from conventional housing systems in favour of other methods of production. In doing this, we committed to making fundamental changes to the way in which the industry operates.
This means that, by 2036, all egg production will be in enriched, free run or free range housing systems. Certainly, this is a monumental undertaking, but it’s also one that will safeguard the Canadian egg industry while still meeting the demands of the market and our customers.
Working for our communities
In terms of public support and social license, EFC remained deeply committed to strengthening the public’s trust in 2016. To that end, all aspects of our business are approached with the utmost regard for the communities, environment, and society in which we operate.
This commitment extends to our national young farmer program, long-term research programs, and for continuous improvement in our on-farm programs. It also underpins our partnerships with Breakfast Club of Canada, Food Banks Canada, Heart for Africa and Canadian Food For Children.
Because of this deep commitment to Canadian communities and global initiatives, EFC was the honored recipient of the International Egg Commission’s 2016 Crystal Egg Award for outstanding commitment to corporate and social responsibility.
Strengthening relationships and growing leadership
Strengthening government ties was also on the agenda for 2016 and our efforts looked to highlight the importance of our industry and supply management at many meetings and events throughout the year.
We also continued supporting young people in the industry in 2016 with the national young farmer program—part of our long-term vision to help build a network of young agricultural leaders. This year’s participants, nominated by their egg boards, took part in workshops and tailored sessions where they developed their understanding of key industry areas.
Shining a light on egg farming
We continued to activate a number of programs designed to raise the profile of our farmers and industry, and to help Canadians learn about where their food comes from. One such example was the launch of a new marketing program meant to remind Canadians that some of the best things in life are yellow. The uplifting campaign—including this ad—highlighted the natural goodness of eggs and featured the tagline “Brought to you by your local egg farmers,” in addition to the familiar Get Cracking logo.
Growing, innovating and achieving
In 2016, we achieved a 5.6% increase in the retail sales of table eggs, marking a decade of continuous growth. This was a tremendous accomplishment that’s brought the egg industry to 27.8% growth over the last decade. Classic brown and white table eggs remain popular, however this growth trend also applies to Omega-3, organic, free run and free range eggs as well.
Encouraging research and development
We were also pleased to announce this year a new partnership with the University of British Columbia establishing Dr. Nathan Pelletier as the industry’s first-ever Research Chair in Sustainability. Our investment in Dr. Pelletier’s innovative research will ensure that the Canadian egg industry continues to improve its environmental footprint through a long-term research program. This announcement came shortly after a landmark study confirmed that the industry has made incredible progress on environmental issues in the last 50 years.
Onwards and upwards
2016 was certainly a year of challenges and opportunities for EFC. We’re proud of our many achievements outlined in our 2016 Annual Report (which can be viewed in its entirety here), and of being a part of an industry that continues to be built on dedication and passion. We work hard to earn the public’s trust as we champion high standards and Canadian egg farmers from coast to coast.