B.C. egg revenues hit $200 million

B.C. egg revenues hit $200 million

Abbotsford farmers produce more than half of the province’s eggs

The B.C. egg industry posted another record year in 2018, with total revenues pushing past a major milestone for the first time.

Revenues for the province’s egg producers pushed past the $200 million mark for the first time ever last year, according to the BC Egg Marketing Board’s annual report.

More than half of all B.C. eggs are produced in Abbotsford, as of the last farm census. Last year, 84.8 million eggs were produced across the province.

Last year’s posted revenues of $200.6 million were up 6.5 per cent from the previous year. Revenues for egg producers have grown by 30 per cent since 2015, with much of the growth attributed to the increasing popularity of free-run, free-range and organic eggs.

Revenue from such eggs now amounts to 28 per cent of all farm gate receipts. (Free-run eggs come from hens that are allowed to roam freely in a barn, free-range birds have access to the outdoors, and organic eggs come from free-range hens that eat certified-organic feed and which roam organic pastures.)

The next year could see another surge in revenues, with B.C. producers approved for another boost in their quota which, under Canada’s supply management system, regulates poultry and egg production.

Meanwhile, B.C. egg regulators continue to tackle animal welfare issues raised by activists.

Last June, activists released a video showing hens at an Abbotsford farm trapped in manure.

Katie Lowe, BC Egg’s executive director, said at the time that the conditions were abnormal and not acceptable, although new inspection reports had not yet reached her.

In the annual report, Lowe confirmed that the conditions weren’t satisfactory.

“Together with EFC, we investigated the farms featured in the video,” Lowe wrote in the report. “We were upset to learn that one farmer was providing substandard care. As a result, we have created stronger rules around catching and a barn fitness policy.”

The report says BC Egg has also increased inspections, and is “developing and implementing policies and programs that will raise the bar for hen care in BC in line with sector and market expectations.”

RELATED: Video of hens trapped in manure at Abbotsford farm prompts investigation, questions

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