Enniskillen chicken producer at trade talks, says TPP best deal possible

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Jack Greydanus thinks the federal government negotiated the best deal it could in the TransPacific Trade Partnership.

The Enniskillen farmer is the chairman of the Canadian Hatcher and Egg Producers Association. He was one of many leaders of farm commodity groups at the TTP negotiations in Atlanta over the weekend.

The federal government has reached a tentative deal with 12 nations including Japan, Australia and New Zealand which the government says opens up $800 billion of new markets for Canadian exports.

There was concern in the agriculture sector Canada would be forced to give up a lot of the market share it controls through marketing boards. Greydanus, whose birds lay eggs, which are later hatched to become the food you eat, says they didn’t give up as much as feared.

Greydanus, who stopped at an All-Candidates Meeting in Wyoming on his way home from Atlanta, says his industry will give up about 1.5 per cent of its market – that’s about 12 million chickens a year.

Greydanus says that could mean fewer chickens on his farm. Right now, he and his son have about 42,000 birds. That could “dip” when the deal takes affect in 2017. He expects the industry will feel the contraction as US breeders enter the market for about five years.

But he adds the growing demand for chicken could soften the blow. Greydanus says the chicken meat market continues to expand as the cost of beef rises and says it “is possible we’ll see enough growth in the market that we will not take a hit.

“The chicken industry is growing and over time we will weather the storm.”

Other supply management industries had to take a bigger hit – the dairy industry will have to give up 3.25 per cent of its market – less though than some industry analyst predicted.

Greydanus says the federal government has already committed to a $4.6 billion package to help ease the pain for the farming industry over the next 15 years. Greydanus says it, and the newly opened markets, make the TTP a good deal. “Our government did a very good job of negotiating…It’s the best deal they could have come up with…we knew we had to give up something.”

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