BC Egg Marketing Board chair Gunta Vitins has been appointed vice-chair of the BC Farm Industry Review Board, succeeding Al Sakalauskas, who succeeds her at the egg board.
The two traded places November 1, with the appointments lasting for a term of two years.
BC FIRB chair Peter Donkers welcomed Vitins to the board, noting her six-year term with BC Egg and a 32-year career “spearheading innovative agri-food initiatives in the public and private sectors.”
Sakalauskas is not parting ways with FIRB entirely, however, as he has been part of the panel supervising work towards a long-term pricing formula for broiler producers.
Consultations with growers resulted in the BC Chicken Marketing Board submitting a final pricing proposal to BC FIRB on October 30, and a decision is pending.
“[Sakalauskas] will be staying on to see the decision through, so I think that probably helps with the timing,” BC Chicken vice-chair Derek Janzen told growers at their general meeting November 9. “Having consistent panel members will definitely help in that, so I think that’s a positive thing.”
BC Chicken hopes to see a long-term pricing formula in place by January 14, but acknowledges that the ball is n BC FIRB’s court, which also has to review a submission from the BC Hatching Egg Commission, given the intimate relationship between the broiler and hatching egg sectors.
In the meantime, an interim formula that aims to take costs of production into account will govern the price broiler producers receive.
Growers attending the November 9 meeting also discussed the resurgence of avian influenza in the Fraser Valley. While a small number of detections have occurred at broiler farms, all poultry producers are on edge as this year shapes up to be a repeat of last year’s massive outbreak.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has reported 31 infected premises in the province since October 20, all but three of which have been commercial farms in the Fraser Valley.
CFIA representatives are speaking with national poultry groups on a biweekly basis in an effort to manage the situation, with improvements expected relative to last year when the volume of cases overwhelmed CFIA resources.