B.C. egg and chicken producers are doing their best to manage the numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic.(File photo)

B.C. egg, chicken farms facing down challenge of COVID-19

Plenty of product available to feed the province, but groups urge consumers to only buy what’s needed

Like everyone else in the province and the globe, B.C. egg and chicken producers are dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both egg and chicken farms are trying their best to reduce the number of visitors to local operations, and ensure that all labourers follow proper distancing and hygiene practices.

But, for the most part it’s business as usual for both industries.

“Farmers are used to staying home because work and home are the same place,” stated BC Egg executive director Katie Lowe. “Our farmers will be working hard to ensure their hens are healthy and continue to send nutritious eggs to the grading stations.”

Lowe said minimizing visitors to egg farms and limiting the time they interact has also been key to ensure saftey standards during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Obviously, some people need to go a farm – drivers of egg and feed trucks, auditors, and so on,” she said. “Most farmers know their regular delivery and pick-up drivers and feel comfortable letting them go about their business without supervision. BC Egg has limited the number of farmers our auditors come in contact with in a day to protect everyone’s health. Important inspections and tests are still being done; however, the auditors are keeping meetings with farmers to a minimum.”

She added that B.C. is not in danger of an egg shortage anytime soon, but urged consumers to only buy what they need to allow everyone the opportunity to take their product home.

“People are buying more eggs than they usually do so, the stores are running out of eggs faster than normal,” she said. “There is no shortage of eggs in B.C. as the hens continue to lay and farmers are working hard to get the eggs to the grading stations and then on to the stores. We ask people to follow the advice of the government and to not stockpile food. Eggs are perishable and won’t last forever. Buy what you need and leave the rest for your neighbours.”

It’s a similar story for the B.C. chicken industry, with the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board’s executive director Bill Vanderspek telling Black Press Media that the demand has been high, although the industry has been able to keep up.

“The B.C. chicken supply chain remains intact and there is plenty of chicken to supply the local market. Stores across B.C. are stocked daily with fresh local chicken,” he said. “We have noticed that chicken and other products are disappearing quickly from store shelves. British Columbians are cooking at home so there is more chicken being sold at retail. Our processors are making adjustments to transfer chicken from restaurant/food service to retail channels to meet the shift in demand.”

Vanderspek added that increased quarantines could impact the available labour for local farms, and said his group will continue to adjust in these challenging times.

“Chicken farms in B.C. are multi-generational family farms,” he said. “Like all B.C. families, health and safety is our primary concern. Producers are concerned for the welfare of their flocks, especially if there are increased quarantines which could impact the supply of labor.”

Both Vanderspek and Lowe said closing the U.S. border could create issues, but Lowe said B.C. eggs are not exported south of the border. However, many farmers in both industries rely on America for agricultural supplies, which could prove to be an issue depending on how long those supplies are unavailable.

Vanderspek said he remains confident that local chicken farmers can continue doing their job in a way that benefits all B.C. residents.

“The BC Chicken Marketing Board has a 60-year history of meeting the demand for chicken while adapting to changes quickly and efficiently,” he said. “Our system of supply management keeps our food supply local and carefully managed. The continued flow of goods between Canada and the United States is important to us, as it is to most industries in B.C. We are working collaboratively with the other local and national agencies to ensure that the Canadian production system is maintained to the same level of excellence as consumers are expecting.”

RELATED: Chicken city: Poultry outnumber humans in Abbotsford 70-to-one

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Letter: Heartened by the work shown by communities

Dr. Paul Stent, acting mayor for the district of Fort St. James writes a letter to residents

Are you ready for bear season?

BC Conservation Officer Service in Vanderhoof says people should take their bird feeders down until next winter.

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

A curfew is being implemented by Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation

The First Nations community will also be putting up check-points due to COVID-19 concerns

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

Most Read