Ont. goat producers seek marketing board status

Goat producers in Ontario are now waiting to hear whether they’ll get to put their proposal for a marketing board to a provincewide goat farmers’ vote.

A proposal seeking marketing board status was submitted before Christmas to the province’s farm products marketing commission (OFPMC) for review and possible recommendation to the provincial ag minister’s office.

The proposal includes a petition of support from active farmers reporting goat income, with 109 signatures out of a possible 418.

"I am very happy to see how much support we have from goat producers at the farm level — it is unprecedented," Tobin Schlegel, president of Ontario Goat, said in a release.

"We know that there is even more support out there but logistically we needed to press on with the submission of the proposal, and we know we can count on those producers when the time comes to vote."

Once the OFPMC completes its review, and if it feels there will be sufficient support, it would make a recommendation to Agriculture Minister Ted McMeekin to call a producer vote on the proposal.

If McMeekin approves the recommendation, the OFPMC would then send the proposal and voting packages to producers.

Guelph-based Ontario Goat said it expects a vote will be held sometime this spring or summer, pending approval of the proposal from the OFPMC and the ag minister.

The provincial goat organization’s board members collected signatures and feedback from producers during meetings in the summer and fall of 2011.

Based on producer feedback, Ontario Goat’s revised proposal for marketing board status now includes:

  • a reduced checkoff on fluid goat milk, at 0.75 cents per litre, down from one cent per litre;
  • an increased checkoff on goat meat at $2.50 per head, up from $2;
  • removal of a proposed exemption for breeding stock from the $2.50 checkoff; and
  • addition of a checkoff exemption for any animal valued at $20 or less before commission and fees, a change intended to allow for buck kids sold through auction markets and sales barns.

"The changes to the proposal make sense because it is what producers have told us they need to make the proposal work for their farm," said Schlegel, a meat goat producer and Boer breeder at Tavistock, Ont.

"We knew that changes would be necessary but we had to have a starting point from which to begin the dialogue with producers."

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