Prior to 1966, there was no coordinated planning in the BC Turkey Industry. Each turkey farmer negotiated his own price and secured his own product. It was difficult, if not impossible, for individual farmers to predict product demand or supply.
In some instances, prices received by farmers fluctuated below the cost of raising turkeys which in turn resulted in increasing pressure toward integration of production into the processing sector. These issues among others led to the formation of the marketing board.
Following a favourable province-wide plebiscite in 1966, the British Columbia Turkey Marketing board was established.
In 1974, the British Columbia Turkey Marketing Board joined the Turkey Farmers of Canada, the agency responsible for setting national production quotas.
The Board is comprised of a BC Government appointed chair and three turkey farmers elected by the BC Turkey Association membership. The elected board members serve three-year terms that are staggered to ensure continuity in the Board’s membership.
The British Columbia Turkey Marketing Board has the authority to regulate the production of all turkey grown for either meat or eggs in British Columbia. Anyone who grows more than 50 turkeys a year is subject to the Board’s Order and Regulations.
Under the authority of the Natural Products Marketing (B.C.) Act and the B.C. Turkey Marketing Scheme, the British Columbia Turkey Marketing Board:
1. Licenses turkey farmers and processors.
2. Sets the price for live turkey in the province in negotiations with processors (the Board has no authority with respect to the retail price of turkey).
3. Maintains a quota system.
4. Promotes turkey products.
A national supply management system for the turkey industry was established in 1974. A member of the British Columbia Turkey Marketing Board represents BC Turkey Farmers on the board of the national agency, the Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC).
TFC establishes global production and allocates quota to turkey producing provinces. It licenses those marketing inter-provincially or in export markets. TFC maintains cost of production information, researches market demand and consumption patterns, and undertakes national promotions.
Turkey imports are set at a percentage of the annual national production quota. Import quotas are distributed among importers. Before anyone is permitted to import more than their quota, TFC has an opportunity to find a Canadian source for the turkey.
The British Columbia Turkey Marketing Board distributes BC’s share of the national quota between the provincial turkey farmers. It monitors the production to ensure that the demand for turkey is met without shortages or surpluses.
Although TFC formulates and updates a national cost of production formula, prices paid to BC turkey farmers are set at the provincial level. The cost of production formula is used only as a guide.
The BC Turkey Marketing Board has always made it a policy to discuss major issues with the BC Turkey Association Board of Directors and the general membership along with processors and other stakeholders.
The BC Turkey Marketing Board and the TFC are financed by a levy assessed on the turkey farmers. They do not receive any funding from either the Federal or Provincial Governments.