Since my last posting (March 6, 2011), I’ve had many communications within the egg industry as I continue to research the allegations that have been made by Mr. Norman Bourdeau. I’m also considering the possible consequences to egg producers and the supply-managed system as a result of these allegations. If the allegations are true – even some of them, there would be evidence that the statement from the EFO mandate “to provide consumers with a guaranteed supply of safe, high quality eggs at the most reasonable prices possible” is in question. If consumers lose faith in this system, the entire egg supply system could be in jeopardy. For those producers that just paid $200+ for quota, I would think that they should be more than a bit concerned. Is it time for egg producers to stand up and say that an investigation into their own operations is required and/or demanded? If they want to save/defend their industry and protect their livelihood, it is.
Based on recent communications from the Board of Directors to their egg producers, it would appear that egg producers haven’t been consulted on the plan of action toward this allegation. The communications state that the Board of Directors “will continue to vigorously defend itself and its staff”. Is that what the egg producers want? Is the Board of Directors acting independently or have the egg producers been asked what direction would be best for the industry? Maybe an approach to defend their industry would be a better approach? Maybe an approach where the parties that have alleged claims against them are asked to step aside while the investigation continues? I know that some producers are reluctant to come forward and lead the charge for an approach such as the one suggested because they are fearful that this Board of Directors and current EFO staff will “make problems for them”. Really? What kind of a Board of Directors and paid staff would convey that type of retaliation? Maybe one that is protected – one that operates within walls where minutes are withheld from their paying egg producers – one where egg producers are not allowed to even attend Board meetings since minutes aren’t provided. Imagine how much retaliation could be dished out when there is no opportunity for recourse. Makes me think that an autocratic environment has been created. Could that be the case? What do the egg producers think?
EFO states that they are “very limited in its ability to share information with you or to comment or respond to any of the media reports that continue to circulate”. While this may be true, I would think that the ability to ask all the producers for their opinions on how to best protect their industry is allowed and should occur. And actions that protect the industry may not be the same actions that protect the staff and Board of Directors. I know asking for producer opinion is a novel idea for EFO as the current leadership style has done so well for them, right? Just look where this leadership has gotten them – right in the middle of lawsuits and a potential investigation. And the GM has been quoted in his response to a producer question regarding the costs of these lawsuits to EFO (funded entirely by producer levies!). The GM replied that it would cost nothing. Are you kidding? Even before consideration of legal costs, I’ve seen at least two letters that were generated to all 400+ producers to address these lawsuits. Aren’t the meeting(s)held, telephone conversations had, emails back and forth, etc. to create these 400+ letters done at a cost as a result of these lawsuits? I think so – and legal costs haven’t even come into the picture. Wake up egg producers. Get crackin’ before there’s egg on your face.