Tag Archives: Jim Romahn

So Easy to Spend A Million Bucks

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Jim Romahn thinks Harry Pelissero and the Egg Farmers of Ontario are in a hurry to start a new process for quota sales and purchases (April 23, 2013 post – http://agri007.blogspot.ca).  Seems Harry and the Board is in a hurry to spend the egg producer’s money too.  Must be burning a hole in their pocket or there’s an awful lot of women on that Board?  This time it is $1 million towards clinical drug trials for an antidepressant.  Technically the expenditure doesn’t even fall into the EFO mandate or mission since the trials are slated to use fertilized eggs – which aren’t a part of EFO’s oversight. 

 

I would bet that the decision to fund these trials didn’t even warrant much of an explanation to the producers.  My guess is that the producers were merely told that this is what’s happening.  Got questions about it?  Too bad.  Did anyone ask about liability?  Sure hope EFO can’t be associated with future lawsuits from the use of this antidepressant, if and/or when it’s approved for use.  But did anyone even ask?  Doubt it.  Check out a recent Maclean’s article if you think it can’t happen.  (http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/04/20/theres-a-pill-for-that/).  How about getting an outside, independent opinion about the trials?  Was that considered?  Who would know, since minutes aren’t available?

 

And where did this $1 million dollars come from?  It came from the pockets of the producers.  How’d that feel producers?  Does the phrase ‘lay there and love it’ mean anything to you?  Maybe the egg producers are all wealthy enough that $1 million is just a drop in the bucket for them?

 

Is the Farm Products Commission watching this unfold?  Is this what EFO was set up to do?  I don’t think so.     

 

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The Battle of the Eggs Continues in the Courts

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The egg industry wars have fired up again!  Yee-haw!  I’ve been getting a little bored lately – so thanks to Jim Romahn’s blog post, “Here’s the scoop” (http://agri007.blogspot.ca/2012/12/heres-scoop_7234.html) for lifting my Christmas spirits once again!  That blog post is definitely a lengthy one but anyone who wants to know what Gray is being accused of can certainly become informed – complete with email quotes.  Considering those quotes, it makes me wonder how in the world Bill Gray, L.H. Gray staff and Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO), specifically EFO General Manager, Harry Pelissero, can claim that they have done nothing wrong.  Really?  I’m not buyin’ it.  And if this information isn’t true and damaging, why does the Gray lawyer want it kept secret?  Is the EFO Board of Directors still ready to support their manager and staff in light of this information?  If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, must be a duck?  That’s right. 

I also caught wind of the new policy that’s being implemented at EFO, regarding quota increases.  For those folks who don’t understand how it used to work, when the supply of eggs in Ontario needed to be increased because Harry and his Board deemed it necessary, quota was given (yes, I said GIVEN!!) to already existing egg producers.  So let’s see how that worked – so for an egg producer who had 10,000 chickens already (which is a small flock in Ontario) and a 1% increase was GIVEN, that egg producer would be GIVEN the right to house an additional 100 chickens but if they didn’t have room for those birds because their barn was full, they got to SELL that GIFT of birds.  In this case, to the tune of $250/bird for a total GIFT of $25,000.  Well Merry Christmas Egg Producers! 

Now the process involves leasing out the increased quota which equates to added revenue to EFO rather than to the individual producers.   So why the policy change now?  Trans Pacific Trade Talks making them a little nervous?  Possibly?  Needing a bit more revenue to fund those lawsuits that Harry says aren’t costing EFO anything?  Definitely.  One will never know the real reason unless it is ‘leaked’ by someone in-the-know as EFO isn’t accountable to anyone – even their own producers.   Maybe the lawsuits or the trade talks will change that.  Here’s hoping! 

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Should Breaking Rules Cost Money?

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In Jim Romahn’s March 23/2012 blog post, Mr. Romahn describes recent actions being taken by Norman Bourdeau, the whistleblower in the egg industry lawsuits.  Mr. Bourdeau is accusing L.H. Gray of essentially not following the rules.  Are there consequences for not following the rules?  There are consequences in my household when rules are broken.  My long-suffering kids can attest to that but from Mr. Bourdeau’s point of view it appears that there haven’t been any consequences to the alleged rule-breaking behaviours of L.H. Gray and others involved in the egg industry lawsuit.

So let’s apply this ‘rule-following’ exercise to the egg producers themselves.  When Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) wanted egg producers to implement more stringent barn sanitation methods, now known as HAACP, EFO sent all producers a letter outlining what new protocols were expected.  At this point, the ‘rules’ were voluntary and therefore most producers took the approach of ‘it ain’t broke, don’t need fixin’ approach and changed nothing.  It wasn’t until EFO made HAACP mandatory and tacked on a quota reduction (can you hear those $ signs?) before egg producers ‘willingly’ conformed to the new HAACP rules.  So until there was a monetary consequence, nothing changed.  A similar pattern of behaviour occurred when EFO suggested that cage density for the birds be decreased – nothing happened until a monetary consequence was applied to the lack of action.

What I’m trying to say is that unless egg producers (and in general, most humans) are going to suffer a monetary consequence, behaviours won’t change.  The same holds true for businesses and organizations like Gray and EFO.  They’re going to continue to behave and, in some cases, get away with what could be illegal or unethical behaviour, until a monetary consequence forces them to do otherwise.  Society has come to expect dishonest and unethical behaviour in our business and political leaders.  A study during the most recent provincial election showed that the vast majority of voters expected the political candidates to lie.  It has now become the voter’s responsibility to determine which candidate is lying the least.

The same can be said for the judge’s job in the egg lawsuits.  The judge has to determine which side is lying the least and apply a monetary consequence to stop this behaviour.  It should have been stopped years ago but egos got in the way and a proposed solution was discarded without proper consideration.

A consequence for this ‘rule-breaking’ should be implemented immediately.  It’s up to the egg producers to take that action.

As I get older, it becomes easier for me to tell the truth, let the chips fall where they may and suffer the consequences if I’ve broken the rules.  At the same time, as I age, it’s imperative that I tell the truth because my memory is lacking and I’d forget what I had said if it weren’t the truth!  But the egg industry lawsuits are still a long way from being over, however I’m certain that many of the accusations are true and I hope the monetary consequences are enough to change behaviours (and maybe a few faces?) but realistically human beings are going to continue to break the rules as long as there are no consequences for breaking them.

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