John E. Janzen
Year of birth: 1927
Inducted in 2012
Nominated by: Chicken Farmers of Ontario
Specialty: Livestock - Poultry, Organizations
John Janzen worked relentlessly throughout his career to transform the Ontario and Canadian chicken production and marketing system. His efforts improved the quality, marketability and profitability of chicken and identified new growth opportunities for the chicken industry.
By the late 1950’s Ontario’s chicken producers and processors faced devastating financial losses. Over-construction, over-production and a total lack of collective planning brought the industry to a near collapse. Seeing these challenges, John joined the voluntary Ontario Broiler Growers Association to campaign for a marketing board to regulate Ontario production. He and others eventually convinced William Stewart to grant Ontario chicken producers the legal authority to become a self-regulated marketing body. In 1965 the Ontario Broiler Chicken Producers Marketing Board became a reality and John Janzen became its first Secretary Manager, a post he held for 23 years. Within the first year, the Board slowed production increases so they better matched consumer demand, and established a precedent of supply management for other commodities including turkey and eggs. John and the Board subsequently developed policies and regulatory procedures to ensure that all chicken producers were registered and allotted quarterly marketing crop quotas. They identified new growth opportunities including large restaurant chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Once supply management was established in Ontario, John Janzen and his Board realized that unless all the provinces implemented similar legislation, then Ontario’s system was at risk. Furthermore, they were aware of what was happening in the U.S. where chicken production was largely controlled by huge integrators such as feed manufacturers resulting in the demise of independent chicken farmers. For four years, John worked to sell the provincial marketing approach through the Canadian Broiler Council where he was the Secretary Treasurer. Once each of the provinces had established its own marketing board, then John and the Council encouraged Eugene Whelan to create a national agency to regulate inter-provincial movement and national chicken imports. In 1979, the Canadian Chicken Marketing Agency (now Chicken Farmers of Canada) was established. John Janzen was the interim Secretary Treasurer of the new Agency for the next year of transition.
John Janzen’s perseverance in the achievement of a supply managed approach to chicken production, which allowed a fair return to producers and top quality, affordable chicken to consumers, was a major contribution to both the Ontario and Canadian chicken industries and to the rural and provincial economies. His vision and success is being recognized with his induction into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.