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A California Egg Farming Family Navigating A Successful Future. Jill Benson Vice President JS West and Companies. James Stewart West. JS West Feed Delivery. First JS West Delivery Wagon. West and Benson Family. JS West. 1.8 million laying hens on 3 farms Four generations of changes

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jill benson vice president js west and companies

A California Egg Farming Family Navigating A Successful Future

Jill Benson

Vice President

JS West and Companies

js west feed delivery
JS West Feed Delivery

First JS West Delivery Wagon

js west
JS West
  • 1.8 million laying hens on 3 farms
  • Four generations of changes
  • More than 100 Employees and their families
snapshot of california s egg industry
Snapshot of California’s Egg Industry
  • California ranks 5th in egg production in the U.S.
  • 19.4 million egg-laying hens in state
  • 4.9 billion eggs annually
  • Majority of egg farms are family owned
  • California is an egg deficit state. Must import one-third of our needs.
california egg farming standards
California Egg Farming Standards
  • California Egg Quality Assurance Plan (CEQAP)
  • One of the most stringent egg production standards in U.S.
  • CEQAP assures:
    • Clean chicks, bio-security, sanitation, vaccination, pest control and best practices education
  • Yearly inspection by California Department of Food and Agriculture Veterinarians
  • Winner of Vice Presidential Hammer Award
  • FDA Egg Safety Program launched in July 2010, mirrors CEQAP.
additional egg farming standards
Additional Egg Farming Standards
  • United Egg Producers Certified Animal Welfare Program
  • Comprehensive animals welfare guidelines developed and maintained by independent scientific advisory board
  • Incorporates all aspects of bird health and welfare
    • Feed, Light, Air, Water, Space, Sanitation
  • 95% compliance by California producers
about the initiative
About The Initiative
  • Passed November 4, 2008
  • Sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States
  • Places new mandates on housing for egg-laying hens
  • We must by 2015 to avoid facing criminal charges
initiative text vague
Initiative Text Vague
  • Vague language presents major hurdles for implementation:
    • Appears to impact both cages and cage-free
      • No explicit regulatory language or authority
    • Doesn’t provide any specific guidelines for cage size (width & height)
    • Doesn’t provide any specific guidelines for stocking densities
    • Jurisdictional responsibility is unclear. Law is under the California Health and Safety Code – typically enforced by Department of Health and Human Services.
we need clear standards
We Need Clear Standards
  • Initiative text needs to be clarified.
  • State needs to develop clear guidelines and standards for housing
  • Association For California Egg Farmers (ACEF) formed.
js west moves forward
JS West moves forward
  • Reviewed options
  • Evaluated alternative housing systems
  • Built 1st Enriched Colony Barn in US – American Humane Certified
  • Outreach program, tours, videos, live stream
  • Filed Suit against State of Ca & HSUS for Declaratory Judgement
  • ACEF involvement working with CDFA to pursue regulations
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • Agriculture must remain active & engaged with political process.
  • Maintaining strong relationships is crucial.
  • Voters/Consumers are ill-informed but curious about where their food comes from.
  • Outreach & educate through shared values – transparency is essential.
  • Social Media is Key
in the end there is no end
In the End, There is No End
  • On-going process to connect with consumers
  • Drive the discussions proactively multiple venues – Ag Roots, KACF, AEB GEP, Co Website
  • New platforms, different conversations

- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Sustainability – holistic, balanced approach

UEP STF - Animal Husbandry, Food Safety, Environmental Stewardship, Employee Health & Safety, Community Relations & Profitability

  • We produce healthy and affordable eggs for California
  • California has comprehensive animal welfare and egg quality guidelines
  • Working multiple tracks to achieve clear guidelines in order to build new or refurbish barns by 2015
  • Collaborative outreach to educate California consumers about modern farming practices