Egg farmer Aaron Hiltz charged for having too many hens
Lake George farmer defies order to get rid of most of his 700 chickens
The Nova Scotia egg marketing board is charging Lake George farmer Aaron Hiltz for raising too many hens without a quota.
This, just days after the board raised the non-quota limit for owning hens from 100 to 200.
According to the Nova Scotia Egg Producers' market plan, any farmer with a flock of more than 200 needs to buy a quota worth thousands of dollars.
Hiltz owns 700 chickens. He said he’s afraid the order to get rid of most of his chickens — which he has defied — will mean he won’t be able to meet demand for his eggs.
He's been defying the order to get rid of most of his chickens for more than a month. He said the system isn't fair to small producers.
“I guess I'm slightly stubborn. I'm happy for being stubborn because if I hadn't been stubborn I do not believe that they would have raised the limit from 100 to 200,” he said
Hiltz said he will bring his fight to court.
He expects he'll be handed a hefty fine and ordered to get rid of most of his hens — something that could be very tough for his farm.
“Eggs represent half of our income. So last year I think we made about $18,000 and about $10,000 of that was from eggs alone,” said Hiltz.
But Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell said the quota system works and its recent changes are enough to satisfy demand.
“This was already a major change, went from 100 to 200 hens so it actually doubled that. So it made them more profitable,” he said.
A group of people are rallying around Hiltz. They're fundraising to help pay for what could be a $6,000 fine.
“If he gets fined, then what if the public paid his fine? Wouldn't that be a statement about just what the general attitude is towards what's going on here,” said supporter Lance Bishop.
Hiltz will be in court Jan. 6 for a hearing.