Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As always the Ohio Poultry Association Annual Celebration Banquet was an event not to be missed, this year featuring a “Peace, Love & Poultry” theme.The 32nd annual banquet featured great food and the chance to recognize award winners. Jim Cooper, of Cooper Farms was recognized with the Golden Egg Award. Others recognized at the event included the Stoller family from Van Wert County that received the Family Legacy Award, veterinarian Tim Barman, Ohio Representative Dave Hall and Ohio Representative Brian Hill.One of the key issues facing Ohio’s egg producers are the shifting whims of consumer demand. Many of the companies who buy Ohio eggs are planning to require cage-free production in the near future.“There is a lot of uncertainty, but the discussion continues on the announcements coming forward that a lot of the companies that we are supplying are going to transition to cage-free products somewhereJim Cooper, of Cooper Farms, was recognized with the Golden Egg Award.between 2018 and 2025,” said Lisa Timmerman, with Cooper Farms, who serves as president of the Ohio Poultry Association. “The industry is still looking forward to how we are going to get there, what systems we are using and how long it will take us to get there. As we look at the transition, we look at the systems out there. There are multiple types of systems for cage-free they are not all the same. There is a colony system where birds are on the floor or an aviary-type system where birds can move up and down vertically through the system. Those are some of the decisions companies have to make in terms of how far they want to go in this transition.”The poultry industry has a history of being responsive to consumer demands and Timmerman said that trend will continue moving forward.“As we talk with consumers, they do not necessarily have all of the information they need to know what cage-free is, but as poultry farmers, we are going to produce what the consumers want, whether it is cage-free, caged eggs, brown, white, vegetarian fed, or organic,” she said. “Our focus is on producing aDr. Tim Barman was presented his award by OPA president Lisa Timmerman.safe, affordable, wholesome food and meeting the needs of the consumer whatever they might be. If cage-free is what they are demanding, that is what we are going to move to produce.”A trip down the grocery store aisle quickly reinforces this point.“If you look in the supermarket you see a wide variety of products. We have a pretty open mind,” Timmerman said. “When we look at what the consumers are demanding, I think we are definitely open to their values and beliefs. We have core values and beliefs within our family farms and so do our customers. Whether it is cage-free or organic, whatever their values are, we don’t have a problem producing it.”Representative Dave Hall offered some comments after being recognized by the OPA.