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Pork Commentary: Banff Pork Seminar

22 January 2013
Jim Long on ThePigSite

Jim Long is President &
CEO of Genesus Genetics.

CANADA - Last week we attended the Banff Pork Seminar held in Banff Alberta, writes Jim Long.

Our observations:

  • Event was well organized as usual with many excellent speakers. Over 600 attended. Genesus was a Premier Sponsor.
  • The venue was extraordinary with the setting in the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains.
  • We want to thank the many who attended the packed Genesus Reception at the St. James Pub in downtown Banff. When we left at 2:30 AM there were many still there discussing the swine industry?
  • There was lots of discussion among attendees about the sudden transformation of Western Canada’s Hog Industry, which has in the last few weeks seen Big Sky Farms 45.000 sows being bought by Olymel Packing, Puratone Corporation’s 26,000 sows bought by Maple Leaf Foods and HyLife 47,000 sows having a major part of their company being bought by Itouchu Corporation of Japan.
  • Last week we wrote the business model of farrow to finish, high overhead companies that bought their feed appears to be broken in Western Canada. It was interesting the number of people who came up to us at Banff and agreed with what we stated, including some of the above mentioned companies. All at the conference we spoke to were positive, for the three strong meat companies having stepped up with their deep pockets. This is a commitment that augers well in helping stabilize the industry.
  • Jason Logsdon of the Maschoffs gave an insightful presentation of how their corporation uses Metrics to measure their progress. The specific details on these metrics certainly make you realize why the Maschoffs have been a huge success story in our industry. The old saying "you can’t manage what you don’t measure" certainly comes to mind.
  • Al Mussel of the George Morris Centre gave a nice presentation. Unfortunately it reinforced the difficulty that Canada’s Swine industry has encountered over the last decade and reinforces the challenges that Big Sky, Puratone and HyLife have had. The calculation is a typical Canada hog farm with a net worth of 5 million in 2006 and in 2010 a net worth of 3.9 million or a drop of 21 per cent. In the last two years our estimate would be hog farms net worth would have taken an even bigger hit. It’s been tough in Canada and a big reason Canada’s sow herd has decreased 20 per cent over the last six years.
  • Rick Berman a consultant on public affairs spoke on Animal Right activists. His approach is offence versus defence in dealing with the like of PETA and HSUS (Humane Society United States). "Is this really a group you can negotiate with?" says Berman. "We’re talking about people who represent a vegan culture, who are equating animals with people and advocating an end to eating meat. Its animal rights and an extreme agenda masquerading as animal welfare."

For example HSUS collects about $130 million in donations. 1 per cent goes to Animal Shelters and 5 per cent to their pension plan? The bulk goes to a cadre of lawyers that are the shock troops in HSUS’s relentless lobbying efforts to create rules that handicap animal agriculture.

Berman says "My issue is who gave these people the mandate to be achieving their goals? They are not elected or appointed by any elected body. They simply mislead and manipulate, to collect money, affect opinion and advance an agenda that many people who support them do not understand."

"Bottom line for me is there’s a scam going on here," says Berman. "People need to see what the HSUS is really about."

Berman’s talk was hard hitting and was received extremely well by the audience. It was a call to arms for our industry to reject Pacifist negotiations. Fight on every front while exposing the hypocritical fundraising of HSUS. Ever pork board, council, producers group & producer must realize HSUS in not about negotiating, their goal is the destruction to of the meat industry and the creation of a Vegan Nation. HSUS is a small cadre of activists intent on social engineering to create a society in their own distorted image. This is a form of tyranny that attempts to purge the history of mankind’s right to food of choice.

As an industry we have the high ground in this fight. The Silent Majority of the world each and every day votes for the meat industry versus a vegan society. Global meat and poultry consumption is at an all-time record level. People choose and they choose meat. It’s our most powerful reality.

Any opportunity you have to hear Rick Berman’s message, be sure to take advantage.

This week will be at the Iowa Pork Congress, and next week at the Manitoba Pork Seminar. We are having a reception from 5pm -8pm on 23 January. Please join us for some refreshments and appetizers and/or visit us at the Manitoba Swine Seminar at our reception on the 30th.

Author: Jim Long, President & CEO, Genesus Genetics

To find out more about Genesus Genetics,
please take the time to visit their website at

The opinions expressed in this commentary are entirely those of the author and can not taken to represent the views of, its owners or its management.

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