Manitoba Pork Producers Blame Regulations for Falling Hog Production02 June 2014
CANADA - The chair of Manitoba Pork blames provincial government regulations for a shortage of hogs that has forced Manitoba's largest pork processing plant to reduce its processing schedule.
Due to a lack of market hogs Maple Leaf Foods has reduced the processing schedule at its Brandon pork plant by cutting one day per month, for the next five months.
Karl Kynoch, the chair of Manitoba Pork, says over the past five to six years the number of finished pigs produced in Manitoba has dropped by about three quarters of a million pigs per year while the number of baby pigs shipped to the US has fallen by about two million pigs per year due to a lack of new hog barn construction.
Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork:
What's happened is we had a moratorium put on the hog industry a number of years ago and then shortly after the moratorium was expanded to the whole province.
The only way a producer can build a barn today is if they put in an anaerobic digester which costs over a million dollars and basically does not work in this climate.
The other option is to put in a manure separator which is again over a million dollar piece of equipment and very high maintenance and still doesn't achieve the goals that the government set out to do.
We need to see some changes in what producers are allowed to use.
With the demands that were put on with these anaerobic digesters has basically stopped building completely.
We've only had three barns built in the last five years and those were on old permits so basically since the moratorium came in we've had no permits taken out, we've had no barns built and we need 20 barns a year just to maintain our industry.
Mr Kynoch says we could actually use another 1.5 million more pigs per year in Manitoba just to allow the packers to reach full capacity which would also help them compete with US plants.
He says several operators have expressed an interest in building new barns but, due to the costs involved in applying for permits with little hope of them being approved, they have not proceeded.
He says until the provincial government makes some changes our hog numbers are going to keep dropping and jobs will keep disappearing out of this province.
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