CANADA - The mayor of Brandon in Manitoba is calling for action that will ensure the future success of the province's pork processing industry while also addressing environmental concerns related to water quality in Lake Winnipeg, writes Bruce Cochrane.
As the result of regulations imposed by the provincial government in 2011 aimed at improving the water quality of Lake Winnipeg, including a moratorium on new hog barn construction, the number of hogs produced in Manitoba has fallen dramatically, impacting the ability of the province's pork processors to access the volumes of hogs needed to maintain capacity.
Brandon mayor Shari Decter Hirst says pork production is incredibly important to the city's economy and this past summer when Maple Leaf was forced to shorten shifts there were a lot of people hurting.
Shari Decter Hirst - Mayor of Brandon:
We are way past having to deal with this issue. Again we've got short shifts now at Maple Leaf. That situation is not going to get better.
It's the patience of Maple Leaf in terms of their profitability in their Brandon plant that has everyone concerned.
Maple Leaf is in the food processing business, intensely competitive, a lot of competition coming out of the States where they've got less environmental regulatory control.
So again we have to make sure that our Canadian businesses are as productive and as competitive as the American businesses or frankly we're going to lose those businesses here in Canada and that would be a real tragedy here in Brandon.
Ms Decter Hirst stresses it's important to the economy in western Manitoba to have a successful hog industry.
She notes the pork producers have put forward several different scientifically based options for managing manure, including the use of two cell lagoons versus anaerobic digesters and suggests representatives of the province and Manitoba Pork Council get together at the table to find a solution.
ThePigSite News Desk