CANADA - The chair of Manitoba Pork says that, despite record profits in 2014, the number of hogs produced within Manitoba, is still about a million hogs per year short of what the province's packing plants need to maintain peak performance, writes Bruce Cochrane.
The year of 2014 saw record profitability within the Canadian pork industry as live hog prices soared and feed costs fell.
Karl Kynoch, the chair of Manitoba Pork, says moving forward into 2015 a key objective will be to develop a plan for replacing production infrastructure and increasing hog numbers to supply the packing plants.
Karl Kynoch - Manitoba Pork:
We've seen a huge dip in the hogs as we've had some producers exit the business and at the same time we haven't been able to build any new barns.
The numbers did drop to about their lowest level in mid-summer and then they did come back again here this fall.
They've come back some but we're still short over a million hogs in Manitoba to have our packing plants running at peak capacity.
As of not to late we have had more meetings with government.
We're trying to figure out ways that that would be possible to move forward.
They have some goals that they want to achieve as well so we have to try to work inside that realm but going forward we're looking forward to trying to come up with somehow that we can achieve ways to increase the production and get the production back up in Manitoba and at the same time government needs to achieve their goals that they've set out.
So hopefully we can figure a way to work together and move that forward in a positive manner.
Manitoba is really reliant on exports so we need to produce that product to export.
Any time we produce that product and keep those plants at peak capacity it's good for all Manitobans because it creates a lot of jobs and it brings a lot of dollars back in to Manitoba from all areas around the world.
Mr Kynoch says when our packing plants in Canada cannot run at peak performance, it becomes difficult for them to compete with American plants.
He says that, if hog numbers in Manitoba continue to fall, we risk losing a shift in the plant, which means the loss of a lot of jobs which is not good for anyone in the province.
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