CANADA - The chair of Sask Pork says a combination of factors have limited the ability of western Canada's pork producers to expand production in response to improved profitability, writes Bruce Cochrane.
In response to strong hog prices, combined with low feed costs, which resulted in record profitability in 2014, we're seeing increased interest in expanding North American pork production.
Florian Possberg, the chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says US producers, particularly in the Midwest are in expansion mode so there are finishing barns and sow barns going in and there's some expansion in Ontario and Quebec but we haven't seen any significant activity in terms of new construction in western Canada.
Florian Possberg-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
Fortunately we were spared almost all of the downside from PED but we do have other issues that seem to be restricting our ability to expand our industry here.
If you go to Manitoba, the ability to get permits to build barns, there is still a moratorium on new construction in Manitoba, restrictions on where you can build, how you can build, what do you use for manure management, that sort of thing.
In Saskatchewan and Alberta I think likely the shortage of labor, contractors that are available for all kinds of construction and really trades.
Electricians and everything else that is necessary to develop new units are just in such short supply that the cost of building is quite prohibitive in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Mr Possberg says in the US we could be seeing three to five per cent expansion and possibly a little less than that in Ontario and Quebec.
He says ideally to maintain a healthy industry in western Canada we would like to see the same but we're not seeing that happen.
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