CANADA - Challenges resulting from declining hog prices to maintaining consumer confidence in pork to dealing with changing environmental considerations were among the hot topics discussed last week as pork industry representatives gathered in Banff, writes Bruce Cochrane.
The 2016 Banff Pork Seminar, held last week, attracted 694 attendees from across Canada and around the world.
Banff Pork Seminar program co-chair Dr Ruurd Zijlstra says we're seeing constant change happening in the pork industry.
Dr Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta:
We just came off a banner year of the pork industry although more recently the prices are starting to become lower again.
Now part of the challenge is how now in a different economic climate, with reducing energy prices, with the change in the Canadian-U.S. exchange rate, changing feed costs, how will all of this pan out for 2016 for the pork industry and that's always priority number 1 for Banff Pork Seminar.
But then other issues are appearing as well.
How do we make sure that our products are received well by the market place, not just by domestic consumers that may be very familiar with our products, but also people that would not be so familiar.
How do we keep on having good links with the export markets where half of the Canadian pork actually needs to find a home.
Then how are we dealing with some of the other issues that are happening around the pork industry?
Food safety comes to mind.
How do we deal with the challenge, that the recent UN conference in Paris put some pressure around the environmental footprint of the pork industry with regards to carbon.
How are we dealing with antibiotic free feeding systems for example,
Society came up with this to make sure that this concern should be addressed by part of the pork industry.
Dr Zijlstra says the mood among seminar participants this year was still positive.
He notes, despite lower North American hog prices, when you consider the Canada-US exchange rate, returns for Canadian producers are still reasonable.
ThePigSite News Desk