CANADA - The Chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board says Saskatchewan offers an excellent opportunity for expanding both the production and processing of hogs, writes Bruce Cochrane.
About half the 2,000,000 hogs produced annually in Saskatchewan are processed in Alberta, 25 to 30 percent in Manitoba and only 20 to 25 percent in Saskatchewan.
Sask Pork Chair Florian Possberg notes the processors would like to see increased production and Saskatchewan has the potential to produce many more hogs.
Florian Possberg-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
By expanding the processing capacity we create a market here that has a lot less freight costs to move live animals to slaughter and of course that's one of the significant costs that we have is freight.
It's kind of a hand in glove sort of thing.
Having additional processing here makes the business model better for production here and production here makes it possible for additional processing.
We do believe that Saskatchewan has the best business model for expanding production.
Saskatchewan has almost half of the cultivated land in Canada, we have abundant feed grain supplies, we do have a provincial government that's encouraging livestock production, we do have an environment that is very conducive to expanding livestock production.
We've got a lot of good things going for us plus the hogs we produce here, because of our large distances, we can produce very healthy animals with minimal use of antibiotics and those are things that consumers are looking for.
Possberg says we haven't seen a lot of new hog barns built in the province in the last 10 years but world demand for pork is higher and a low Canadian dollar helps so the time is right for the industry to grow again.
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