Sask Pork Disappointed with Maple Leaf Announcement

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2271. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 13 October 2006
clock icon 3 minute read
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Farm-Scape, Episode 2271

The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board is expressing its disappointment with Maple Leafs Foods decision to abandon plans to upgrade its Saskatoon hog slaughtering plant.

Yesterday Maple Leafs Foods announced it has canceled plans to replace its Mitchell’s Gourmet Foods primary pork processing plant on 11th Street in Saskatoon and wind down operations at the facility within three years.

However further processed meats operations will continue at the company's neighboring McLeod Street plant.

Sask Pork Chair Shirley Voldeng says the loss of primary processing will force the province's producers to rethink their future.

"The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board is disappointed in this announcement because it does mean that there will be no operational federal plant in Saskatchewan that can ship pork out of province and so it has a huge impact on the producers and the industry in the province.

In terms of the expansion of the industry, people will have to seriously look at cost of production, cost of freight, where they're going to be shipping their animals, so it'll really affect how the industry does grow.

I think there is still space for growth and there's certainly space for packing capacity in Saskatchewan so let's not say it's the end of the industry because it's certainly not.

The Mitchell's plant in Saskatoon is not closing for three years yet so it does give a bit of time. It's not like it's happening tomorrow but, in terms of packing plants, three years is tomorrow.

It takes a long time to get a partner to come in, it takes a long time for permits, for construction and then to get fully operational so it is something we have to seriously start looking at because it's a long time to get this to happen."

Voldeng notes, despite the disappointing announcement, there is still opportunity for expansion and Sask Pork is preparing for the next step and will look to see if there is another company that can come into the province and build a plant.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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