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Maple Leaf Pledges to Assist in Hog Producers Transitioning from Saskatoon to Brandon

by 5m Editor
27 November 2006, at 10:49am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2248. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Farm-Scape, Episode 2248

The President of Maple Leaf Foods is pledging to assist Saskatchewan swine producers in making the transition from delivering hogs to Saskatoon to delivering hogs to Brandon.

In mid-October, as part of a corporate restructuring intended to reduce losses blamed on the rise in the Canadian Dollar, Maple Leaf announced it will close its Mitchell's Gourmet Foods hog slaughtering plant in Saskatoon and divert hogs to its Brandon plant which is expected to add a second shift by mid-2008.

The decision has raised fears among Saskatchewan swine producers that an estimated five to six dollar per head increase in transportation costs will dramatically reduce their economic viability. Maple Leaf President Michael McCain is convinced the added transportation costs will be manageable.

Brandon is just about 600 kilometers from Saskatoon. My guess is the difference in shipping is probably, on average, 200 to 300 kilometers. I'm just not thinking that the diesel economics of 200 to 300 kilometers is the difference between success and failure in this industry.

I'm not thinking that. I don't believe that. My belief is that, if we solve this problem together and we own this problem together and we care about successful profitable healthy processors as much as I think Maple Leaf has demonstrated over the last ten years that we care about healthy producers, then we've got an opportunity. "

McCain notes Maple leaf plans to develop programs, in consultation with industry stakeholders to assist Saskatchewan producers in making the transition and, although details have not yet been worked out, the package could include such components as transportation assistance and guaranteed space for Saskatchewan hogs.

He's also confident any reduced capacity resulting from the closure of the Saskatoon plant prior to the addition of a second shift at Brandon is also manageable.

Staff Farmscape.Ca

5m Editor