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Pork Plant Closures Force Producers to Consider Packing Plant Involvement

by 5m Editor
15 December 2006, at 11:27am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2266. 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 2266

A Rosetown pork producer believes the recent rash of pork processing plant closures across Canada will force producers to become involved in the packing industry or close their barns.

Approximately 80 percent of producers who responded to a recent Saskatchewan Pork Development Board survey indicated they're prepared to invest in and commit hogs to a new pork processing plant in Saskatchewan that would replace the Mitchell's Gourmet Foods plant which has been slated for closure by Maple Leaf.

Joe Kleinsaucer, with Rosetown Colony, says when one packing plant after another across Canada seems to be closing all of a sudden there's way too many pigs without a home.

"My biggest driving force behind this and I think for everybody that I have talked to is lack of market access. We don't want to be phoning up people every week and begging them to take our pigs and taking what they're going to give us.

Right now we're about 80 miles from Saskatoon and to go much further than that doesn't make a whole lot of economic sense. Then there's the shrink involved which is there too certainly.

We have been going to Saskatoon for the past 35 years so we have not had the experience that a lot of producers have had where their pigs have been on a truck for 18 hours and taken all kinds of shrink and death loses but that's certainly there and it's a reality we have accept if we want to do past the distance we do now.

In a perfect world nobody will want to get involved in a packing plant. We're producers, we're not packers but I think the writing is on the wall and we have to do something or we close our barns. I don't think I'm being overly dramatic when I say that."

Kleinsaucer says, if plans to double shift the Maple Leaf plant in Brandon and the Olymel plant in Red Deer were guaranteed, there would be a little less urgency.

But, he points out, those plans have been in the works for years and the logistics certainly haven't become any easier and infrastructure costs haven't become any less.

Staff Farmscape.Ca

5m Editor