Nova Scotia Pork Industry 'On A Fiery Spit'

by 5m Editor
12 January 2007, at 9:40am

CANADA - Irate pork producers came to Province House on Tuesday demanding more public money to keep their industry alive, but the MacDonald government says the cupboard is bare.

Hundreds of farmers protested, with pointed signs and pigs in pens. "Don’t make us move to Alberta," pleaded one handwritten pennant. Another banner, on a truckload of hogs, offered the cargo to politicians: "We can’t afford to feed these pigs! They’re yours."

Hog farmers say it costs about $1.70 per kilogram to raise a pig for market, only to generate about $1.25 per kilogram from processors. They warn many of them will be forced out of business within months if they don’t get another $6 million in provincial aid.

The minority Tories say enough’s enough, that $11 million the province has forked over since 2003 is all taxpayers can afford to prop up the industry. "This province has put more money into the pork industry than the other three Atlantic provinces combined," Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor says, and $6 million more is "clearly not doable."

Hog farmers say they are in crisis and need more money to survive another cycle of low prices. "If nothing is done, over 60 per cent of the hog farmers in Nova Scotia will be gone over the next few months," warns Pork Nova Scotia president Martin Porskamp.

Common ground should be found, both to stave off farm bankruptcies and to protect taxpayers from having more public money poured down a bottomless pit. More than the future of the pork industry and farm families is at stake; many rural communities depend on revenues generated by farming.

Source: Chronicle Herald

5m Editor