Several Factors Combine to Slow Hog Industry Expansion in Canada

CANADA - Farm Credit Canada reports a combination of factors, including a tight labor market, restrictions due to environmental concerns and escalating feed costs, has halted any expansion of swine industry across Canada, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 16 January 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

The theme of 36th edition of Banff Pork Seminar, which kicks of this evening, is "This Global Business of Pork."

Lori Lane, Farm Credit Canada's business development manager for central Alberta and one of this year's guest speakers, says it's been very quiet in terms of new barn construction right across Canada.

Lori Lane-Farm Credit Canada

In the west, Alberta and Saskatchewan, in Alberta the permitting process is quite slow so that has really halted any kind of expansion but the big factor in both provinces is trying to find labor.

Particularly in Alberta, we've got a booming economy in the oil and gas sector and agriculture just can't compete for staff.

Some of the producers have been successful in recruiting foreign workers but that process is also very slow.

In Manitoba, of course, the Manitoba government put a ban on any expansion in the hog sector so that's pretty much killed anything there and everything is really uncertain as far as what's going to happen in the packing industry.

In Manitoba it was quite prevalent with producers shipping weaners into the US market and some had talked about trying to reduce their reliance on the US hogs and finish hogs more locally but now that there's the ban on expansion that's not going to happen so, again, everybody's just sitting back and waiting and seeing and trying to hang on in the meantime.

Lane adds the high cost of feed, fueled by increased demand from an expanding bio-fuels industry has also reduced returns and prompted pork producers to maintain a more cautious approach.

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