Closure of Saskatoon Plant Means Advanced Planning for Longer Shipping Distances

CANADA - The SPI Marketing Group says the closure of the Mitchell's Gourmet Foods hog slaughtering plant will require producers to adjust but there will be a home for all of the hogs displaced by the change, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 31 May 2007
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Over the past few months Maple Leaf Foods has been winding down production at its primary pork processing plant in Saskatoon and today marks the facility's final day of operation.

SPI Marketing Group general manager Don Hrapchuck says the key is that there are arrangements in place to accommodate all of the hogs that will be displaced.

Don Hrapchuck-SPI Marketing Group

Most of the hogs that were destined for the Saskatoon plant are still under contract to with Maple Leaf Foods.

Those hogs will be directed to the Brandon facility for the remainder of their contracts.

The majority of the contracts, I believe, terminate this summer so, even though Saskatoon will close, the majority of those animals will be redirected to the Brandon facility.

However, once the contracts are terminated, the producers who have made other arrangements will have their animals either shipped to the United States or into Various parts of Alberta.

I think producers will have, initially, a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that a meat packing plant that's been in Saskatchewan for the past 60 odd years will no longer be available to them.

It will require some forward planning on ensuring their animals are booked prior to delivery and a little bit more coordination.

Especially when you start to ship your animals instead of just 20 miles down the road shipping them 400 to 500 miles so, a little bit more planning.

However the important part is that there is and will be a home for all the hogs after Saskatoon closes.

Hrapchuck admits the closure will likely be a factor as producers decide on their future in the industry but, he says, it's still too early to assess how production will ultimately be affected in Saskatchewan.

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