Swine Producers Say Political Leaders Offer No Support to Manitoba's Hog Industry

US - Manitoba's pork producers are expressing surprise and disappointment with the position being taken by all three provincial political parties on an OlyWest proposal to build a new hog slaughtering plant in Winnipeg, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 10 May 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

In a news release issued yesterday Manitoba Pork Council states the province's hog farmers have been dealt another blow now that all three political party leaders have taken positions against building a proposed OlyWest hog slaughtering plant in an established heavy industrial area in Winnipeg.

Pork Council chairman Karl Kynoch says, at a time when the hog industry is already feeling the effects of a provincial government-imposed pause on hog sector expansion or development, the position being taken by the three parties pretty much kills the proposal.

Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council

As you know Maple Leaf is double shifting the Brandon plant which is a real positive to us but, at the same time, they're also shutting down the Marion plant here in Winnipeg and there has been other plants that have shut down in the past year in Winnipeg also.

Once all these plant closures happen there is actually going to be no more primary processing left here in the city of Winnipeg so we're actually going to have a bit of a decrease in slaughter capacity.

Right now we are shipping about 1.3 million slaughter hogs across the U.S. border to be processed down there.

We really needed to have this plant built so we could keep hogs at home and process them here and keep the border risk reduced.

By putting this plant in jeopardy and probably very little chance of building it now, this is definitely putting a huge risk of a border trade action eventually down the road against our hog producers.

Kynoch notes this was an opportunity for 11 hundred jobs in Winnipeg but right now what's going to happen is we're going to be shipping those jobs across the border and we'll be losing a lot of value added in the province.

He says, while there have been suggestions that the plant could be located in a smaller community outside of Winnipeg, that is highly unlikely and there's a very good chance the politicians have chased the plant right out of the province.

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