Federal Aid Praised, Even for Quitters

NOVA SCOTIA - Martin Porskamp, chairman of Pork Nova Scotia, says the $50 million set aside in this week’s federal budget is a positive for hog farmers, even if it is helping them get out of the industry.
calendar icon 28 February 2008
clock icon 3 minute read
"I think it will help," he said in an interview yesterday for Chronicle Herald.

Speaking from his farm in Sheffield Mills, Kings County, he said that the federal government said the money will help hog farmers hit by low pork prices and increased production costs so they can reduce their breeding stock and leave the sector.

Mr. Porskamp, whose association represents 30 to 40 provincial pork producers, said membership will shrink in the coming months and the federal money will help ease the way out of the beleaguered pork industry.

He said the economics are bad for the industry. Local producers once provided 50 to 60 per cent of the pork consumed in Nova Scotia, but that figure is now down 10 to 15 per cent. Most of the pork consumed in the province now comes from Quebec, Ontario and the United States.

"It’s a pretty dismal situation," he added.

Mr. Porskamp said he didn’t know exactly how much of the federal budget money would go to Nova Scotia pork farmers looking to get out of the hog business. The funding is conditional on having a farm site cleared of pork livestock and that some farmers might hang on to their stock rather than give it away for next to nothing.

"Time will tell how many will be out. But the program will help them exit the industry," he said.

Last year, the Nova Scotia government wrote off $6.2 million in debts of hog farmers to the province.

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