Springhill Take-over will Inspire Canadian Industry

CANADA - Pork producers in Saskatchewan are hopeful Hytek's take over of the Springhill Farms hog slaughtering plant in Neepawa will inspire similar developments in Saskatchewan, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 6 February 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

Earlier this week La Broquerie based Hytek completed a deal that will see it assume 100 percent ownership of the Springhill Farms hog slaughtering plant and embark on a two year expansion and modernization of the facility.

Saskatchewan Pork Development Board chairman Joe Kleinsasser says, when you consider the Canadian industry's dependence on exports and the implications of Mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labelling, the more pigs that can be killed and processed in Canada as opposed to sending our production south the better.

Joe Kleinsasser-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board

I don't think there's any of us here who would like to see a future where the Canadian industry consists of being a farrowing nursery unit to the American mid-west.

I think the more we can process our own end product here the better it is in terms of value added as to the dollars we can extract from the end product and also to create jobs for people here.

It is a win win situation as far as I'm concerned.

We have always felt here that to stay competitive into the future we need a packing plant in Saskatchewan because we are subject to geographical disadvantages and certainly a plant here would address a lot of those and were still hopeful we can achieve that in the end.

But great news out of Winnipeg.

Cudos to the people at Hytek because it can only be good news for the industry.

Kleinsasser says confirmation that Hytek is taking over Springhill Farms is an example of the same vision Saskatchewan producers have had for their industry where they would like to take control of their our own destiny and secure some additional shackle space.

Reducing US Reliance

Meanwhile, the Manitoba Pork Council (MPC)_says Hytek's take over of Springhill Farms will mean more hogs staying at home for processing, creating more jobs and reducing the risk of US trade action.

MPC Chairman Karl Kynoch says Hytek has a lot of confidence in the industry and is committed to more value added which puts a solid footing under that plant and will help ease Canadian hog producers reliance on US packing plants.

Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council

We rely very heavy on the US market.

We actually ship a lot of live swine down to the US.

I think in 2007 we had 1.3 million slaughter hogs go south and anytime that we can have somebody take over a plant like this and they are also looking at making sure the plant gets up to full capacity which allows more room for people to be able to process the hogs here at home.

It definitely reduces that border risk and the reliance on the border which also reduces the risk of a trade action down the road.

Any time that you put a lot of live animals into another market, yes, there's a lot of producers that do gain on both sides of the border, a lot of good partnerships there but there's also producers that probably don't look favorably on the animals going south, especially in the slaughter end.

Anytime that you can actually increase your slaughter capacity here and reduce the number of hogs that are going south, that's always a positive.

It's a benefit to all the producers anytime we can increase the competition.

Kynoch notes anytime a plant puts in more value added processing it makes that plant more viable and it also creates more employment for Manitobans and brings more GDP back into the province.

He believes, anytime we keep more of theses jobs at home instead of exporting them, it benefits everyone in the province not even just the hog industry.

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