Manitoba Pork Council Calls on Ottawa to Challenge M-COOL Under NAFTA

by 5m Editor
9 April 2008, at 8:15am

CANADA - Manitoba Pork Council reports Canadian weanling pig producers are beginning to feel the impact of pending U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling legislation, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Several U.S. pork processors have indicated they will stop accessing hogs of Canadian origin when U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling Legislation takes effect in September, prompting many U.S. hog producers to cancel contracts with Canadian weanling producers.

Yesterday delegates attending Manitoba Pork Council's annual general meeting in Winnipeg passed resolutions calling on the organization to seek legal and technical advice on its options under the North American Free Trade Agreement and to initiate a request for trade action under NAFTA by the federal government.

Delegates also passed a resolution calling on federal and provincial governments to assume responsibility for euthanising baby pigs and sows in the event they can't be marketed

Lauren Wiebe, the owner of Topeaka Farms and a Manitoba Pork Council delegate, says the situation is creating a great deal of concern among Canadian producers.

Lauren Wiebe-Topeaka Farms

At this point in time we're seeing contracts that are being broken in the United States where Canadian producers have had contracts with American producers.

Prices of grain are high.

Future prices of hogs are high but yet at the same time it doesn't represent a profit so the buyers in the U.S. are breaking contracts and subsequently the Canadian producer is suffering and having to sell pigs for below his cost of production.

Today weanlings, depending on who you're marketing through, could be anywhere from 10 to 15 dollars and could be as low as two to five dollars.

But, as we see it moving through the chain, the same thing with the feeder pig.

It could go down from a 35 dollar value to a 25 dollar value to a 20 dollar value.

Time is going to tell.

Wiebe notes the weanling producers are having difficulty finding markets and those difficulties will eventuality slide into the feeder market driving down prices there as well.

5m Editor