Concern Among US and Canadian Pig Producers

by 5m Editor
24 October 2008, at 11:41am

CANADA - Uncertainty over the ability of U.S. slaughter plants to handle Canadian origin pigs under Country of Origin Labelling is causing problems for producers on both sides of the border, writes Bruce Cochrane.

On Tuesday a Manitoba Pork Council delegation returned from a U.S. fact finding mission in which representatives met with officials of Tyson Foods, Hormel Foods and the Minnesota Pork Producers Association to discuss the Country of Origin Labelling situation.

Pork Council Chair Karl Kynoch says U.S. producers reluctant to buy Canadian weanlings are finding it difficult to access U.S. born pigs.

Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council

There's a lot of concern down there.

We talked to some weanling producers down there and they said they're just getting swamped with calls right now.

Some producers are out there in the U.S. trying to look for U.S. born baby pigs however not being able to find them so there's definitely going to be some barns in the U.S. that are going to end up shutting down.

The producers said there are some barns that are older facilities but they're also up against the wall.

They're very concerned.

The don't know whether to buy any more Canadian pigs right now due to the fact that a lot of people are getting 90 day notices that after April 1 that they can't take any more pigs or after 90 days.

The weanlings out of Canada are definitely going at a lower price.

We're getting to a point where there's a lot of weanlings that don't even have homes anymore so there just is no sale for some.

There's been a tremendous amount of sows being liquidated out of Canada here right now.

Out of Manitoba about two weeks ago I heard of, in one little area, 15 thousand sows being liquidated in one week.

There's a lot of producers right now that are just right up against the wall.

If you don't have a contract down the road to ship them when the pigs are older, you really don't have a choice.

You just can't afford to keep breeding the sows.

Kynoch notes with access to U.S. slaughter plants limited and Manitoba plants operating at capacity some Manitoba hogs have been shipped all the way to Alberta for slaughter.

5m Editor