Reduced Access to Pigs Threatens US Pork Exports

CANADA - A Minnesota-based pork industry service company fears the loss of access to Canadian born pigs by US producers will disrupt American pork exports, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 17 March 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

The Final Rule for US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (M-COOL) took effect yesterday, however Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has requested additional voluntary labelling measures.

Jesse Hooge, the director of business development with Worthington , Minnesota based ProPig says US packers are already not happy about having to provide multiple labels and additional regulations could make them decide to go with US born and raised only.

Jesse Hooge-ProPig

We have a large number of barns that we are contracted to that we're bringing pigs into from Canadian customers and there's a real risk that once we bring these pigs into these barns that there isn't going to be a place to market the animals.

Country of origin Labelling has essentially restricted what the packers are willing to do in regards to taking whether it be an A label pig or a B label pig or a C label pig.

From the packing capacity side of things, I think the number is eight per cent of the kill capacity comes from Canada currently.

We've seen a drastic reduction in the production as it is in our area, whether it be local farrowers being out of business or the number of open barns that were being filled by Canadian producers coming down.

With the industry where it is and our export business being strong, I personally believe are going to be at risk of whether or not they can fulfill contracts and be able to keep their export market to where it is.

A lot of the hope for the future in this who thing has come from our export markets and the realization that we are a world economy and that the US has become a primary producer of pork for the world.

Mr Hooge believes the current law offer flexibility and will allow the opportunity for pigs from Canada to be raised in the United States, slaughtered and marketed.

He says something needs to be done in regards to further voluntary actions.

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