NPPC Concerned Over Canadian Calls for Subsidies

CANADA - The US-based National Pork Producers Council is expressing concern over calls from Canadian pork producers for government assistance to cope with a series of challenges facing the North American pork industry, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 4 June 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

North American pork producers have been struggling with low hog prices, rising input costs, consumer concerns over the H1N1 flu and US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling.

NPPC president Don Butler, on hand for World Pork Expo which kicked off yesterday, says COOL has hurt Canadian producers as well as US producers who have depended on Canadian pigs.

Don Butler-National Pork Producers Council

Some US packers and processors have chosen not to purchase Canadian pigs, therefor not having to go through the additional exercise of the different labels that would be required under the rule.

Others continue to buy Canadian pigs.

How have producers responded?

There are some producers along the northern tier of states that are dependent or have been dependent on pigs from Canada and, depending on who they are and where they are, they may have run up against a situation where their packer doesn't want to have to do a second label.

So it has created some hardships for those producers.

The National Pork Producers Council on the Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling rule is that we have been opposed to that since the outset.

We see it as not really adding any value to anybody.

The consumers that we talked to are not demanding it but there are those who felt that it was the right thing to do.

We publicly opposed it because we don't think it brings benefit to Canadian producers or to US producers.

Mr Butler says relations between the Canadian and US industries remain good but recent calls from Canadian pork producers for government assistance do have trade implications and NPPC will be watching that closely.

He says government help in the form of herd reductions would be more acceptable than direct subsidies.

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