Ag Ministers Discuss Hog Industry Transition Plan

CANADA - Canada's agriculture minister is assuring hog producers existing programs will kick in and there will be cash going to the hog sector, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 13 July 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

A request for government support for a Canadian Hog Industry Strategic Transition Plan was among issues discussed when Canada's ministers of agriculture met last week in Ontario.

The plan calls for longer terms for repaying advances under the Advance Payments Program and access to an additional advance, an H1N1 Recovery Loan and a Hog Farm Transition Payment Program.

Following the agriculture ministers meeting Gerry Ritz told reporters he hopes to have answers within days.

Gerry Ritz-Canada Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

All of the ministers here today have spent a lot of time working with Canadian pork producers that are, as you know, dealing with changing economic realities and the impact of H1N1 influenza.

We all know there are no easy solutions.

We also know that it's vitally important to make sure that efforts to help don't provoke devastating trade challenges.

We have to make sure the cure isn't worse than the disease.

The Canadian pork industry is making a difficult transition to new market realities and all of the ministers gathered here in the last few days are working hard to make that transition as smooth as possible.

Last year we made more than three billion dollars in loans available to livestock producers and of course, as you know, the first 100 thousand of each one of those loans is interest free.

We've extended repayment terms for those loans to make sure livestock producers have more time to recover to the new realities.

Our farm support programs have delivered more than a billion dollars to Canadian livestock producers.

Ministers spent a lot of time here in the last number of days discussing ways we can continue to support Canadian pork farmers.

Mr Ritz says officials with his office and Canadian Pork Council have been working to see how the transition plan can be prompted forward and what it could cost the federal and provincial governments.

He stresses existing programs will kick in and there will be cash going to the hog sector through those programs and that money won't be in the form of loans.

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