Restructuring Package Expected to be Beneficial

CANADA - The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board expects the benefits of a federal pork industry restructuring plan to spin throughout the provincial economy, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 August 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

This past weekend the federal government unveiled a pork industry restructuring plan which will include government backed credit, incentives to help struggling operations transition out of the industry and funding for international pork market development.

Sask Pork general manager Neil Ketilson says historically pork production in Saskatchewan has been profitable but a combination of factors over the past two to three years, including the high value of the Canadian dollar, high feed costs fueled by competition from the ethanol industry and higher transportation costs due to the loss of the Mitchell's plant have made it challenging for producers to make ends meet.

Neil Ketilson-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board

Pork production has been a very profitable business over the last number of years.

If you look at back over the last 10, 15, 20 years there's an awful lot of people that have made their livelihoods and done very well out of the business.

We have about a 300 million dollar business in the province just with the sale of pork plus all the indirect kinds of economic activities that surround it, the feedmills, the veterinarians, the transportation services, a whole host of other things, so if you consider the spin-off of all of those things we are very significant to the agricultural economy.

I guess the other part of it is that we are very very important to a lot of the grain farmers out there in terms of a market for feed grains.

We traditionally are a long ways from markets for grains and therefor, anytime you can value add grains into a livestock product, we can do well and historically there's been very good profitability in the business.

Mr Ketilson says Saskatchewan's pork producers are adjusting to the new realities and, over time, he's convinced the challenges will work themselves out and the industry will become profitable again.

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