Moratorium Could Limit Hog Producers' Ability

CANADA - A researcher with the University of Manitoba says the moratorium on hog industry expansion in much of Manitoba could limit the ability of producers to adopt technologies designed to ensure environmental sustainability, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 23 April 2010
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Research conducted in 2006-2007 by the University of Manitoba estimated the cost to the pork industry of moving from nitrogen-based to phosphorus-based livestock manure application limits at 18 to 25 percent of the net income of the farms producing at that time.

In the fall of 2008, the province established permanent moratoriums on hog barn construction or expansion in southeastern Manitoba, the Red River Valley Special Management Area including the Capital Region and the Interlake.

Charles Grant, a senior agribusiness and agricultural economics instructor with the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, says his study wasn't on the moratorium but manure management remains front and centre on producers' minds.

Charles Grant-University of Manitoba

The one thing that might be kind of a place where there's a little bit of a competing interest is that if a farmer needs to grow in order to be able to afford the capital investment to deal with the phosphorus issue and it's quite expensive to buy the treatment systems which are required if you've really run out of land and you can't deal with it locally then the moratorium could get in the way of them being able to expand to deal with the phosphorus issue so you have a little bit of a competing issues there.

The whole financial thing has been front and foremost on the minds of the industry and the individuals for a couple of years but now as we move back into the expansionary phase and there's some black ink that can be earned in the industry I think that that moratorium issue will come back again.

Mr Grant suspects the moratorium would have had more of impact had it been initiated when the industry was expanding.

He says because the industry had been contracting it hasn't had that big an impact but, as people start to position themselves for expansion, the issue is likely to resurface.

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