Manitoba Pork Producers Forced Out of Business

CANADA - A Neepawa, Manitoba, area farmer is blaming new provincial environmental restrictions on livestock operations for his farm's decision to exit the hog industry, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 5 January 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Last year Neepawa area farmer Weldon Newton began gearing down his family farm's 80 sow farrow to finish hog operation and by November all of the barns were emptied.

At its peak the farm, which had been involved in hog production for more than 50 years, marketed about 15 hundred pigs per year.

Newton blames Manitoba's pending November 2013 ban on winter spreading of hog manure for the decision to get out of pork production.

Weldon Newton-Neepawa Area Farmer

They've always exempted these smaller operations from the ban on winter spreading and it was 300 animals units which is approximately 240 sows farrow to finish.

This was done on the basis of a recognition that unless you were bigger than that you simply could not afford to build the 400 day storage structure that was required.

Realizing that you always have to re-invest money in your barns we were faced with some fairly significant investment over the next three to four years.

We winter spread our manure.

I know all the science behind it and the small risk involved but we can't afford to build a lagoon for 400 day storage for an operation of this size.

We decided that, what's the point of continuing to reinvest in the barns and make improvements that we need to do knowing in 2013 we're going to have to shut down because we simply can not cash flow building a lagoon for an operation of this size.

Mr Newton says these small operations simply can't afford the cost of meeting these new regulations without significant government help.

He says many operators will be facing the same decision over the next three years and, unless the province steps in with financial assistance or restores the exemption to the ban on winter spreading for smaller operations, many of these farms will be forced out of business.

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