Act Threatens Supply of Hogs for Processing

by 5m Editor
9 December 2011, at 8:37am

MANITOBA, CANADA - Manitoba Pork Council warns provincial environmental legislation adopted earlier this year is putting the supply of hogs for the province's pork processors at risk which, in turn threatens the viability of hog farmers, Bruce Cochrane writes.

Provisions contained in the Save Lake Winnipeg Act, which was passed in June, require new or expanding swine farms to adopt costly technologies such as solid-liquid manure separation or anaerobic digestion in order to qualify for a building permit.

Manitoba pork processors, including both Maple Leaf and Hylife, have expressed concern over the impact of the legislation on their ability to source hogs.

Manitoba Pork Council Chair Karl Kynoch observes over the past two to three years hog numbers have dropped to the point where it's starting to put pressure on the processors.

Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council

We need to see 10 to 20 barns built every year just to maintain the current hog base that we have and in the last three years we've only seen about two or three barns that have actually been built so we're not replacing the infrastructure that is currently there.

As this infrastructure wears out and has to be shut down, if we can't replace it we will see a reduction in hog numbers.

The one thing for a packing plant, the processing sector to be viable here it has to run at full capacity to make sure it stays viable.

It's a very competitive market against the plants in the U.S. and around the world, so to stay viable they've got to stay full.

If you start pulling the supply down too low then they can't stay viable so the first thing they would have to look at is probably shutting down one shift.

That would eliminate about 12 hundred jobs just in Brandon alone if they would have to go that route.

So when it puts the risk of losing a plant, then for producers it puts at risk of losing access for your hogs and producers need all of the markets that they can for the hogs, all of the options to sell and if we start to lose a packer, if we put it at risk then it really creates a problem for producers.

We have less place to sell our product.

Mr Kynoch notes industry and government are working together in an effort to find affordable solutions that will provide producers the opportunity to expand and stabilize the supply of hogs necessary to keep the packing plants full while working in a positive way for the environment.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.