Troubled Pork Producer for Sale

14 September 2012, at 11:12am

CANADA - Saskatchewan's largest pork producer, Big Sky Farms, is in receivership and may be sold, according to the firm overseeing the process. The company entered into receivership on Monday, 10 September.

Its financial problems are linked to drought in the US, which has led to high feed prices in Canada, reports CBCNews.

As well, American hog farmers have been selling off their animals driving down hog prices.

Casey Smit, the president of Big Sky, calls the situation disheartening.

"It's very frustrating to have to have an event like this, which is largely out of our control, impact our company so dramatically," Mr Smit said. "It's the whole livestock sector."

The company said it is losing C$40 to C$50 per animal, based on current prices.

Kevin Brennan, a senior vice-president with the firm Ernst and Young, said the receiver plans to sell the entire operation as a unit.

"We think that there's much more value in selling the company as an operating entity, with producing facilities, and with the genetics facility in place," Mr Brennan said.

Mr Smit said Big Sky is working with suppliers to ensure feed is still delivered to its barns.

"Animal welfare is our greatest concern," Mr Smit said. "Our employees, of course as well, and our role is to stabilize the company and ensure all the animals are being fed and there's no issues along the way."

Big Sky was in financial trouble two years ago, again at a time when pork prices fell.

According to SaskPork, Big Sky Farms produces 40 per cent of the province's pork. It has operations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In the past, the government of Saskatchewan invested some $30 million in the company.