Meeting Consumer Demands, Maintaining Viability

CANADA - The programme director with the Banff Pork Seminar says the ability to meet market demands while maintaining economic viability remain among the key challenges facing Canadian pork producers, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 11 January 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The Banff Pork Seminar, slated for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week (15 to 17 January), offers members of the pork value chain the opportunity to learn about the latest developments within the pork industry and to network.

Dr Ruurd Zijlstra, an Animal Science Professor with the University of Alberta and the program director with the Banff Pork Seminar, says the 2013 conference will focus on the challenges facing members of the pork value chain as a result of recent changes within the industry.

Dr Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta

There's a magnitude of challenges. Some that come to mind are how do we set up the industry to be proactively listening to the consumers and making sure that our production systems meet requirements for whoever is willing to actually pay for pork.

That means we need to make sure that our production systems long term meet market demands.

Another thing that comes to mind is of course economics.

Prices of pigs and therefore the markets here in western Canada have been under tremendous pressure.

As a result of that pig prices haven't been across this summer and early fall what is expected for long term success of the industry.

Then, of course, another one that really hit home this year was a continued increase of feed costs, in part due to the drought in the United States that finally also affected us here in western Canada even though harvest here was actually not too bad.

Dr Zijlstra observes the Canadian pork industry is undergoing tremendous change as a result of changes in feed costs, changes in how the industry is organized and we have continued challenges with how to improve animal welfare and productions systems while maintaining market access.

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