Banff Pork Seminar: Today's Challenge, Tomorrow's Opportunities

CANADA - In his opening address to the Banff Pork Seminar (BPS), Chairman Don Down explained the thinking behind the theme, which this year was '"Today's challenge, tomorrow's opportunities'.
calendar icon 23 January 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

When the Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) advisory committee picked its 2014 theme, it reflected a consistent message that committee members heard repeatedly, said Don Down BPS chair, reports Meristem Land and Science.

"The industry is ready to take on challenges but more than just being ready, it must move forward to capture the opportunities."

"There are several challenges," Mr Down told his Banff audience in opening the 2014 Seminar, "but I want to mention three in particular".

  • Trade issues: We are working through COOL issues with our closest trading partner, and we continue to look for opportunities in countries such as Russia and Korea.
  • Social pressures: The ability of our industry to produce abundant, safe affordable food is always under pressure from advocacy groups.
  • Health: The impact of PED in the US has been significant. It has certainly impacted producers as well as the markets.

Along with challenges come opportunities, Mr Down continued:

  • Corn prices are much lower. The 2013 corn yield was 30 percent larger than 2012 on 500,000 more harvested acres.
  • The Canadian dollar: The dollar is trading at $0.92-$0.93 currently versus par or slightly above par a year ago.
  • Demand: It's up.
  • Carcass weights: The impact of PED resulting in fewer hogs marketed is also pulling carcass weights up. Can we deliver this economically?

"Embracing our challenges will lead us to future opportunity," Mr Down said. That thinking drove the selection of topics and speakers for the 2014 Seminar.

He paid tribute to the 2014 BPS advisory committee, which brings together top people from across Canada who donate their time and resources to develop the BPS programme. From east to west they include:

  • Quebec: Michel Vignola, Nutreco and Sylven Blouin, Agri Marche
  • Ontario: John Otten, South West Veterinary Services
  • Manitoba: Steffen Klink, PIC
  • Saskatchewan: Nancy Lidster, DNL Farms
  • Alberta: Ruurd Zijlstra, University of Alberta, BPS Program Director; Marliss Wolfe Lafreniere, BPS Coordinator; Michael Dyck, University of Alberta; Geoff Geddes, Alberta Pork; Ron Gietz, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development; Bob Kemp, Genesus Inc. (Vice Chair); Martin Bowman, Verus Alliance; Dawn Magrath, Innovative Veterinary Services Inc.; Mark Chambers, Sunterra Farms.
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