Manitoba Pork Council Urges Investment in New Pig Housing

CANADA - Manitoba Pork Council is calling on government to support a proposal that would help attract more private investment in the construction of the new hog barns necessary to optimise the province's pork processing capacity, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 11 February 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

A proposed Pork Chain Development Plan that would encourage the construction of new swine production facilities in Manitoba was discussed last week as part of Manitoba Swine Seminar 2014.

Manitoba Pork Council general manager, Andrew Dickson, says the last five years have been hard on the balance sheets of most pork producers and they lack the equity to invest in new barns so government is being asked to help lever private capital for new barn construction to make sure our processing plants work properly.

Andrew Dickson - Manitoba Pork Council

There's a lot of details that haven't been sorted out.

We've put a short description of how this might work to government, both at the provincial and federal level, and we're in discussion right now with how that might operate.

The key issue here, and we're open to suggestions, is how to get new investment back into the Manitoba industry and a larger perspective, how do we get more investment back into the hog sector in Canada?

The problems of Manitoba are reflected in Saskatchewan and in Alberta, Ontario has got similar issues.

They've got plants that are not running at full capacity and producers are looking at how do we renovate our industry in a sense.

Our barns in Manitoba for example are getting to be about 16 to 17 years old in age and at some point we've got to start rebuilding barns.

Technically we should be building 20 to 30 barns per year just to maintain the stock of housing we've got and that's not been happening.

We've been building maybe four barns in the last five or six years and we're getting behind now.

Mr Dickson says there are opportunities to make money and we have the capacity to process more finishing pigs.

He added that we actually need a million to a million and a half more finished pigs in Manitoba to allow the province's processing plants to run at equivalent capacity to their counterparts in the United States.

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