royal-brandon-winnersWhat’s a fair without a competition and what’s a competition without a winner? Often the culture of removing competition from events like this actually takes away that feeling of accomplishment for those who enter these events, but not so at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon in April.
Manitoba Pork Council, the title sponsor of this popular competition, which celebrates excellence in pork production and lets producers compare the quality of their carcasses with that of other producer’s announced the winners of the Pork Quality Competition at a mid-week luncheon. The judges base their decisions on attributes of the carcass such as fat depth, loin depth, colour and marbling.
With 17 high quality pork carcasses entered, the best of the best received cash prizes with first going to Barrickman Colony of Cartier, MB, second to Signature Genes, third and fourth to Hidden Valley Colony, and fifth to Rolling Acres Colony.
The winners donate a portion of their prizes to a charity of their choice, which this year included the Children’s Wish Foundation and Ronald McDonald House. The first place carcass went to the Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon for teaching purposes, and the four runner-ups carcasses went to the food banks in the region.
Not only is it a chance to see how one producer does against another, but the annual Royal Manitoba Winter Fair Pork Quality Competition offers the province’s pork producers the opportunity to showcase the quality of the product they produce to many non-farmers, people who sometimes wonder where their food comes from.
Karl Kynoch, the chair of Manitoba Pork, says in an age of high level bio-security, this type of event allows producers to compare their product with that of their peers and the public to learn about the pork they buy.
“This gives the producers the opportunity to bring these carcasses in here for judging and it shows them what type of a carcass they’re producing and it just shows them if they’re doing the right thing on the farm,” said Kynoch. “It gives the public the opportunity to come out and look at the carcasses and just see all the time and effort and also look at the quality of the product that they’re buying in the stores and bringing home to their homes to cook.”
Kynoch says it also gives the opportunity for the industry to come out and just show the public some of the things the industry is doing in the barns by displaying some of the equipment and answer questions so all around it’s a real strong connection between the producer and the public.
“One of the things to remember producers grow Manitoba pork is locally, people prefer it globally,” he says. “We are big in the export markets and we produce a high quality product. That’s why we’re into those markets.”  •
— By Harry Siemens