Maple Leaf Foods (Brandon) announced recently they have started a reduced processing schedule by cutting one day per month, for the next five months. “This temporary “brown-out” is because of a lack of market hogs. This situation will not improve until producers build more barns to produce market hogs,” says Karl Kynoch, Chair of Manitoba Pork Council (MPC).
Kynoch indicates producers will invest in new barns but the current environmental regulations are killing that investment opportunity. “We have better technologies that protect the environment, but are more cost effective for producers,” says Kynoch.
MPC has been meeting regularly with government and processors for the past five years to resolve the challenges of insufficient market hogs not matching processing capacity. MPC and processors have developed financial packages to lever new private capital investment at the farm level, with some short-term support from government. For example, MPC met last week in Ottawa with government and industry officials to explain the core programs, which would resolve the lack of market hogs.
“It has been a very frustrating exercise. We developed programs which are market-driven, would bring in millions of dollars of new investment, and create thousands of new jobs,” says Kynoch. He also pointed out that, “The number of market hogs could be increased as we have the sow-base and the processing capacity to take the pigs. But we need some help to lever more private capital investment on-farm, and for government to stop forcing regulations, which discourage investment and do nothing for the environment.” •