Alberta Pork Congress
The 41st annual Alberta Pork Congress will be held at Westerner Park in Red Deer Alberta June 9 – 11, 2015.
For exhibitors swine and cheese will be on the trade show floor Tuesday June 9th from 6 – 8.
The trade show floor will be open Wednesday June 10th from 9- 4:30. In the Harvest Centre doors open for the awards banquet reception  at 5:30 followed by the  dinner and industry awards at 6:30.
Sales for banquet, lunch (Wednesday) and BBQ lunch (Thursday) are available.
Thursday June 11th the trade show floor is open 9 – 4. New this year is the almost famous BBQ will be held on Thursday from 11:30 – 1:30.
For more information or details contact Kate Cheney Tradeshow Coordinator  PH: 403. 244.7821 or TF. 1.800.267.9180 or email  •

Red Deer Swine Tech
Early planning has begun for the 2015 Red Deer Swine Technology Workshop. Mark your calendars will be heldWednesday October 21st in Red Deer at the Sheraton.
More details will be available in future   editions.   •

Back by popular demand! The Alberta Pork Congress Annual General Meeting will once again be held in mid September in conjunction with the Annual Golf Tournament. Wednesday September 16th.
Breakfast will be served followed by the AGM at which time elections will take place for new members for the Board of Directors. Once the meeting has concluded this will be the first opportunity to book your booth space for the 2016 Alberta Pork Congress Tradeshow.
For those who choose to stay we’ll play a full round then be treated to a delicious pork dinner.  As always there will be prizes on hand for top honours!
Come for just the AGM or the entire day.  Details will be available shortly confirming the location and date.
Kate Cheney at 403.244.7821 or email will have more information.  •

Aherne Awards
Do you know of an innovator who should be recognized? Someone who has developed an original solution to answer a pork production challenge? Or found a creative use of a known technology?
The Banff Pork Seminar is proud to offer a chance for you to “strut your stuff” as a technology innovator and show the rest of us how to put it into practice!
The Dr. FX Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production recognizes innovators involved in the pork industry who are making a difference by applying new technologies or management techniques.
Innovators can win valuable prizes and free registration to the 2016 Banff Pork Seminar, January 12-14; you’ll be recognized by your peers and the pork industry and have a chance to present your solution at the 2016 Banff Pork Seminar.
Please nominate yourself, or apply on behalf of an innovator that deserves to be recognized. Help us to find these innovators and encourage them to apply for the Dr. FX Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production.
Specifically, we are looking for innovators who are capable of taking a new research concept, a technology, or even a management concept and apply it successfully in the production of pork. Innovations may be related to, but are not limited to, one of the following areas: Productivity, Profitability, Working Conditions, Animal Well Being, Reduced Environmental Impact, Pork Quality and Safety.
Anyone who has developed a solution to a pork production challenge may enter. Innovations must be relevant to North American pork production but do not necessarily have to be currently in use in Canada at the time of application.
Application and more information will be available online at Applications must be received by October 27, 2015. Apply today!
Please contact Conference Coordinator Marliss Wolfe Lafreniere at with questions.  •

SASK Pork Industry Symposium
Be sure to write down November 17th & 18th, that will be the 38th installment of the  Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium.
The symposium will be at the Saskatoon Inn. Look to future issues for more details.  •

Hog Days
Brandon will play host for Hog Days in December. The one day show will be held at the Keystone Centre in BrandonWednesday December 2nd.
Stay tuned to August-September issue for more details.  •

Banff Pork Seminar
Initial planning is underway for the 2016 Banff Pork Seminar. Mark your calendars January 12-14, 2016.
More information will be in the August/September edition.  •

CPC Supports Latest World Trade Organization Ruling on U.S.-COOL Rules
The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) is pleased with the recent announcement World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body Panel has found the May 23, 2013, revisions to the  United States – Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) rules have increased discrimination against Canadian livestock exports.
On May 18, the WTO released its ruling confirming the compliance panels’ conclusions that the amended U.S.-COOL rules were not in compliance with the WTO’s earlier rulings in 2011, 2012 and again in 2014. With the hearings and appeals, this makes it the fourth time the WTO has confirmed that COOL discriminates against livestock exports from Canada and Mexico.
“The U.S. has now lost four times at the WTO and it has no other appeal options,” stated CPC chair Rick Bergmann at a press event in Ottawa today with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Gerry Ritz, the Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, and representatives from the Canadian Cattleman’s Association (CCA) “It is high time that the illegal impact of COOL on Canada’s exported livestock is recognized by Congress and that they fix the legislation.”
The CPC estimates the accumulated costs and damage to Canadian hog producers since 2009 when the challenge began is nearly $3 billion because of price declines, lost sales and additional cost burdens.
CPC Past Chair Jean-Guy Vincent,” The COOL legislation must be changed. Only by doing this will the U.S. avoid forcing Canada to pursue its rights to retaliate against U.S. exports to Canada.”
The Government of Canada has been very helpful during the more than five years CPC has been engaged in this crucial COOL trade dispute. Warnings by Ministers Ritz and Fast, to the U.S. that failure to change the COOL legislation to remove discrimination and eliminate the need to segregate Canadian animals would result in retaliation against U.S. exports to Canada. This second Appellate Body decision enables Canada and Mexico to implement WTO-authorized trade retaliation later this year. Imports from U.S that could be blocked. include live cattle and hogs; fresh, chilled or frozen beef or pork; bacon,  some cheeses, fresh fruits and processed meats; rice; maple syrup; pasta; tomato ketchup; certain sugars; and other non-food items.
The CPC has coordinated with the Government of Canada and the CCA to remove the inequities of the U.S. COOL regime which became mandatory in 2008.  •

Alberta Pork Election Results Are Now In
By the end of the working day on April 17, 2015, the Alberta Pork Elections Returning Officer (Darcy Fitzgerald) received 6 nominations for the 4 available Director-at-Large positions. However, one nominee decided to withdraw his name from the running and a second nominee accepted an appointment to fill a vacancy on the board.
As a result, the remaining 4 nominees were elected by acclamation:
Frank Novak – returning for a second 3 year term. Martin Bowman – returning for a second 3 year term. Ard Bonthuis – returning for a second 3 year term. Mark Wipf – elected for first 3 year term
Rein Overweg has been appointed by the board to fill the position vacated by Jaco Poot until the term ends in 2016. Rein will then be eligible to run for two 3 year terms after that.
Therefore, no election ballots will be mailed to producers and an election will not be held at the regional meetings in 2015.
Also on the Board of Directors are:
Will Kingma, Marcel Rupert and Dan Majeau
Congratulations to our 4 acclaimed Directors-at-Large and 1 appointed Director-at-Large!  •

Hog Production up, Prices down
Hog slaughter numbers are rising, and the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) that plagued the industry is “largely absent,” according to figures from United States Department of Agricuture’s latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Report.
USDA says that typical seasonal patterns are expected to prevail in May and June, but slaughter numbers will likely be higher than initially forecast — about 5.8 percent higher than the second quarter of 2014.
Prices are expected to average 42 percent below a year ago.
On the positive side for hog producers, “PEDv appears to be largely absent” as a production factor so far this year, and moderate feed costs will likely continue to take some of the sting out of lower hog prices, USDA said.
Expansion of U.S. breeding inventories in 2015, largely in response to extraordinary PEDv-driven producer returns in 2014, are expected to result in larger 2016 pork supplies and lower hog prices.
On the other hand, prices are expected to be under pressure which, in turn, is expected to benefit consumers and exporting.  •
— By Jim Romahn

Providing Objects in the Pen for Pigs to Play with Stimulates Natural Behavior
A researcher with the Saskatoon based Prairie Swine Centre says, by placing different objects in the pen, pork producers will be providing an outlet that will stimulate the pig’s natural desire to seek out food, to root and to explore.
Under Canada’s revised Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs, those who raise pigs are required to provide multiple forms of environmental enrichment.
Dr. Yolande Seddon, a research scientist ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, notes the code outlines what’s considered as acceptable enrichments.
This can be social enrichments, so when ever the pigs can see or hear another pig.
This can also be a physical enrichment, so have we altered the pen environment so the pig can manipulate an object in particular.
This can be sensory, have we provided tactile stimulation for the pig in the pen, have we provided smells, sights, sounds and also occupational, can the pig manipulate an object.
Under the physical as well, I think, is physical alteration of the pen.
For instance in electronic sow feeding systems, leaving the bedroom areas, creating a separate lying area could be classed as a physical enrichment in the pen.
In terms of what is more commonly seen as environmental enrichment is actually addition of objects to stimulate normal and natural behaviors in the animal.
For pigs, we know that they in the wild would spend over 50 percent of their time rooting around foraging for food so we have very strong motivation to provide this behavior.
Even though we feed them adlib in a grower facility they are still motivated to seek out food and perform rooting.
If we can provide them with objects in the pens to root, to chew, to explore, to learn about their environment we will be providing an outlet for that behavior.
Dr. Seddon says a wide variety of objects can be used but it’s important to make sure they are safe for the pigs to manipulate and chew and they should be anchored to ensure they don’t end up in the dunging area because once that happens the pigs won’t touch them.  •

Canadian Vets Encouraged to Join Swine Intelligence Network
Western Canada’s pork producers are being encouraged to tell their veterinarians to participate in the Western Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network, states Farmscape.
Pork producer councils in the four western provinces, in partnership with the Offices of the Provincial Chief Veterinary Officers, have established a Western Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network to assume responsibility for swine health surveillance in western Canada.
Dr Egan Brockhoff, from Prairie Swine Health Services in Red Deer, told those participating in Alberta Pork’s monthly telephone town hall recently, the Western Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network is one of three arms working across Canada focusing on disease monitoring and disease knowledge transfer.
Western Canada has this western swine health intelligence network and Ontario has built an Ontario Swine Health Network and of course Quebec has their long standing monitoring system as well.
Those three systems are working together with the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network, which came out of the Canadian Swine Health Board, really to protect Canada’s pig herd from new disease, from emerging disease and help inform people what’s happening with disease that we have endemic in the country.
Dr Brockhoff said this is a great way to keep our finger on the pulse of the health of pigs in western Canada.
He noted Alberta Pork has been a leader  in supporting the development of this program and anyone with questions should feel      free to contact Alberta Pork for more information.  •

JSR Genetics and Topigs Norsvin
Agree to a Genetic Partnership
JSR Genetics and Topigs Norsvin have reached an agreement to form a genetic partnership for Great Britain. JSR Genetics will become the exclusive distributor of Topigs Norsvin genetics in Great Britain and the AI activities of AIM UK in Great Britain will be integrated into the JSR AI network. AIM UK is part of the Topigs Norsvin AI network. In addition, JSR Genetics and Topigs Norsvin will combine their Research and Development programs. The international activities of JSR are not included in the partnership.
The sow line breeding of JSR will now be ‘powered by Topigs Norsvin’ which means Topigs Norsvin will be responsible for breeding value calculations and other technology related to the JSR breeding program
in Great Britain.  •

Watching Water Use Could Save  Costs
on Pig Farms
By keeping closer tabs on water, pork producers can cut costs by reducing water waste and by reducing the volumes of manure that must be handled, reports Farmscape.
“Managing Utility Costs: How can we better manage the barn environment,” was among the topics discussed as part of the Prairie Swine Centre’s 2015 Manitoba Spring Producer Meetings.
Ken Engle, the manager of technology transfer with the Saskatoon-based Prairie Swine Centre, said by keeping a close watch on water use producers can improve their bottom lines.
He says pigs can be hard on equipment so, when first putting in pigs in a new room turn people should test the water to make sure it’s clean and everything is properly adjusted.
They should also check nipple heights every couple of weeks and randomly monitor flow rates to make sure they’re in that 500 to 1,000 millilitres per minute range.  •

Hog Farmers Urged to Have a Plan for Euthanasia
Hog farmers should have a well-thought-out plan for euthanizing their hogs, and it ought to be written down in detail, says Dr. Craig Wilkinson of the University of Alberta.
Speaking to a monthly town hall meeting organized by Alberta Pork, he said farmers often have trouble deciding when to euthanize an animal.
“From a welfare perspective it’s probably better to err on the side of ensuring that we don’t do it too late,” he said.
“That’s really what the planning is all about, is making sure that we can do the best we can to define the best time to do it but knowing that there’s just no way to know the perfect time.”
Dr. Wilkinson says the euthanasia plan should clearly describe methods based on the age and size of the animal, define how the animal should be restrained, outline equipment and how it will be maintained and address the human safety aspects.
The new national Pig Code of Practice calls for farmers to have a plan for euthanizing pigs. •
— By Jim Romahn

U.S. Pork Makes
Market Access Gains in China, Peru, Europe
Pork fat eligible for China
Effective May 11, U.S. pork fat (under HS code 020910) was added to the list of products eligible for export to China. This regulatory change clarifies that fresh/frozen cutting fat or fat trimmings are eligible for China, while other forms of edible fat (such as rendered pork lard) are not eligible.
Commercial opportunities for U.S. pork fat are considerable in China, especially in the processed meat sector. It is important to note, however, that any U.S. pork fat shipped to China must be from a plant eligible to export to China, and must comply with all requirements outlined in the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s ractopamine control program.  •

Interest Builds Among Western Canadian Pork Processors in Expanded Pork
As anticipated the USDA’s March Hogs and Pigs Report showed the US breeding herd has grown, although at a slower rate than expected but that, combined with lower losses from PED, means US production will increase this year dampening interest in the US in bringing on new production.
Florian Possberg, the chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says there is a desire in western Canada to increase pork production.
Possberg notes there are still facilities in western Canada that were shut down in 2008 and 2009 when the Canadian industry had a buy-out program to reduce supplies, so there is opportunity to bring these facilities back into production.
He says at this point there hasn’t been a large interest in bringing on new production capacity.  •

McCain Wants More Hogs and Workers
Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer for Maple Leaf Foods Inc., says he wants more hogs and more workers for the company’s huge hog-packing plant at Brandon.
“We’re not advocating unbridled growth, we’re advocating an efficient industry that needs balance,” he told a meeting of the Manitoba Pork council.
The plant has capacity to slaughter 90,000 hogs a week, but gets only 70,000. That’s one million pigs per year and McCain said “we think it’s in everybody’s interest to find the path to balance that.”
The province brought in strict environmental guidelines in 2008 that has stymied the building of new hog barns.
McCain was pleased to learn from the pork council members that the provincial government is easing the restrictions; he said the industry needs about 175 new barns.
Maple Leaf is also seeking workers from across Canada after the federal government tightened rules governing the temporary foreign workers program.
“On labour supply, we have more obstacles than we have support,” he said.
“In the temporary foreign worker program across the country, from coast to coast, there were issues, there were abuses, and they needed to be corrected, but Brandon, Manitoba (and) Manitoba at large, was not one of them,” he said.
“We have the need, we have the infrastructure, it was managed responsibly and we think that’s an important component of getting back to a balanced and efficient industry.”
He said more than 800 of the more than 1,000 workers Maple Leaf brought to Brandon have become permanent residents. That government approval is a step towards becoming Canadian citizens.
“That’s something we should be proud of,” he said.
He said Maple Leaf runs a successful domestic recruiting program across Canada, but it won’t be able to meet demand.  •
— By Jim Romahn

Bureaucrat Blows Whistle on COOL
Barry Carpenter, who for five years worked on Country of Origin Labeling regulations for the United States Department of Agriculture, now calls it a disaster that could never be made compliant with World Trade Organization standards.
Carpenter, who now is chief lobbyist for the U.S. meat-packing industry, told Meatingplace Magazine that he hopes the U.S. will finally give up on COOL, now that the World Trade Organization has ruled against it for a fourth time.
Carpenter told Meatingplace “you really want me to tell you about COOL? It’s been a disaster from Day One.
“It’s an example of what doesn’t work when it isn’t market-driven. “Basically [USDA] … took a set of information no one was clamoring for and no one was willing to pay for and forced it on the industry, adding millions in cost with no value at all.”
COOL cost Canadian cattle and hog farmers more than $1 billion a year in depressed prices because U.S. packers were reluctant to buy Canadian livestock whose meat had to be segregated throughout processing for accurate labeling.
It also cost the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Canadian Pork Council hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal and consulting fees to join the federal government and Mexico in the World Trade actions against COOL.  •
— By Jim Romahn

Fast Track Approval Granted
American politicians have granted President Barrack Obama approval for fast-track trade negotiations with the Trans-Pacific Partnership nations.
Fast-track approval means politicians will vote either yes or no to any deal that emerges from the negotiations.
Without fast-track approval, the deal could be nit-picked by politicians. Other countries are unlikely to deal with the United States on that basis.
The political wars in Washington have become so intense and unreasonable that there were serious doubts whether the politicians would grant fast-track negotiating rights.
The National Pork Producers Council praised the politicians for granting approval, but the National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson complained that a trade deal will be “a one way ticket to bigger trade deficits, more lost jobs and more economic devastation to America’s family farmers and ranchers.”  •
— By Jim Romahn

PEDv Environmental Sampling
Environmental sampling for PEDv has continued across the province. The Ministry of Agriculture is conducting environmental PEDv sampling at high risk sites across the province. To date, 1046 site surveillance samples have been collected.   Many thanks to all the individuals involved in this project.
Because SDCoV and PEDv are both notifiable diseases in Saskatchewan, we now also receive reports of suspect or positive results from producer-submitted samples.
There is additional transport sampling occurring, in part due to the transportation biosecurity program. From June 2, 2014 to May 20, 2015, there have been 571 submissions (1234 samples) from industry for PEDv/SDCoV testing.
SDCoV suspect or positive samples have been detected at three different sites since the last report, including a truck wash, stored feed and  an on-farm loading dock. With respect to the truck wash, it was also found to be positive for PEDv, and the last tractor unit to be washed at the facility was suspected to be the source of the contamination. That unit was subsequently tested, washed, sanitized and re-tested – all tests were negative for PED and SDCoV. The truck wash was also cleaned, sanitized and re-tested. The stored feed was re-tested  and was positive for SDCoV – the feed was destroyed and the storage bins/area were cleaned and sanitized.
We appreciate the cooperation and timely responses from herd veterinarians in submitting requested samples, and in providing additional veterinary advice to sites when suspect or positive samples are detected.
Extra vigilance, early detection and cleanup will help keep higher risk areas free of these dangerous viruses.  •
— Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

New AB Ag Minister
Oneil Carlier is  Alberta’s new minister of agriculture and forestry.
Carlier was born in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, and was raised on his family’s farm. He moved to Alberta in 2002 and has worked as a regional representative with the Public Service Alliance of Canada.  •