Government support needed for Canada's hog industry

by Bryan Salvage
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OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Canada’s hog industry has prepared a comprehensive plan to guide the sector through the next five years, in the face of overwhelming and repeated challenges. The Strategic Transition Plan, prepared by the Canadian Pork Council and presented to Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, provides guidance on a number of pressing issues that must be urgently addressed if the Canadian hog and pork sector is to have a viable future, C.P.C. relayed.

"Producers know that in order to be profitable in future, they must be committed to change," says Jurgen Preugschas, C.P.C. chairman. "They know that many of the fundamentals that resulted in strong growth in the past no longer exist but that new opportunities will arise. This plan outlines a roadmap to ensure the industry is still here to take advantage of those future opportunities."

Mr. Preugschas said the document outlines what a successful transition would require, including a special H1N1 Recovery Plan Loan, adjustments to the Advance Payments Program emergency advances and a Hog Farm Transition Payment Program.

The plan, which provides a roadmap through to 2014, describes characteristics of a successfully restructured industry, including:

  • Domestic disappearance of Canadian pork totaling 730,000 tonnes, an increase of 150,000 tonnes over 2008
  • Exports of 4 million live hogs to the U.S., 5.3 million fewer than 2008
  • Total pork exports of 1 million tonnes, 20% of which will be to the U.S.
  • Total domestic slaughter of 21.5 million head, 0.2 million fewer than 2008
  • A reduction in total production from 31 million in 2008 to 25.5 million pigs
  • Domestic market share of 88% compared with 75% in 2008

Several additional strategic initiatives that will contribute to the long-term competitiveness of the industry are also included in the transition plan.

C.P.C. and its member organizations agree it is not in Canada's interest to "simply prop up the industry in an attempt to maintain the status quo. Dramatic change is necessary and urgent action is critical."

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