Canada forms hog industry restructuring plan

by Bryan Salvage
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QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC — Canada’s government is creating a three-pronged restructuring plan to help the country’s pork producers. The plan calls for investing in key marketing initiatives to get more customers to buy Canadian pork, providing government-backed credit to help viable businesses operate during the current economic uncertainty and assisting struggling operations to transition out of the industry.

"These investments will rebuild the Canadian pork industry for the long term and we will continue to work with pork producers as they restructure their operations," said National Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, who also serves as Minister of State for Agriculture.

The new initiatives include:

  • An International Pork Marketing Fund of C$17 million for market research, promotion and access initiatives to find new customers for Canadian pork products.
  • Long-term loans with government-backed credit that financial institutions can offer to allow viable hog operations to restructure their businesses. These loans will be provided at market rates. Producers with sound business plans will be able to access short-term credit for operating costs such as feed and payroll.
  • A Hog Farm Transition Program to allow producers to tender bids for the amount of funding they need to transition out of the hog industry and cease hog production for at least three years. This program will invest up to C$75 million to gradually reduce production and oversupply issues.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials are working closely with the pork industry and financial institutions to finalize program details.

"We know Canadian hog producers can become profitable again, but we have to face tough realities to make our pork industry lean and competitive," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Some operations simply aren't viable any more and we are going to help them transition out of the industry and reduce production. Some operations need access to credit to weather the current economic storm and we are providing government-backed loans to help them restructure. Farmers want to make their living in the marketplace and we're investing in marketing to find new customers for Canadian pork and make our pork industry successful for the long term."

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