C.P.C. takes issue with N.P.P.C. response to subsidy

by Bryan Salvage
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OTTAWA, ON. — As the Canadian hog industry has and continues to adjust to market signals, the Canadian Pork Council said it "takes serious issue" with a statement issued several weeks ago by the National Pork Producers Council regarding Canadian pork farmers. N.P.P.C. said in a news release a proposal made by the Canadian Pork Council to initiate an emergency government subsidy program for the Canadian pork industry would have a "lethal impact" on U.S. pork producers (Read "N.P.P.C. opposes C.P.C. subsidy program" in the July 22 edition of MEATPOULTRY.com for more information.)

N.P.P.C.’s suggestion that Canadian actions will negatively affect U.S. prices "is galling", said one Canadian industry official. "On the contrary, Canadian pig prices have been in large part artificially depressed by such things as U.S. Country of Origin Labeling rules," said Jurgen Preugschas, C.P.C. chairman. "Many former U.S. customers for Canadian pigs and pork have ceased purchasing our products due to the burden C.O.O.L. has created for food handlers in the U.S. Live hog exports from Canada to the U.S., since C.O.O.L. became mandatory, have declined sharply. Fully 36% fewer hogs have been exported to the U.S. this year compared to last."

C.P.C. relayed in a news release that for many years, both Canada and the U.S. have benefited from free trade in hogs and pork products. An open border has supported greater efficiency and provided jobs all along the supply chain in both countries. Both the hog and pork sectors operate in and benefit from a North American market. C.P.C. said it will continue to work closely with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and continue to respect its working relationships with the international community.

"The past three years have been very trying for hog producers in Canada," Mr. Preugschas said. "Dramatic adjustments to Canada’s productive capacity have already taken place and the N.P.P.C. knows this."

This year compared to last, the Canadian sow herd has declined 6% -- and nearly 12% since 2007. The U.S. breeding herd has decreased by less than 4% over these past two years, or only one-third of the cut experienced in Canada, C.P.C. claims. "The fact that U.S. production is not declining faster, despite suffering losses averaging $21 per pig since October 2007 according to the N.P.P.C. statement, is, frankly, quite surprising and disappointing," Mr. Preugschas concluded.

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