OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Jurgen Preugschas, chairman of the Canadian Pork Council, and board member Stephen Moffett appeared as witnesses before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on May 26 to address the committee's study on the competitiveness of Canadian agriculture. Mr. Preugschas said he is concerned the Canadian hog sector’s competitiveness has been severely impacted by the various shocks that have hit it over the past three years.

The sector’s recovery will depend on how well the industry and the government react to this extraordinary situation, Mr. Preugschas said. High feed costs, a strong Canadian dollar, low hog prices and the economic crisis reducing access to credit and Country of Origin Labeling "have all conspired to dramatically harm pork producers," Mr. Moffett added. "And now we've been slammed with the negative consumer perceptions around H1N1 influenza."

"Producers have been responsibly adjusting to market signals as best as they can and now governments need to act," Mr. Preugschas said. "While we remain optimistic about the long-term potential for the Canadian hog sector, it is increasingly difficult to be prepared for and manage the impacts that continue to face the industry."