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Not a Happy New Year for pig farmers!

by 5m Editor
14 January 2003, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - Farmgate prices have dropped, feed costs remain high, the average pig farmer is losing thousands of dollars per week and they’re still not eligible for drought assistance from the NSW government!

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January is traditionally tough, as pig prices drop in response to a fall in demand for ham and pork after Christmas. With most pig farmers already operating at a significant loss due to the drought, times are now even harder.

Pig farmer, Mark Pickford* from Orange said “we're considering whether to sell up or expect a miracle. But intensive industries (such as poultry and pork) are excluded from the transport subsidies that form a major plank of the NSW drought package“.

“At the very least, I need to maintain my breeding herd just to stay in business and this is becoming increasingly difficult without any drought assistance. My family are feeling the pinch as our future becomes more and more uncertain“.

“The only drought relief pig farmers can get in our region is if we decide to borrow more money. I’m already in considerable debt because of the drought and don't think it’s viable to place more pressure on my family“.

“The State Government must widen its assistance to all farmers, regardless of the type of enterprise they run. All my family wants is a fair go. Assistance would allow some relief in the cost of moving stock, fodder, grain and water“.

“Everyone knows grain prices are high, and our costs of production exceed what we're being paid for our pigs. We’ve worked hard to sustain our businesses through this drought as best we can. What do we have to do to get some action from the government?“ he asked.

The NSW pork industry contains 31% of Australia’s pork farmers, employs 7963 people and is worth $652 million in the pork value supply chain. The drought combined with the drop in prices means that jobs in rural areas and markets are under significant threat.

*Mark Pickford is a family pig farmer, a member of APL and a member of the NSW Pork Committee (a division of the NSW Farmers' Association).

Source: Australian Pork - 8th January 2003

5m Editor