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Tough times for pork producers

by 5m Editor
5 December 2007, at 9:20am

US - Pork producers are on the ropes and some cattle producers in British Columbia are being forced out of business because of low prices, soaring feed costs and the strong Canadian dollar.

While grain prices have more than doubled over the past 18 months - riding a wave driven by subsidized U.S. demand for corn to make ethanol - farmers across the continent are getting the lowest prices for their animals in years.

"We're in a really precarious situation," Langley farmer Jack Dewit, chairman of the B.C. Pork Producers Association, said in an interview Tuesday. "Our cost to feed a pig is $25 to $30 higher because of ethanol and then the strong Canadian dollar is adding another $25 to$30 per pig.

"As producers we're losing in the area of $50 to $60 for every hog we ship. It's not sustainable."

Up to 35 per cent of Canada's hog industry could disappear unless the market adjusts and people are willing to pay more for their food, said Dewit, who ships 8,000 to 9,000 animals each year.

Twenty five of B.C.'s 27 commercial hog producers operate in the Fraser Valley and without change soon, some will quit the industry, he said.

"There will have to be evidence the political will is there to have hog farming in the valley. If you've got land worth $60,000 an acre, why borrow against that just to lose it?"

Source: TheVancouverSun

5m Editor