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Keystone Agricultural Producers Calls for Federal, Provincial Gov't Help for Pork Producers

18 September 2012, at 7:18am

CANADA - Keystone Agricultural Producers is calling for immediate intervention by the federal and provincial governments to address what's being described as the worst crisis in the pork industry in Canadian history, writes Bruce Cochrane.

In recent days two of Canada's largest pork producers, Humboldt, Saskatchewan based Big Sky Farms and Niverville, Manitoba based Puratone, have filed for bankruptcy protection citing high feed costs due to drought in the US coupled with low hog prices.

Keystone Agricultural Producers president Doug Chorney says feed costs have been driven to a level that make it impossible for hog feeders to recover their costs, that has trickled down to weanling producers causing many of them to depopulate their sow herds and we're seeing commercial lenders backing away from the industry.

Doug Chorney-Keystone Agricultural Producers:

We've worked closely with Manitoba Pork Council to discuss options and there's also a federal task force that's got representation from Manitoba on it looking at solutions. One of the proposed ideas was to have financing of 130 to 150 million dollars for the next six to nine months to help the farmers just get through this period of difficulty so that when profitability comes back to the market place they can rebound and continue to operate.

That's the approach we're taking right now and we see federal and provincial government both needing to participate in this.

It's just too big of an ask for the province to do alone and we would look to minister Ritz and our provincial minister Kostyshyn to work together on approaches that work for them.
Mr Chorney says we don't have months or weeks to contemplate action but rather decisions are being made on a daily basis so we need to see some strong signals from governments that they're going to stand up and help producers at this difficult time.

He says hard decisions are having to be made and he knows friends who are depopulating hog barns now because they can't see their way through this situation in the next six months to a year.

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