Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

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Manitoba Swine Seminar – Hiring the right staff requires thorough planning

Posted in: Economics, Production by admin on July 14, 2011 | No Comments

Making sure you are hiring the right person requires thorough planning, says Shirley Hoult, Director of Human Resources for the Puratone Corporation, speaking at the Manitoba Swine Seminar 2008 on January 31, in Winnipeg.


The first step, she said, is to review the job you are hiring for and study your options.  Are you looking for full time, part time or casual workers?  Did the last person leave because of a problem related to your business?  If so, how can you fix the problem before hiring someone new?


There are many ways to advertise for new workers, Hoult noted.  In addition to the usual means of communication – newspaper ads, websites, job fairs, word of mouth, school presentations and local bulletin boards, Hoult also suggested using cinema ads, flyers in mailboxes, billboard signs, placemat and menu ads, windshield flyers and accessing foreign worker programs. Advertising, she said, should include an introduction to your business, with clear and concise information about the job and the qualifications required, contact information and the deadline for applying.


Once you have the applications in, make sure that the candidate is able to comply with biosecurity requirements and is able to work in a farm environment, for example doesn’t have any allergies or suffer from asthma.


In preparing to interview prospective workers, Hoult urges that you make sure the person(s) conducting the interview is knowledgeable about the job.  “Ask each applicant the same questions,” she said.  “Provide information about the company culture.  Listen rather than talk.  Set a minimum score and identify the top two candidates.”

It is important to ascertain that the new employee is comfortable with the pay range for the position and to check all references, Hoult said. She also recommended that the new hire be tested out with a trial day on the farm to see if he is up to the work and fits in with the farm culture.  She also advised following up with new employees at 30 day intervals to make sure that all is going well and to be able to correct any problems quickly.


Puratone, she said, provides a disciplined on-the-job training program with a 12-week training manual that covers all sections of its farms. Each employee also has his own development plan.  “You should also provide frequent performance feedback for new

employees over the first 90 days and at regular intervals thereafter,” she said.  “Pay should be linked to performance and there should be annual evaluations tied to both team and individual results.”


Of course, she noted, it is better to be able to retain existing staff than have to hire someone new.  “The key is to create a positive, respectful workplace where workers receive recognition for a job well done and everyone is treated fairly and consistently.”

Manitoba Swine Seminar – Animal nutritionist touts benefits of auto sort finishing

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With equipment, feed and production costs near record high levels, hog producers have to be pro-active at finding new ways to raise their pigs more efficiently, says Dr. Marvin Wastell.  One solution discussed by the Omaha, Nebraska-based animal nutritionist (he is associated with Gro Master, Inc.) is the use of large group auto sorting systems for managing growing/finishing pigs.  Wastell was in Winnipeg on January 31 to explain the

benefits of the systems to producers attending Manitoba Swine Seminar 2008. In addition to higher production costs, he noted, consumers are demanding consistent quality and many care that the animal products that they buy come from animals that were raised in a friendly environment.


In December 2005, Wastell reported, swine producers from five different countries met with a group of scientists in Le Mars, Iowa, to discuss and evaluate raising hogs in large pens using Auto Sorters.  The producers learned that there is an economic improvement potential of up to $16 US per pig marketed by raising pigs in this way.


He noted that there were rumours at one time that Auto Sorters resulted in some pigs dying. He dispelled that myth by citing results in northwest Illinois where 21,000 Auto Sort spaces have been installed with no fatalities.


He compared the results of using an Auto Sort system versus a small pen on the Blue Marsh Hog Farm near Plum Coulee. Manitoba.  The Auto Sort system resulted in slightly higher average daily weight gain, considerably less man hours involved in marketing (2.7 as compared to 32 for the pigs in the small pens) and more than $1 per pig less in labour costs.


A South Dakota producer found he could sell his Auto Sort-raised hog carcasses for $5.44 more than carcasses from hogs raised in small pens.  His production costs were $1.31 a head less. Wastell added that Hormel, an American packer in attendance at the Le

Mars meeting, reported that pigs marketed by producers with auto sorters have a $5.70 increased value over producers who don’t use auto sorters.


“A second question that is frequently asked is how many pigs can be sorted by a given sorter.” Wastell noted.  “One manufacturer recommends 1000-1400 pigs per sorter, but there are several different systems.”  Food court design can also have an effect on pig gains, he said.  A Saskatchewan producer was able to increase average daily gain by 160 g/day by changing the design of his food court.  Large pen auto sorting is not for everyone though, Wastell noted. “Preplanning is a must,” he said.  “The system must be designed for pig flow and people and training for pigs and people is a must.  There also

has to be changes in management procedure. “To be successful the AutoSort system requires a commitment from the producer, the employees managing the barns, the distributor and the manufacturer.”

International Roundup – Pork features well in environmental survey

Posted in: Economics, Environment, Meat Quality by admin on | No Comments

European retail chains are requesting more documentation regarding the environmental aspects of the products they purchase. Especially in the UK, the terms “food miles” and “carbon footprint” are gaining in popularity. The agricultural faculty of the University of Aarhus in Denmark recently carried out a life cycle analysis of pork from Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK on behalf of the Danish Meat Association.

The term “Food Miles” means the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (g CO2) during the transport of foodstuffs from the producer to the consumer. “Carbon Footprint” refers to the entire life cycle of a product and its greenhouse gas emissions. This term covers the entire value chain.

In the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions, the soybean crop growing in Argentina, the feed production in Denmark and the entire pig production chain including fertiliser production, slaughtering and meat dispatch was included. Through adding all emission values, a realistic value of greenhouse emissions can be calculated per kilo of pork.

According to the life cycle analysis, 1kg pork contributes 3.6kg CO2 equivalents to global warming. As a comparison, replacing a normal 60-watt lamp with an energy saving lamp burning for an hour provides a yearly reduction of 13kg of greenhouse emissions. Transporting by truck to Munich or by ship to Tokyo, the amount increases to 3.7-3.8kg CO2 equivalents per kg pork. This indicates that “Food Miles” do not have much of an environmental effect and represent less than 1% of the entire emissions in the production chain.

The study revealed no large differences between Danish, Dutch and British greenhouse gas emissions for pork.

International Roundup – New record for US pork exports

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The US pork industry achieved its 16th consecutive record-setting year of exports in 2007, according to statistics compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). One of every four pounds of pork traded today originates from the US.

Overall, pork exports increased three percent in volume compared to 2006, surpassing 1.3 million metric tons, nearly 2.9 billion pounds. The value of those exports jumped 10 percent over 2006, exceeding $3.15 billion.

Japan remains the top destination and accounts for 36 percent of the value of all US pork exports. It imported 358,582 metric tons during 2007, valued at $1.152 billion and a six percent increase on the year. “US Pork is perceived as the highest quality product available,” said Greg Hanes, USMEF Japan director.

Mexico is the second highest importer of US pork and pork products although this market saw a 22 percent decline in imports during 2007.

China/Hong Kong was the largest growth market for US pork exports, jumping 91 percent to 169,160 metric tons, nearly 373 million pounds, valued at almost $271 million. Exports to China/Hong Kong surpassed exports to Canada in volume, with 148,576 metric tons or 327.5 million pounds, but Canada remains the No. 3 market in value of pork exports at $491.58 million, a 12 percent jump over 2006.

International Roundup – Ethanol powering US meat and poultry price rise

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Soaring meat and poultry prices in the US are being fuelled by the country’s ethanol policy, says economist Dr. Tom Elam, president of Farm Econ. “You cannot use the combined grain crops of Australia and Indonesia for US fuel and not have an impact on corn, soybean and food prices”, he explains. Elam expects food price inflation to rise five or six percent in 2009 and estimates the cumulative costs to the food industry of the renewable fuel program will be about $100 billion from 2005-2010. The program mandates minimum ethanol production and provides tax incentives for ethanol use.

As part of his analysis, Elam compared what would have happened without the federal bio-fuels program with what has happened. According to his findings, farm level corn prices in 2008 would have averaged about $2.77 per bushel without the program. Ethanol tax credits have added $1.33 per bushel, and may drive corn to more than $5 a bushel in 2009, he says.

Elam has calculated production costs per animal have increased by 53 cents per chicken; $3.40 per turkey; $38 per hog and $117.50 per fed beef animal.

International Roundup – Ethanol boom running out of gas

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Development of new ethanol plants in the USA is grinding to a halt, according to a recent report by Jon Birger in CNN Money’s Fortune Magazine. Cargill has announced it is scrapping plans for a $200 million ethanol plant near Topeka, Kan. and the bankruptcy sale of an unfinished ethanol plant in Canton, Ill. was approved in early March, says the article.

Plans for as many as 50 new ethanol plants have been shelved in recent months, as Wall Street pulls back from the sector, says Paul Ho, a Credit Suisse investment banker specializing in alternative energy. Financing for new ethanol plants, Ho says, “has been shut down.”

The reason for the slowdown is runaway corn prices, notes the report. Spurred by an ethanol plant construction binge, corn prices have gone stratospheric, it says, soaring from below $2 a bushel in 2006 to over $5.25 a bushel today. As a result, it’s become difficult for ethanol plants to make a healthy profit, even with oil at $100 a barrel.

Industry Crisis

Posted in: Economics, Production by admin on July 12, 2011 | No Comments

Surprise at January census data 

With anecdotal evidence of a significant number of producers quitting production, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan, there was surprise at the December pig census data released by Statistics Canada in January, which showed only a 1.9% drop in breeding stock numbers.  Total pig numbers, down 6%, perhaps better reflected the liquidation that is taking place, although a significant proportion of this is likely due to the increased numbers of pigs being shipped to the USA for finishing or slaughter.

Alberta showed the biggest drop in number of breeding pigs, at 4.9%, while total pig numbers fell 10.6%. However, a survey carried out by Alberta Pork in late 2007 suggested that about 15% of producers intended to quit and that there were possibly another 15% that had already started the process of running down their operations and therefore did not respond to the survey. Saskatchewan had the next biggest drop in breeding pig numbers, at 3%, while numbers in Manitoba fell by only 0.6%. Ontario and Quebec also showed modest reductions of 1.6% and 1.3% respectively.

Table 1:  Percentage change in pig numbers – December 2006 to December 2007

                                             CAN                          AB                 SK                     MB

Total pigs                                  -6                         -10.6               -10.3                    -2.0

Breeding stock                       -1.9                           -4.9                 -3.0                    -0.6

Other pigs                              -6.5                           -5.0               -11.1                    -2.2

< 20kg                                      -1                         -11.3                 -5.1                 +13.4

20-60kg                              -11.4                         -11.3               -18.0                  -12.3

> 60kg                                   -7.3                         -10.7               -10.4                  -11.4

It seems likely that the unexpectedly low reduction in breeding pig numbers reflects the time taken to dispose of inventory and the difficulty in getting sows slaughtered at the end of 2007 and into 2008 was probably also a factor. Many producers seem to have taken their decision in the late fall and the reduced numbers will be shown more clearly in the April census data.

Numbers of pigs in the weight classes from weaning to slaughter were significantly down, indicative of the large increase in numbers being shipped to the USA. For Alberta, numbers in the <20kg, 20-60kg and >60g categories were all down about 11%, and similarly in Manitoba, where numbers fell by around 12%. In Saskatchewan, pigs in the 20-60kg category fell by a massive 18%, as the province’s two largest production companies continued to increase the number of pigs finished in the USA. 

While the January figures do not truly reflect the situation on the ground, they do show a trend towards a steady reduction in the national herd, which seems likely to continue for some time. With or without the federal Cull Breeding Swine Program, we are likely to see a further 10% reduction in sow numbers during 2008.

New government support includes cull sow program

Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Gerry Ritz, announced changes to the Agricultural Marketing Products Act (AMPA) at the end of February that will provide producers with better access to cash advances. He also announced a new sow cull program designed to assist producers who are either reducing their herds or exiting the industry altogether. Both the Canadian pork and beef sectors are now considered by the government to be facing “severe economic hardship” and therefore can qualify for emergency advances under the amended Act.

The requirement for livestock producers to use business risk management programs as security for cash advances has been removed and inventory values will be used instead.  This provision means that producers will not be limited by the value of their CAIS/Agri-Stability reference margin for the advance. Producers will also not have to use payments from these programs (such as interims, targeted advances or final CAIS/AgriStability payments) to repay the loans, unless they are in a default position.

The amendment has added “severe economic hardship” as a trigger for an emergency advance. When the “severe economic hardship” condition is declared, the requirement that the security for the advance be in first position is removed and the maximum amount of the advance raised to $400,000. The advance will be based on 50% of expected market price times the number of animals in inventory.

“Producers will have quicker and easier access to cash advances,” says Minister Ritz. “And, if all producers take advantage of the improved program, an estimated $3.3 billion in advance payments will be available.” 

“This is much needed help,” says Canadian Pork Council (CPC) president Clare Schlegel.

He notes, while this isn’t new money, the proposed changes to the APP will provide the breathing room livestock producers have been asking for. However he admits, “It doesn’t get us out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination but it is much needed help.”

In addition to these measures, a new $50 million Cull Breeding Program will provide support for hog producers taking steps to exit the industry or who permanently down size their operations. The objective is to reduce the national breeding herd by an additional ten percent over and above normal annual liquidations to more accurately reflect market conditions. Producers will be eligible for a per head payment for animals slaughtered and reimbursement for slaughter and disposal costs based on several conditions including that they depopulate at least one barn and not restock for three years.

 Sows and boars marketed from November 1, 2007 until the date when program applications become available will be eligible for a $225 payment per animal less the selling price received. The marketing of these animals is not subject to the restrictions for animals marketed after the applications become available, when slaughtered sows and boars must not enter the human food chain.  For the latest information, go to the CPC website,

Provinces announce more help for livestock producers

 Western provincial governments have responded positively to requests for assistance from livestock producer organizations as the high price of feed and low market prices continue. In February, producers in Alberta received an additional payment under the Alberta Farm Recovery Plan (AFRP), which was designed to compensate all farmers, not just those with livestock, for the high feed, fuel and fertilizer costs.  Re-appointed Agriculture Minister George Groeneveld delighted pork producers attending the Alberta Pork Congress in March when he hinted that the AFRP would likely be extended for another year. 

 Manitoba’s Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk also announced support for cattle and hog producers.  The province, through the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC), is making $60 million in loan support available to hog producers at attractive interest rates, which will assist producers facing significant cash flow challenges. Producers will be able to borrow $35 per slaughter hog and $10 per weanling sold between October 1, 2007, and May 31, 2008. Loans will be termed over eight years with the maximum amount being $2.5 million.

Principal payments on these loans will be deferred for the first three years. The first year interest rate will be 2.25 per cent on borrowed amounts of up to $1.5 million with 4.5 per cent charged on any remaining loan amount. All loans will have an interest rate of 4.5 per cent for years two and three and six per cent for the last five years. An additional interest rate reduction of one per cent will be available for young farmers for the first three years.

 “The livestock industry in Manitoba and across Canada has been under significant pressure,” said Wowchuk. “Producers in Manitoba need assistance and our government is committed to ensuring our farmers in this important sector receive support to maintain their farm businesses today and position the sector for future profitability.”

Saskatchewan’s pig producers are being offered early access to their expected 2008 AgriStability payout under a Targeted Advance Payment (TAP) program.  The 2008 program announcement came two months after Saskatchewan pig farmers went public with notices received from the agriculture income stabilization (CAIS) office, saying the farmers’ TAPs from the 2007 AgriStability program were going to be much less than what the office had originally informed them they would receive or, in some cases, zero.


Little comfort from Hogs and Pigs Report

 The USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report, released on March 28, provided little hope for pork producers in the USA and Canada, suggesting that there is going to be a lot more pork on the market than expected. Virtually all the inventory numbers set new records for March. All hogs and pigs came in at 65.909 million head, which is 6.5% more than last year and nearly 3% above pre-report estimates.  The breeding herd inventory was slightly larger than last year and the market herd saw a jump of 7.2% from last year to 59.77 million head, a much bigger jump than estimates had predicted. USDA also revised its 2008 pork production forecast by adding 90 million pounds to the first-quarter estimate to reflect higher-than-expected hog slaughter in February.

 First-quarter pork production is expected to be 5.96 billion pounds, a massive 10.5 percent above the same period last year.  Total commercial pork production in 2008 is expected to be 23.1 billion pounds, 5.4 percent above 2007.  First-quarter liveweight prices for 51-52 percent lean hogs are predicted to range between $40 and $41 per hundredweight, 12 percent below the same period a year ago.  Worse still, stocks of frozen pork on January 31, 2008 were 563.6 million pounds, 16 percent above year-earlier levels.  Continued build-up of cold stocks may signal a slowdown in pork demand.

 The one bright spot is that January 2008 pork exports were more than 353 million pounds, almost 27 percent above January 2007. 

 Kevin Greer, Senior Analyst at the George Morris Centre, says in his Alberta Pork Hog Market Report that, based on US forecasts and a par dollar, producers are in for a very difficult year. He predicts 110-index prices of $1.15-$1.20 per kilo in the second quarter, “over $1.30” in the third and a drift down to $1.15 to $1.20 in the last quarter of the year.

Smithfield to reduce sow herd by five percent

 Smithfield Foods announced in February that it will cut its US sow herd by 4-5% or 40,000 to 50,000 sows – a move that will ultimately result in production of 800,000 to 1 million fewer market hogs annually.  The company raises 18 million market hogs annually at present and said that it was introducing the changes immediately, although the effects on the number of pigs marketed will not be seen until early 2009.

 Given the economics for raising hogs today, we cannot continue on the current path; something has to change,” said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer. “Grain costs continue at record levels, with the potential of escalating, given the current US government policy favouring corn for ethanol. Today the economics are very challenging, and we believe that these increased costs will translate eventually into still higher food costs for the American consumer. In the meantime, Smithfield is taking immediate action to improve the efficiencies of our live production operations.”

 Murphy-Brown, Smithfield’s production division, announced last year that it was moving towards group sow housing, which for existing farms, will likely result in fewer sow places, especially in those locations where the opportunity to construct additional space is limited. Also, in North Carolina, changes to environmental regulations may lead to the need to reduce animal numbers. Therefore, although Smithfield cites economic conditions as the reason for the cutbacks, it seems likely that these factors played a major role in their decision.

 “Other hog producers will likely follow Smithfield’s lead and trim production,” believes Ron Plain, agricultural economist at the University of Missouri.  Also, he suggests, more cutbacks will be needed to push hog prices high enough to cover production costs. “This is not enough of a cutback to turn things around,” he said of Smithfield’s action.


European prices on the turn as pig numbers plummet

 The European average pig price increased by about 10% in the first quarter of 2008 and industry commentators expect further rises to continue as pig numbers throughout the region fall. There is hope that this signals a return to profitability for producers, whose costs have soared due to increases in feed prices. Census figures published so far this year show reductions of up to 10% in pig numbers. In Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland the sow herd fell by 10-11%, between December 2006 and December 2007. Data from Northern Ireland show an 8% reduction in sow and gilt numbers, while reports from Europe’s largest pig producing nations – Spain, Germany and Denmark – also suggest significant herd reductions.

 Despite the promise of better times to come, half of Denmark’s pig producers are at risk of going out of business in the next two years, according to Henrik Jeppesen of the country’s Fionia Bank.  Producers are concerned that his view by could be an expression of no faith in the ability of producers to survive the current shakeout in the European pig industry.  They fear that, if the bank starts a credit squeeze, producers will not be able to invest in new housing and equipment and that could signal Danish production grinding to a standstill.  A Danish Bacon and Meat Council spokesman is quoted as saying that during second half of this year there will again be enough profit for Danish pig farmers to “cover their expenses”.

 Meanwhile British producer organization, the National Pig Association, continues its creative campaign to persuade the country’s retailers to pay producers more for their pigs, while increasing public awareness of the situation the industry is in. In February, a group of producers took to the recording studio to record the song “Stand by your ham”, which received massive publicity around the world. Then, in early March, this was followed up with a rally in London, when around 1000 producers and supporters lobbied MPs and received a high profile in the media (see Stuart Lumb’s article in The View from Europe in this issue)

Focus on maximizing pig value, US economist advises

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Producers should focus on maximizing the value of the pigs that they sell in order to improve margins, rather than trying to cut costs without understanding the potential consequences, says Dr. Dennis DiPietre, an economist from Missouri. He was speaking at a series of meetings held across Canada, which were organized by Elanco Animal Health.  “When people are in survival mode, they make decisions that might look as if they are going to result in a net benefit, but very often they don’t,” he says.  “During the 1998-9 pig crisis, one large US production company took all the cell phones away from their staff. What might be the cost of missing just one vital communication?”

 DiPietre says that herd recording programs focus on sub-systems of production and fail to tie the whole production process together. “That means we lose the idea that the value of the end product is the key thing,” he explains. “For example, weaning age and weight affect growth in the nursery and through to market, but this never used to be considered by the sow farms. Bonus schemes focussed on breeding parameters, not what happened in the nursery. Now the impact is appreciated, producers are investing in more farrowing crates in order to increase weaning age.”

 Producers can increase their income by maximizing the number of “Full Value Pigs” that they sell, says DiPietre. He defines these as high health, quality pigs that reach an optimum weight in the desired time to achieve maximum market price. In order to increase the number of Full Value Pigs, it is necessary to know the growth rate of pigs close to market weight and their feed intake. It is also essential to know the relationship between carcass weight and lean percentage in the population of pigs because, as pigs get heavier, their carcass lean reduces, which may have an impact on index and value. The price received for the various weight classes of pig, as defined by the grading grid, must also be known. From all this data, the weight at which net revenue is highest can be calculated and compared with the actual weight of pigs shipped.

 “The optimum weight is dependent on the grading grid and also the cost of feed,” DiPietre notes. “The profit-maximizing weight under November 2006 assumptions for the US was 135kg, but today it is only 127kg.”

 The number of Full Value Pigs can be increased by moving the average weight of pigs shipped closer to the optimum and by reducing the degree of weight variation. “The greater the variation in weight of pigs shipped, the lower the optimum weight at slaughter,” explains DiPietre. “Therefore, if you can reduce variation, average market weight can be higher, giving more kilos sold and increasing value.” This will also increase the average price received per kilo, he says, because the biggest price discounts are in the extremes of the weight distribution. A tighter weight range will also result in improved feed efficiency and lower feed costs, DiPietre notes.

 In addition to improving selection of pigs for market to optimize weight, producers should look for the reasons for variation within their pigs, he believes. This could be related to health challenges, variation in weaning age, variation in throughput and stocking density or variation in feeds. Better management to reduce such variation, such as more timely treatment of health problems, will increase the percentage of Full Value Pigs, DiPietre says. He advises producers to focus on the bottom 30% of pigs because this will have the most impact.

 Maximizing the value of the end product will become essential in the new high-cost feed environment, stresses DiPietre. “A doubling of feed prices means that producers will have to deliver more value than in the past,” he says. “This is what will separate those people that are going to be successful in the future and those that aren’t.”

$1.4 million to promote Canadian Pork as imports soar

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Soaring pork imports – estimated to be 25% higher in 2008 – have heightened the need for more consumer awareness of the origin of the pork that they purchase.  Pork Marketing Canada (PMC) recently announced that it had obtained funding of almost $1.4 million for its Canadian Pork initiative, which is aimed at increasing sales of Canadian pork.  A new “Canadian Pork” label will be used to identify the product in participating grocery stores.

 “Shoppers now have the choice to choose Canadian,” says Roy Kruse, Manager of Pork Marketing Canada.  “Until this label, consumers didn’t know whether or not the pork they found at their local meat counter was imported or Canadian.  The new label gives them the opportunity to identify and choose Canadian pork over imports.”

 The PMC initiative is supported by studies that show Canadian consumers will choose Canadian products over imports if given the choice.  “Canadians want high-quality foods that are safe and produced under environmentally sustainable practices”, notes Kruse. “More and more, they want to buy Canadian.”  A study by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture found that 90% of Canadian consumers felt Canadian-grown product should be easily identifiable in stores.  Further, 95% of consumers would prefer to buy Canadian-grown product that is competitively priced.

 These findings are consistent with an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada study that found the quality of food produced in Canada is viewed as better than food produced in other countries. Canadian consumers continue to believe that Canada has better production practices and standards and more rules and regulations than other countries.  “Not surprisingly, the demand for local food continues to rise,” explains Kruse.  “With heightened concerns for the environment and an increasing focus on food safety, people are more interested than ever in the food on their plate.”

 In western Canada, participating stores initially include Save On Foods, Overwaitee and Safeway.  “It is hoped more retailers will come on board as time goes on,” says Kruse.  Also, some Maple Leaf Foods fresh pork products will be labelled Canadian in retail stores where Maple Leaf Foods fresh pork products are carried.  Labels will be on fresh pork products from early April onwards.  “The assumption is that consumers will choose Canadian product over other options if pork is clearly labelled,” Kruse believes.

 The labelling initiative will be supported by an ongoing media campaign to improve consumer awareness.  “This campaign is about people as much as it is about pork,” says Kruse.  “The campaign will focus on the positive aspects of Canadian pork producers, their high quality product and their contribution to Canadian society and its economy.”

 Pork Marketing Canada expects the “Canadian Pork” label campaign to help boost sales of Canadian pork and help to mitigate some of the financial issues faced by the industry.

 Pork Marketing Canada is a national marketing initiative of provincial pork organizations across Canada.  The purpose of this alliance is to increase the consumption of Canadian pork by partnering with packers, processors, retailers and food service distributors and operators. Pork Marketing Canada offers expertise, information and funding towards programs that promote pork, and further develop sales.  For more information, visit

An Overview of the Canadian Swine-Pork Sector

Posted in: Economics, Pork Insight Articles, Press Releases by admin on April 7, 2011 | No Comments

The demographics of the Canadian swine industry is such that there is concentration in the hog production with regard to size; this is most evident in Quebec where the data are most fragmented, but this appears to be broadly the case- a small number of large farms produce the bulk of market hogs and hold the bulk of the sows. Secondly, the hog production segment has declined across the country. This is particularly the case in western Canada and Ontario, but also in Quebec. Finally, the pork packing segment is relatively concentrated, with the hog production segment increasingly sized to the packing segment. The potential implication of this is to allow, prospectively, packing system alignment back to the farm level.

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