As pork prices continue their downward trend toward $100 per pig—well below break-even for producers—it is not an overstatement to say we are facing significant financial pressure. The situation has much to do with trade disputes between the U.S., China and Mexico, but the lack of response in Canada to support our producers is concerning. The U.S. Government has already pledged to compensate its farmers in a way that is yet to be seen here.
In the past month, representatives from Alberta Pork have met with representatives from the Government of Alberta, including Minister of Agriculture Oneil Carlier. We have also met with representatives from industry, including Maple Leaf and Donald’s Fine Foods (Britco), and with hog market experts from Hams Marketing and the Western Hog Exchange.
All parties agree that something must be done, and today, we are making clear our desire for what that something is. We at Alberta Pork—with our colleagues at the Canadian Pork Council, and other provincial pork boards—have sent a letter to Canada’s Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay requesting compensation for the losses experienced by Canadian producers.
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Government announced compensation for American producers to the tune of $8 USD per pig. Our request is for all Canadian producers to receive a financial support package equal to $10.50 CAD per pig (adjusted for the exchange rate) for inventory as held on August 1, 2018.
Whether or not the Government of Canada chooses to act on this request, there are some steps producers can take to insulate themselves against further losses, including applying to the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation’s (AFSC) AgriStability program. Forward-contracting remains a marketplace option for the future, but market pricing appears poor for the next few months. For more information on what is happening in the market, visit our Pricing page weekly.
In the past month, Alberta has seen some producers cease operations either temporarily or permanently. Alberta Pork deeply regrets these instances but stands behind producers who make these difficult decisions in the interest of protecting their families and businesses. If you or someone you know is struggling right now, learn more about available mental health resources.
In the coming weeks, we will be announcing meetings for producers to attend. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, consider reaching out to your provincial and federal representatives to urge their support for our industry. If you would like to find contact information for your representatives, email firstname.lastname@example.org.