These measures have been developed by a Hog Industry Task Team, which was established this August and includes the Canadian Pork Council (CPC), the Canadian Meat Council, pork processors and producers as well as federal and provincial authorities.
It has released a report with proposals that include immediate assistance, with pigmeat producers being allowed to tap more than Canadian dollar CAD31 million (USD31million) in holding payments within AgriInvest accounts – income stability funds supported by the industry and Canadian federal and provincial governments.
A note from Canada’s department of agriculture said: “Governments are working with program administrators to fast-track these requests.”
Gary Stordy, a spokesperson for CPC, said: “Certainly from the conversation and feedback [we’ve received] from producers across Canada, this is a difficult time. [Due to the summer drought in the US] the cost of feed has increased substantially, higher than any producer budgeted for or expected.”
The task team plan involves encouraging producers to use all available government-funded programmes, which also include AgriStability interim payments and cash advances payable through the Advance Payments Programme.
It also agreed that Canada’s federal agriculture ministry would adjust its Hog Industry Loan Loss Reserve Programme (HILLRP) to ensure pigmeat producers are offered extensions to interest-only payment periods.
Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz addressed the pork sector: “Supporting the industry’s long-term viability benefits all Canadians.”
His officials added that since April 2012, pig producers nationwide have benefited from almost CAD36 million (USD36 million) in cash advances. They stressed that producers can also apply for guaranteed loans of up to CAD400,000 (USD401,000), with the first CAD100,000 (USD100,000) being interest free.
But despite these efforts to buoy hog farmers spirits, Stordy said some Canadian pig farmers might be out of options.
“For the [CPC] point of view and what we’ve heard from some of the producers is that they expect some of the industry will make adjustments and perhaps leave the sector or have to adjust their production and seek out more efficient and effective ways to raise hogs.”