Alberta Pork is taking unprecedented steps to help its producers deal with the economic hardships faced over the past years. Two million dollars collected by the organization will be refunded back to producers. The Organization made the move after it was unable to find a partner with which to leverage its funds to create programs to benefit producers. According to the Alberta Pork website the organizations ability to leverage the money was proven unsuccessful:
“However, under our Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council regulations, Alberta Pork was unable to use producer reserves in such a way. In addition, ARD informed Alberta Pork that their budget was allocated to other issues for the next few years and AFSC could only loan money to qualified lenders.”
According to Alberta Pork, Alberta producers are some of the lowest paid in the world even though they are the most efficient , and the rise in feed prices are taking any opportunity for summer profits away from producers being weighed down by heavy debt. Hog farmers are calling for a revamped pricing formula to change the direction of the industry and make it both fair and sustainable. The sharing of assured margins by packers, wholesalers and retailers with producers is one suggestion farmers are putting forward. Jim Haggins is the Chairman of Alberta Pork. I spoke with him about the decision the board made, and why.
If you cannot see the embedded video below click here.
The controversy lies in the fact that pork has a refundable checkoff already and so producers could ask for this money rebated anyways. Others are criticizing Alberta Porks’s ability to fund projects to try and recover the industry. Whether you agree with this decision by the Alberta Pork board of directors or not, you have to acknowledge that the pork industry is in a desperate state and something has to be done or the industry is finished. When you listen to the above interview you can hear the stress and concern in Haggins’s voice. The situation is dire for the Alberta pork industry.
Whether giving out 2 million dollars is the answer….well I guess time will tell. What are you thoughts? Has Alberta pork made the right move? Is surgery required or is a band-aid better than nothing?