It has been a trying year for the pork industry in Canada, but that’s not to say it’s been entirely negative.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the industry very hard at the outset, and has continued to be a challenge at the farm, processing, and trade levels. However, demand has been strong throughout the pandemic, and the industry is hopeful for the future, says the chair of the Canadian Pork Council, Rick Bergmann.

In this RealAg LIVE! Bergmann shares the many challenges facing the sector, the opportunities, the economic importance, and how the industry is moving forward on quality assurance and ethical pricing.

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SUMMARY

  • Demand for protein is complex, pork included
  • Domestic demand is solid, and there’s opportunity for enhancement
  • Pork promotion research agency just kicked off
  • Exports! 70 per cent of pork that Canada produces is exported
  • Manitoba exports 90 per cent of what it produces
  • Delisted processing plants for exports to China has hurt
  • There are plants still moving product to China
  • Have found alternative markets, however
  • Why were the plants de-listed?
  • Live animals (isoweans) head to U.S.
  • Some feeders move south, some cull sows too
  • And plenty of pork goes to the U.S. too
  • There are other Asian countries
  • Hog and pork industry drives so much economic value
  • 1 job for every 10 to 15 sows!
  • Canadian pork excellence program — what is it?
  • It’s an update to the quality assurance program, and includes a significant focus on traceability
  • Traceability isn’t just for consumers; it’s about disease management too
  • Consumers will see VCP labeling (verified Canadian pork)
  • Code of Practice has been required by processors
  • There are regional differences in pricing, profitability, and more
  • Differences between markets by province too
  • Adaptation to this program, brings value to the industry but some feel it’s a cost at the farm level
  • There has been plenty of discussion on pricing, cut out, and more
  • Ethical production should include how the farmer is treated too (i.e. pricing)
  • Not just the animals should be treated well
  • What about risk management?
  • “Go fishing with the ones who want to go fishing!”
  • Carbon tax and cost of energy?
  • African swine flu — have to talk about it, unfortunately
  • But Canada and the U.S. are united in keeping it off the continent

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