Canadian Pork Producers Say Federal Commitment is Not Enough

Canadian flag ( Farm Journal's MILK )

Canadian pork producers say funds promised by the Government of Canada in an announcement on Tuesday do not address the magnitude of problems producers are facing.

“For the past five years we have heard from our government that they want to help us to grow our sector, yet when our house is burning, they are offering us a glass of water to save it,” said Rick Bergmann, Canadian Pork Council Chair, in a release.   

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses and food processors who provide essential services to Canadians every day by ensuring a safe and reliable food supply. No money was promised to pork producers to deal with liquidity issues, the Canadian Pork Council said. However, $50 million is available to help with extraordinary costs related to the backlog of animals.  

Although any help from the federal government to support the food sector weather the storm brought on by COVID-19 is welcomed, Canadian pork producers and their families remain at risk given the very limited support outlined, the Canadian Pork Council said.  

Industry experts estimate that Canadian pork producers will lose $675 million in 2020. For weeks now, producers have expressed the critical need for support, the Canadian Pork Council said. The council specifically asked for $20/hog to feed the animals, keep the lights on and ensure consumers have access to Canadian pork products. 

The sharp decline in hog prices and the reduced capacity of processing facilities to accept their animals has created a devastating situation for hog producers. 

“We want to be able to continue producing food. Providing us with band-aid solutions will only relieve the immediate pressure, but doesn’t solve producers’ liquidity problem,” said René Roy, Canadian Pork Council 1st Vice-Chair. 

Canadian pork farm families are in danger, Bergmann said. If they can’t continue raising pigs, food insecurity will increase as supplies tighten and food becomes more expensive.

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