Regina – The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) welcomed a long- awaited hog industry program announced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Gerry Ritz on Saturday, August 15, 2009.
“Canadian hog producers have been enduring losses for the past three years due to a convergence of market forces that are as challenging and difficult as any industry has ever faced. This announcement will at least enable producers to make key decisions about their own future in the industry,” said APAS President, Greg Marshall. “Some will be able to utilize the loan guarantees to continue in the industry while others might have an avenue to transition out of the industry. And the entire sector should benefit from the new funds available for international market development.”
The federal initiatives include:
Given the dire situations faced by many hog producers in the country, Marshall called on the Minister of Agriculture and AgriFoods Canada to ensure that the loan and transition benefits can be accessed by producers as soon as possible. “Producers and farm organizations are appreciative of the announcement but we are anxious to receive detailed information,” Marshall said.
While supportive of the announcement, Marshall also identified some concerns that need to be addressed. “The reduction in production and the subsequent contraction of the sector as a whole will result in significant loss of jobs and feed grains markets. In addition, some fundamental questions about food security immediately come to mind,” Marshall said. “Will consumers be confident that they can buy Canadian pork in the future?” he asked. “And, why is it that Canadian consumers have not benefited from the very significant price reductions that our producers have experienced?”
Marshall concluded that both levels of government, together with farm organizations and individual producers must develop a long-term vision for the livestock industries in Saskatchewan and Canada. “Without a long-term vision and strategies, Canadian producers do not and can not have the security to make long-term investments in the industry,” Marshall concluded.
APAS is Saskatchewan’s general farm organization formed to provide farmers and ranchers with a democratically elected, grassroots, non-partisan and producer organization based solely on rural municipality boundaries. As the united voice of thousands of diverse agricultural producers in the province, APAS strives to include the views of a wide range of industry stakeholders in order to advance progressive agricultural policy that benefits all sectors of our society.
FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS
GREG MARSHALL - PRESIDENT
NIAL KUYEK - GENERAL MANAGER