The reason why Quebec intervenes to the extent it does in agriculture is deeply rooted in history, says Daniel-Mercier Gouin, professor of agro-economy at Université Laval. “For good or bad, whether it has chosen to use the right tool or not, the province decided to encourage agriculture as a prime economic activity.”
Burdened with debt and an unsustainable safety net Quebec farmers have the highest debt load in Canada and their provincial support program is facing a $780-million deficit. Reforms are on the way, but a number of producers will likely go under
by SUZANNE DEUTSCH
Eradicating PRRS completely seems like an impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be accomplished all at once. ‘If you can bite it into little chunks,’ says one operator, ‘it becomes manageable.’
by KATE PROCTER
After years of dealing with the disease, receiving a positive test result for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is not the kiss of death it once was. Several simple strategies exist that can make the virus easier to manage, while helping to reduce the risk for herds across Ontario.
THE KEY TO PREVENTING BARN FIRES
Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation – and a $40 infrared measuring gun
With barn fires more prevalent in the pork industry than in other livestock sectors, insurers are stressing prevention and good management. At particular risk: new barns built within the last 10 years
By DON STONEMAN
Could a $40 infrared temperature measuring “gun” save your pig barn from a fire?
The president of Perth County Pork Producers thinks so.
That’s the question facing Ontario Pork – and by extension producers – as it assesses the costs and benefits of moving to FOB plant pricing
by DON STONEMAN
In the face of so many marketing issues, transporting pigs to market may seem the least of considerations for producers. Yet it is emblematic of the changes and challenges that they will confront as the industry moves toward more choice in selling hogs.
Producers, packers and retailers are starting to respond to consumer demands for specialty pork. But the industry is still far from the potential 15 to 20 per cent of provincial pork production that industry experts believe could go to niche markets
by DON STONEMAN & MARY BAXTER
For old-order Amish and Mennonite farmers in western Ontario’s hog belt who still raise pigs like they did 50 years ago, there is a modern-day payoff.
There are six major factors affecting the Ontario hog industry, say watchers of the commodity hog production scene.
Currency: the exchange rate between the Canadian and U.S. dollars.
Based strictly on price, Canadian pork is tough to sell in international markets and is even being displaced in Canada by cheap American pork. There is no sign that the Canadian dollar is going to weaken any time soon. Nor is the American dollar getting stronger as that country continues to pile up deficits and economic concerns grow.
by DON STONEMAN
1. The Hunsbergers of Breslau - Early Retirement under pressure from the dollar
Industry prognosticator, producer-processor-promoter, controversial columnist, and some might say visionary, Bob Hunsberger has been a pork producer for 38 years. But likely not much longer. He shipped the last of his 300 sows in mid-winter.
A combination of economics and environmental regulations make small to medium-sized hog operations in the American Midwest more competitive with the pork-producing giants, says a specialist in global development and the environment. Whether Ontario’s pork producers will also benefit is not so clear
by DON STONEMAN
Demand for corn to make ethanol means that the good times are over for pork integrators in the United States. Will that translate into prosperity at some time in the future for today’s hard-pressed Ontario pork producers? Opinions are divided.
Some experts say ‘Yes’ and are calling for substantial changes to the code, including mandatory wall-to-ceiling firewalls in hog barns
by MARY BAXTER
Old habits can die hard and no one knows this better than Colleen Wiendels.
Often, before getting into bed at night, she’ll glance down the road from the home she shares with her husband Nick and three daughters near Poplar Hill, just north of London, to check for the yard light on their barn. She does this, even though it’s more than a year since the light was in operation.
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