The Manitoba government supports the idea of a proposed hog stabilization plan but wants the federal government to be co-underwriter.
“We’re still in consultation with the federal government that we work together to support the hog industry as far as the stable funding,” Manitoba agriculture minister Ron Kostyshyn told reporters during the Keystone Agricultural Producers annual meeting.
The Manitoba Pork Council and the provincial government have sketched out a plan to create a $75 million government-backed line of credit for hog producers. Farmers would be compensated from the line of credit if prices fall beneath the cost of production, which they would pay back with interest when margins were profitable again. The payback would probably be capped at $5 per hog and continue until the debt is repaid.
Kostyshyn said he expects to announce something about the support program “in a very short order.”
He also said he thinks processors need to help ensure that farmers are financially viable because they need the hogs.
“We need to come together as one family and have a mechanism so that we can evolve that,” said Kostyshyn.
“We can’t afford to lose any more producers, but we need to have some mechanism to make it financially stable for those years (when market disasters occur, like in 2012).”
He also said he can foresee a time when the government’s strict controls on hog barn construction and expansion are relaxed.
Farmers might be allowed to build new barns or expand existing operations once environmental concerns about manure nutrient leaching and runoff are alleviated.
“The day will come when we have it nailed down properly, and I think the expansion of the hog industry will occur down the road, but we need to do our backyard cleanup first,” he told reporters.
“Once we’ve been able to determine that we’ve been able to do our due diligence, of controlling any environmental issues, then we’ll move forward.”