1,500 Pork Farms Potentially At Risk Of Leaving Business During Industry Downswing

    This Will Have Major Effect on Ontario's $8.2 Billion Agricultural

    GUELPH, ON, Dec. 6 /CNW/ - If feed prices and the Canadian dollar
continue to rise, up to 50% of the estimated 3,100 pork farms in Ontario could
potentially be facing a dire financial situation, says an agricultural
economist working with Ontario Pork, the association representing Ontario's
hog producers. All swine farms are impacted. With the pork industry
representing about $850 million in farm cash receipts to Ontario's economy,
there is a strong argument to be made that government action is required to
help the industry survive the downturn and minimize the effects.
    It is estimated that current loses are averaging about $65 per hog sold.
    "We can almost say this is a 'perfect storm' as all the negative factors
have joined to create unbearable conditions and a gloomy forecast for the pork
farmer," says Ken McEwan, a College Professor at Ridgetown Campus of the
University of Guelph. "The rising dollar, alternative fuel production raising
the price of corn, packer uncertainty, potential trade barriers and
challenges, and the pork industry being in the trough of its economic cycle
has added extreme pressure to pork farmers. And it is not just the farmers
suffering. Suppliers to the industry are suffering too."
    Over $850 million of Ontario's $8.2 billion agriculture industry is pork.
Losing 1,500 producers is bad, but it doesn't tell the whole story. The
estimated economic impact of the pork industry to the Ontario economy is about
4.7 billion.
    "It is a very tough situation all around. I'd hate to see so much loss,
but it will be inevitable without help," says Keith Robbins, Director,
Communications and Consumer Marketing at Ontario Pork. "Economists say it
could take a year for the industry to recover. Few farms are in a position to
suffer this type of catastrophic loss that length of time. One way the
consumer can help the industry is to ask for Canadian pork at your local

    Ontario Pork represents the 3,100 farmers who market hogs in the province
in many areas, including hog marketing, research, government representation,
environmental issues, consumer education and food quality assurance. The pork
industry in Ontario accounts for 33,000 jobs, and it is estimated that total
industry output from farm gate sales is worth $4.7 billion to the Ontario
economy. Visit Ontario Pork's website: www.ontariopork.on.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Contact: Robert Landsmann, Account Director,
Fantail Communications Inc., Phone: (416) 363-4805, Email: rob@fantailinc.com;
Contact: Keith Robbins, Director, Communications and Consumer Marketing,
Phone: (519) 767-4600 x613, Email: comm@ontariopork.on.ca

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Ontario Pork

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