Pork producers hope for better times

Alberta’s beleaguered pork producers are looking ahead to better times, says the head of an industry association after a series of meetings across the province.

Alberta’s beleaguered pork producers are looking ahead to better times, says the head of an industry association after a series of meetings across the province.

“To their credit, producers have done a good job of keeping focused on the need to build for the future as they continue to manage the incredible difficulties they face,” said Herman Simons, a Tees-area producer and chairman of Alberta Pork, in a news release. “No matter how bad things get we find ways to make things work. We’re resilient, we’re innovative and we will do whatever it takes to make something out of this difficult situation.”

Simons was speaking following regional meetings last week that saw pork producers gather in Grande Prairie, Fort Saskatchewan, Lethbridge and Red Deer.

He said the industry has been hurt by the H1N1 flu and other economic factors, but the clearest message from the past year has been the importance of developing the domestic market. And that’s something the Alberta Pork revitalization strategy will address, said Simons.

Stuart McKie, a policy specialist with Alberta Pork, said the revitalization strategy is concentrating on the development of a verified production quality platform to differentiate Alberta-produced pork, marketing to create brand demand, and investigation of the investment necessary to build the necessary infrastructure.

Substantial progress has already been made in all areas, said McKie.

A description of the revitalization strategy will be provided at Alberta Pork’s annual general meeting in Edmonton Dec. 9 and 10.

Regional directors for the coming year were elected at the regional meetings, with Simons and John Middel of Rocky Mountain House chosen to represent the central region.

A new chairman and vice-chairman for Alberta Pork will be selected at the AGM.

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