Air of optimism at pork meeting

Officials with Alberta Pork were able to use a word on Wednesday that they hadn’t uttered for years: profit.

Officials with Alberta Pork were able to use a word on Wednesday that they hadn’t uttered for years: profit.

The doom and gloom that’s hung over past regional meetings of the provincial hog association was replaced with an air of optimism at the producer gathering in Red Deer.

“It’s been the best year we’ve had in more than a decade,” said Will Kingma, a Bentley-area producer and vice-chair of Alberta Pork.

The improved prices are due in large part to a lower Canadian dollar, which favours hog operations here relative to their counterparts in the United States, said Kingma.

“Once we’re sitting at 90 cents, and a little below 90 cents, we’re competitive again.”

Meanwhile, record high feed costs have come down, he said. And pig numbers in the United States have plummeted as a result of the deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which has infected some 6,400 farms in 30 states.

“We’re talking six per cent less pigs coming to market, basically on the back of the PED virus in North America.”

The higher prices are finding their way to store coolers, acknowledged Kingma, but pork still offers excellent value.

“It’s still a really affordable protein in comparison to, let’s say, beef or chicken.”

He added that a 10 to 20 cent increase in the price of a kilogram of pork shouldn’t have a big impact on consumers, but is huge for producers.

Kingma still expects ups and downs in the domestic pork industry, but said the long-term outlook is positive.

“It’s not like producers are going to be forced out of the industry like they have been since 2006.”

That said, Kingma doesn’t anticipate pig numbers in Canada — depleted during years of adversity — will rebound quickly.

“There is nobody building right now,” he said.

“We could be looking at three or four years, really, before there’s any response to this.”

While delivering the chairman’s report at Alberta Pork’s Red Deer meeting on behalf of Frank Novak, Kingma noted that producers lost an average of $16 an animal over the past five years.

“It’s going to take four years at $20 a pig to make all of that back. We’re experiencing some really good profits now, but it’s going to take a little bit to get us back to where we’re in a position that we feel like we can start expanding our industry again.”

There are still concerns, including the threat of the PED virus spreading into Alberta. It’s already been found on 58 farms in Ontario, plus others in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.

“I’d be surprised if at some point we don’t see a case happen,” said Kingma.

If and when that occurs, the key will be acting quickly and decisively to prevent its spread, he said.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Trudeau poised to shuffle, retool cabinet with focus on Liberals’ team for 2019

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau will shuffle his front benches Wednesday to install… Continue reading

Aecon Group joint venture wins Enbridge Line 3 replacement contract

TORONTO — Aecon Group Inc. says its joint venture with Robert B.… Continue reading

Conservative party pulls attack ad of black man walking over Trudeau tweet

OTTAWA — The Conservative party pulled an attack ad from its Twitter… Continue reading

Groundbreaking ceremony held for new international bridge

DETROIT — U.S. and Canadian officials touted the friendship between the two… Continue reading

Elon Musk apologizes for calling cave rescue diver a ‘pedo’

BANGKOK — Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has apologized for calling… Continue reading

Duchess of Sussex wears dress by Calgary’s Nonie to Mandela exhibition

CALGARY — A fondness for Canadian fashion apparently hasn’t waned for Meghan,… Continue reading

Destiny’s Child singer Williams seeks mental health help

LOS ANGELES — Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams says she’s seeking help… Continue reading

A Comic-Con without Marvel, HBO gives others a chance to pop

Over 130,000 pop culture devotees are descending on San Diego’s Gaslamp District… Continue reading

Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game 8-6 in 10 innings

American League 8 National League 6 (1o innings) WASHINGTON — A record… Continue reading

Photos: Red Deer barn dance entertains children, adults Tuesday

Hundreds of Central Albertans started their Westerner Days celebrations early with an… Continue reading

Man suffers critical injuries, Red Deer police arrest woman in pedestrian crash

A man is in hospital with critical injuries and Mounties have arrested… Continue reading

Cull hasn’t been able to solve bunny burden in Alberta mountain town of Canmore

CANMORE, Alta. — Problems persist in an Alberta mountain town overrun with… Continue reading

Canada should help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany: civil liberties group

OTTAWA — A civil liberties group is urging the Canadian government to… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month