Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Provincial ban blamed for hog shortage

  • Print

Short 20,000 hogs per month, Maple Leaf has reduced the number of employees who work in Brandon from a potential peak capacity of 2,300 to 1,900, said plant manager Morgan Curran-Blaney.

Speaking to producers at the Keystone Agricultural Producers' general council meeting, Curran-Blaney said finding a solution to the hog moratorium in Manitoba is paramount to the industry's success over the long term.

When asked if Maple Leaf could pay more to attract more hogs, Curran-Blaney said that solution wouldn't deal with the root problem -- not enough supply.

"There is a shortage of pigs, there just isn't enough and you end up stealing from someone else,"àCurran-Blaney said.

The shortage has had a ripple effect right through the province, as de-boning plants in Winnipeg have slowed down operations because they rely on hogs from Brandon.

In 2011, the provincial government passed legislation that impedes growth, enforcing a provincewide ban on new hog-barn developments unless they're equipped with an anaerobic digestion system to treat the manure.

The costly technology has basically capped the industry at its current state.

As infrastructure continues to age, the number of hogs in Manitoba could decline further.

A report prepared by Janet Honey for the department of agribusiness and agricultural economics at the University of Manitoba said the number of producers in the province has fallen significantly since 2005.

In 2005, there were almost 1,300 pig farms in the province, but that number has steadily declined to 575 farms in 2012.

Despite fewer farms, the number of hogs per farm has more than doubled, meaning the total number of hogs on farms has decreased marginally since 2007.

Curran-Blaney said the second shift at the plant has been slowed to about 50 per cent capacity through attrition of employees.

However, even if the company can somehow manage to bring 20,000 more hogs per month to the slaughter floor, it will run into another problem -- finding workers.

Currently the plant loses approximately 40 employees per week and is able to fill only 12 of those spots domestically. Maple Leaf relies on foreign workers to make up the difference; however, changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program could squeeze the company.

New legislation states no more than 10 per cent of an employer's workforce can be made up of temporary foreign workers.

"Right now, eight per cent of our workforce is considered temporary foreign workers and are working toward their Canadian citizenship,"àCurran-Blaney said.

While 75 per cent of the company is made up of former immigrants, Curran-Blaney said many have already received their citizenship.

If the plant did need a sudden influx of workers, the new rules would create problems as recruiting from other countries would pick up.

 

-- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 12, 2014 B10

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets defencemen ready to face adversity

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose comes in for a landing Thursday morning through heavy fog on near Hyw 59 just north of Winnipeg - Day 17 Of Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • horse in sunset - marc gallant

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google