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Ontario Hog Farmers Face Challenges as Processing Shifts to U.S. and Manitoba



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Reduced processing capacity for hogs in Quebec has led to a significant redirection of Ontario hog shipments to U.S. and Manitoba facilities. The transition has resulted in increased transportation costs and heightened disease exposure risks for Ontario producers.

With Quebec’s major hog processing facility at Vallée-Jonction scheduled to close by the end of 2023, Ontario hogs previously destined for Quebec are now being rerouted. This shift underscores the longstanding shortage of processing spaces in Ontario, dating back to the bankruptcy of Quality Meats in 2014.

According to Blair Cressman, the sales division director at Ontario Pork, significant transportation expenses are now incurred to transport hogs further distances for processing. Tara Terpstra, a pork producer from Huron County and Chair of Ontario Pork, raised concerns about the estimated additional $73 million in transportation costs faced by Ontario producers due to this redirection.

During his recent visit to the Ontario Pork Congress, where he engaged with farm groups, Agriculture Minister Rob Flack acknowledged the need for improvements in pork processing. Terpstra emphasized the missed opportunities in value-added processing when hogs are processed out of the province.

While the U.S. remains a primary destination for Ontario hogs, particularly at the Clemens Food Group in Coldwater, Michigan, the industry faces challenges with disease outbreaks due to increased cross-border transportation. Swine veterinarian Greg Wideman highlighted the heightened disease risk posed by the movement of hogs to the U.S. and subsequent return to Canada.

Rachel Adams

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