Country 105

Country 105

Agriculture Report

Ag Minister Reviews Pork Crisis


High feed costs forcing hog producers to exit the industry in significant numbers.


The pork crisis has gotten the attention of the federal Agriculture Minister.

Gerry Ritz says maintaining enough of a pig supply to sustain hog slaughter plants is a priority for the federal government.

High feed costs stemming from the drought in the U-S are forcing hog producers to exit the industry in significant numbers.

But Ritz says he's not big on providing relief funding to producers because it masks market signals and doesn't allow the industry to adapt.


A professor at the University of Guelph suggests the Canadian hog industry model needs to be changed.

Sylvain Charlebois says while we've got a cost-efficient industry -- we're not doing a good enough job of marketing the product.

He argues when we try to tap international markets -- we need to be more vertically co-ordinated.

Charlebois points out almost half of all meals consumed in Canada these days are consumed outside the home.

He says the pork industry has to figure out how to make its finished product fit into that changing marketplace.


Corn could be the next crop to see widespread expansion in Western Canada -- similar to soybeans.

The Research Director at Dupont Pioneer says the number of corn acres are growing.

A record 273-thousand acres of corn were insured through Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation this year.


The deadline is nearing for this year's Donate a Hog Program.

The program started in 1998 and was revived this spring.

Under the program -- producers donate the proceeds from the sale of one or more of their hogs.

The money goes to the Ontario Association of Food Banks to help support buying and distributing of pork products to the province's food banks.

The program ends this weekend.


If you like minty gum, toothpaste and mouthwash -- you can thank Washington farmers.

They produce enough mint oil each year to supply every American resident with 135 sticks of gum.

Columbia Basin farmers fill 55-gallon drums with the oil they steam out of the green leaves of the mint plant -- which looks similar to alfalfa hay.

Just one of those drums can flavour five million sticks of gum.

Farmers in Washington produce about 3 and a half million pounds of mint oil every year -- valued at about 80 million dollars.


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