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Help for hog sector

Aug. 17, 2009 -The $75 milllion dollars pledged by the federal government to help struggling pork producers is presenting something of a fork-in-the-road: stay and restructure or shut down their operations altogether.

August 17, 2009  By Winnipeg Free Press/Canadian Press

August 16, 2009

Chinta Puxley

The federal government's offer of $75 million for hog producers who are struggling leaves them with a tough decision: whether to take loans and restructure or shut their farms down.


Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who made the long-awaited funding announcement yesterday, said there will be government-backed long-term loans for those who want to give it another go and buyout cash for others who have had enough.

"We have to face the reality that some producers will leave the industry and we need to reduce our current over-supply," he said at a research farm in rural Manitoba. "Producers who weather this global economic storm will have to restructure their businesses to adjust to new and emerging market realities."

The government is also spending $17 million on marketing pork to consumers.

Ritz couldn't say how many farmers will leave the industry under the buyout or how much compensation individuals will get.

"Those numbers will be worked out on a case-by-case basis," he said.

Pork producers had been asking for $800 million to aid the ailing industry.

They have repeatedly pointed out that they have been hit by high feed prices, a strong Canadian dollar, strict new country-of-origin labelling laws in the United States and now the H1N1 influenza outbreak -making it virtually impossible for some to stay in business.

Jurgen Preugschas, chairman of the Canadian Pork Council, said the cash will do little in the face of bankruptcies and foreclosures.

Money will help but not without cost


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