The Canadian government and the country's meat industry have announced a joint action plan to enable hard-pressed hog farmers to survive a perfect storm of low prices, high feed costs and trade problems, according to a report in today's Global Meat News. 

These measures have been developed by a Hog Industry Task Team, which was established this August and includes the Canadian Pork Council (CPC), the Canadian Meat Council, pork processors and producers as well as federal and provincial authorities.

It has released a report with proposals that include immediate assistance, with pork producers being allowed to tap more than $31 million Canadian dollars (US $31million) in holding payments within AgriInvest accounts – income stability funds supported by the industry and Canadian federal and provincial governments.

The task team plan involves encouraging producers to use all available government-funded programs, which also include AgriStability interim payments and cash advances payable through the Advance Payments Program.

It also agreed that Canada’s federal agriculture ministry would adjust its Hog Industry Loan Loss Reserve Programme (HILLRP) to ensure pork producers are offered extensions to interest-only payment periods.

Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz addressed the pork sector, saying, “Supporting the industry’s long-term viability benefits all Canadians.”

Canadian agriculture officials added that since April 2012, the country's pork producers have benefited from almost $36 million Canadian dollars (US $36 million) in cash advances. They stressed that producers can also apply for guaranteed loans of up to CA $400,000 (US $401,000), with the first CA $100,000 (US $100,000) being interest free.

But despite these efforts to buoy hog farmers’ spirits, Stordy said some Canadian pork producers might be out of options.

For the [CPC] point of view and what we’ve heard from some of the producers is that they expect some of the industry will make adjustments and perhaps leave the sector or have to adjust their production and seek out more efficient and effective ways to raise hogs,” he says.