The Alberta Pork Board of Directors has voted to refund $0.85 of every levy dollar collected during the 2010-2011 levy year, in response to years of economic hardship and lack of support for Alberta Pork initiatives.
“It’s all about industry sustainability,” declares Alberta Pork Chairman Jim Haggins. “Our producers have incurred a staggering amount of debt over the last few years just to stay afloat, and it now appears that summer profits are being minimized by rising feed costs. Something has to give.”
Currently, Alberta producers pay Alberta Pork a levy of $1 for every market hog sold and $0.25 for each weaner pig that is shipped out of the province. This money was to be leveraged for a variety of programs between industry partners and the Alberta government, but efforts have been repeatedly rebuffed.
Consequently, Alberta Pork decided to issue the rebate. While producers could request their levy back under the new refundable levy rule imposed by the Alberta government, the board elected to move proactively to assist producers.
The rebate is expected to cost Alberta Pork about $2 million for the year, leaving the group $0.15 per dollar collected and their reserves to cover operations and support programs.
Rebates will come in two installments, the first later this month and the second in October.
“I don’t know how long the industry can continue to be in this position,” Haggins says. “There is a gross inequity that exists in Alberta, where some of the most efficient pork producers in the world are also some of the poorest paid. We cannot be asked to continuously cut our costs while receiving no benefit for the value we provide through world-class safety, traceability, feeding and production programs.”