CPC Raises Concern Over COOL at the House of Commons Agriculture Committee

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — (Marketwire) — 03/05/09 — Canadian Pork Council’s chair, Jurgen Preugschas and Executive Director, Martin Rice, appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food this morning as witnesses to the committee’s study on the Situation of the Red Meat Sector.

“Canadian hog producers continue to battle an unprecedented period of losses on their farms. While the crisis was set in motion by rapidly rising exchange rates and high feed costs, these variables have moderated. Unfortunately, they have been replaced with the global economic crisis resulting in reduced access to credit and the United States’ introduction of mandatory Country of Origin Labelling,” stated Jurgen Preugschas.

“Many producers have left hog farming. There has been a dramatic decrease in the number of farms reporting hogs over the past two years. In 2009, 13.7% fewer farms reported hogs than in 2008, and in 2008 there were 11.3% fewer than in 2007. Furthermore, there are now 28% fewer farms reporting hogs than in January 2006. Hog inventories have also decreased in January of this year by 10.2% from January of last year, and a full 18% from January 2006,” added Preugschas.

The Canadian Pork Council representatives wanted to remind the committee that while they are trying to remain optimistic about the long term potential for the Canadian hog sector, it is increasingly difficult to be prepared for and manage the shocks that continue to hit the hog sector. The most recent, and most pressing, is COOL. “The Canadian government must communicate our concerns regarding the voluntary labelling regime to the White House as soon as possible, before U.S. processors are forced to make business decisions which will have market closing effects on Canadian hog and pork exports. In addition, detrimental impacts on hundreds of U.S. hog farmers who depend upon Canada for their feeder pigs and on many U.S. processors who rely on Canadian hogs and pork will also be felt,” said Martin Rice.

Jurgen Preugschas will be available to the media at 1:00 pm following the Canadian Pork Council’s presentation.

The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) is a member-driven, not for profit national producer association committed to Canadian competitiveness in the global market. It is the collective voice of Canada’s hog producers – an effective advocate on a broad range of public policy issues that has a direct impact on Canadian pork production. Through its network of provincial member associations, productive relationships with government departments and agencies, and key international contacts, the CPC responds quickly and effectively to capitalize on opportunities to enhance prosperity for its producers and the industry.

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