A government funded program aimed at reducing Canada's hog breeding herd by 10% picked up speed Monday. The program is an attempt to prevent the collapse of the domestic hog industry. Low hog prices, an inflated Canadian dollar, and soaring feed grain and fuel costs, added to what is seen by Canadians as "punitive" U.S. country-of-origin labeling rules which go into affect later this year, have combined to push the domestic hog industry near collapse.
The cull aims to remove 150,000 sows, boars and pregnant gilts from the breeding herd by this autumn. Eligible producers will receive around $225 per breeding swine. "Industry told us they were willing to adapt to the current situation, but producers needed help to make changes to their operations. We are working hard to bring the sector in line with market realities and ensure its long term viability," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. As of Monday, eligible hog producers can apply to the Canadian Pork Council (www.cpc-ccp.com) for compensation under the $50 million program. Applications are also available through provincial pork producer associations, or through a toll free number 1-877-655-2567.