Producers shirking on their hog levies may face a financial penalty in the near future, the Manitoba Pork Council has said.
Chair George Matheson says failure to pay fees has been a standing concern with the board, but council efforts to solve the problem have lacked teeth until now.
“For the most part, our producers pay their levies, but there are a few, especially people who export south of the border (that do not),” Matheson said. “There are privacy laws that make it difficult to keep track of exactly what they were shipping. We know what we roughly should be receiving and we know we’re not there.”
The Manitoba Pork Council draws 80 cents for every market hog sold in Manitoba and 19 cents for each weanling.
Matheson estimates that unpaid levies cost the council around six per cent of its $4.2-million budget a year.
“For those producers who always pay, it’s not fair and we’re going to make it fair,” he said.
Council policy says producers must pay levies within four days after the last day of the week in which an animal is marketed.
Proposed changes would add a $100 penalty for fees paid between that time up to 30 days after an animal is marketed. The next two months would come with a $500 penalty, while producers failing to pay after 90 days will face an extra $1,000 fee.
Outstanding levies may face an interest rate penalty, plus 10 per cent compounded for each year not paid.
During the pork council’s Nov. 9 western membership meeting in Portage la Prairie, general manager Andrew Dickson said that the pork council usually tries to take individual financial situations into account.
Dickson said the council is open to discuss legitimate financial concerns. The point, he said, is to curb those instances where producers do not end up paying fees at all.