Manitoba producers have so far received nearly a third of the money from a national hog farm transition program, which reached the halfway point earlier this month.
The province has seen 32 successful bids worth nearly $10.5 million from producers pledging to empty their hog barns and get out of the business for at least three years.
That’s 29 per cent of the $36.2 million paid out by the Hog Farm Transition program following the completion of the second of four rounds Dec. 9.
Manitoba was solidly in second place behind Ontario in nearly all categories of the program, which conducts tenders and issues money to producers based on bids. Ontario has had 92 successful bids for a value of just over $11 million.
After two tenders, the program has spent nearly half of the $75 million allotted to it. The federal government funds the program and the Canadian Pork Council administers it.
SOW HERD REDUCTION
Across Canada, the program has so far allocated $36,232,502.69 to 192 successful bids. The second tender awarded $24,504,418.15 to 115 of 469 bids.
In all, the program has removed 66,776 sows and more than 400,000 pigs in total.
The results up to now are about what the Manitoba Pork Council expected.
“We expected the money in the transition program would be picked up really fast,” said Karl Kynoch, Manitoba Pork Council chairman.
The third round of tendering, scheduled for January 20, 2010, will allocate $25 million. The date for a fourth and final tender to offer remaining funds has not yet been set.
Manitoba is seeing an unusually high number of sow liquidations under the program – more than any other province. So far, successful bids have removed 22,394 Manitoba sows, 34 per cent of all sows removed to date.
Thus far, Manitoba has eliminated roughly six per cent of its sow herd under the program with more expected to come.
The program has also removed 36,020 feeder pigs and 34,507 market hogs.
Kynoch said more producers are expected to participate in the third round of tenders because many are failing to qualify for a federally backed loan program to assist hog farmers.
“If producers can’t access funds to get from here to better times, some of them will be forced into making that decision in January to actually bid on the next round of transition programs.”
Andrew Dickson, Manitoba Pork Council general manager, said the high number of sows removed reflects the impact of U. S. country-of-origin labelling (COOL).
Dickson said Manitoba used to export 120,000 weanling pigs a week to the U. S. The number is now down to 80,000, reflecting a lower demand for weanlings because of COOL.
As a result, many sow barns built solely for the purpose of exporting weanlings have closed.
Weanling exports have stabilized but sow liquidation is still going on, said Dickson.
At the same time, Manitoba’s market hog exports are down sharply because few U. S. plants now accept Canadian slaughter hogs because of COOL. The number of hogs shipped weekly to the U. S. is now around 3,000, down from a peak of 20,000, said Dickson. [email protected]