Manitoba pork producers are predicting a brave new world for interprovincial trade with the formation of a hog-marketing venture with Saskatchewan.
Manitoba Pork Marketing Co-op and SPI Marketing Group have formed a company to act as a service centre for producers in both provinces.
The new company called [email protected] ms (hog administrative marketing services) is expected to be fully operational Jan. 1, 2010.
It will handle marketing, procurement, settlement, in-transit insurance and risk management services for both parent companies.
Right now, [email protected] is seen as a one-stop “cost centre” for administering producer services, based pro rata on the number of hogs marketed in each province.
“We’re extending our service package into Saskatchewan and having the cost spread over a greater number of hogs. That’s really the long and the short of the benefits for Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” said Perry Mohr, Manitoba Pork Marketing Co-op general manager.
Down the road, however, [email protected] ms could develop into a hog-marketing service for farmers in other provinces. That could eventually mean a free flow of market hogs across Canada, said Mohr.
“We have made it very, very clear we don’t see provincial boundaries that were once there. A hog producer is a hog producer regardless of which province they exist in. We will look at any opportunity that’s viable.”
Mohr said the idea for [email protected] ms has been discussed for 10 years and, at one point, considered involving Alberta and British Columbia. But serious discussions in the last two years boiled down to two participants: Manitoba Pork Marketing and SPI.
Manitoba Pork Marketing last year handled 1.2 million (roughly a quarter) of the 4.5 million slaughter hogs grown in the province. SPI marketed nearly 900,000 hogs, or 65 per cent of the 1.4 million finished pigs in Saskatchewan.
Don Hrapchak, SPI general manager, said his producers will benefit from the economies of scale with Manitoba Pork Marketing.
“Joining forces, we are able to do away with a lot of the duplication that exists in Western Canada.”
The long-term goal is for [email protected] ms to become a single marketing agency, Hrapchak agreed.
“As time passes, it will probably morph into (one).”
Mohr said [email protected] could eventually set up satellite offices in Ontario and other provinces to offer marketing services for hog producers there.
“There are all kinds of possibilities and potential for [email protected] ms, that’s correct.”
Ontario Pork received a directive last October from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission to abolish its central sales desk for hogs and to split into to entities: one for marketing and another for industry development.
The same thing happened in Manitoba in 1996 when the then Conservative government removed the hog board’s sales monopoly.
If Ontario Pork loses its central desk, the province would be open to other marketers coming in, said spokesperson Keith Robbins.
But the move is on hold, pending an appeal by a group of producers to a provincial tribunal, Robbins said. [email protected]