Manitoba’s pork industry will get funding to revamp risk management against diseases such as PED (porcine epidemic diarrhea), federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced in Winnipeg Feb. 13.
Bibeau announced over $482,000 in federal funds for the Manitoba Pork Council. The funds will be used to launch a two-year pilot program meant to, “create an effective, affordable, and self-sustainable risk management program that responds to periods of financial instability in the Manitoba hog industry,” Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has said.
Disease recovery, such as cleaning and disinfecting, would also fall under that umbrella.
“Producers need to know that they have the tools and supports available to them if the worst happens,” Bibeau said. “I’m excited by the potential of this project, not just for Manitoba, but for the pork sector across Canada. Our government is working closely with the sector on many measures that deal with disease outbreaks before, during and after they occur.”
Other sectors have seen similar tools, Bibeau’s department also said, pointing to reciprocal insurance programs the poultry sector has introduced as a guard against the economic damage of an outbreak.
Disease has been top of mind for the pork sector. Manitoba is coming off yet another record PED year. A total 82 barns were found infected this year, more than the historic outbreak in 2017, when 80 infections were detected.
African swine fever has also raised disease concern. The virus has devastated hog populations in China, although no infections have been detected in North America.
If successful, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has suggested Manitoba’s pilot could expand into other provinces, something they say would lower cost for producers.
“Manitoba Pork thanks the federal government for its support of this project so that we can develop some private sector solutions to mitigate the economic impact of diseases and market fluctuations,” pork council chair George Matheson said.
The funding comes from AgriRisk Initiatives, a program within the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.