Manitoba hog-handling facilities are returning to a familiar location – next to a livestock yard.
Manitoba Pork Marketing Co-op will open a hog assembly point at the site of Winnipeg Livestock Sales Ltd., located in the Rural Municipality of Rosser, producers learned last week.
It’s back to the future for the producer-owned co-op, which once assembled hogs for shipment to slaughter at its head office on Marion Street, next to the former Union Stockyards in St. Boniface. The stockyards closed in the late 1980s and moved to their current location north of the city.
The 80-acre site is a good fit for the co-op’s new hog assembly point because it is already fully developed with water and electricity, general manager Perry Mohr told a March 13 district producer meeting. The only construction needed will be for a building estimated to cost $300,000. That’s expected to start this spring and reach completion in summer.
Manitoba Pork Marketing has already called for tenders for the building. Mohr said he expected bids on the table when he returned to his office after the meeting.
The facilities, when complete, will handle between 40,000 and 50,000 slaughter hogs annually.
The Winnipeg Livestock Sales location was not the coop’s first choice. But applications to build assembly yards in neighbouring municipalities were turned down when councils realized what they were for, Mohr said.
“They didn’t want to have anything to do with an application that had p-i-g in it.”
The co-op also tried to buy a parcel of land near Oak Bluff for a site but could not agree with the owner on a price, said Mohr.
Manitoba Pork Marketing already has satellite assembly points near New Bothwell and at the Springhill Farms slaughter plant outside Neepawa. The lease for the New Bothwell location runs out in November 2009 and may be renewed. Hytek Ltd., the new owner of Springhill Farms, has so far given no indication it wants the co-op to move, Mohr said.
The co-op closed its Marion assembly yards in July 2008 and sold the property. It continues to run its administration office at the same location on a lease which expires July 2013.
Mohr said it made sense to relocate hog assembly outside Winnipeg since there are no longer any slaughter plants in the city. The two remaining federally inspected hog plants in Manitoba are Springhill and Maple Leaf in Brandon. [email protected]