GFM Network News


Brandon’s Maple Leaf plant is the site of Canada’s latest COVID outbreak in a packing facility.

COVID-19 strikes Brandon pork plant

Growing COVID-19 cases among Maple Leaf Foods staff last week raised the first serious concerns of a meat plant closure in Manitoba

The union representing workers at Brandon’s Maple Leaf Foods plant says it’s seeing echoes of Alberta. Late last week, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 832 pushed Maple Leaf Foods to close the pork plant after eight workers tested positive for COVID-19. Why it matters: Until now, Manitoba’s meat processors have largely dodged the

Manitoba Pork Council seeking new general manager

Andrew Dickson will step down in six months from the job he’s held for the last 15 years

The Manitoba Pork Council is looking for a new general manager. Andrew Dickson, who has had the job since early 2005, is stepping down Jan. 31, 2021. “You get to a point where you’ve got to quit sometime, so 68 (years of age) is a decent time to quit,” Dickson said in an interview July


Rosser resident Dave Kaplen speaks on the second day of the hearing, July 28.

Lesson of precedent-setting hearing: ‘Avoid at all costs’

A contentious appeal over a quashed quarry application shows early consultation is key, says Grant Melnychuk of Manitoba Pork

The Manitoba Pork Council is closely watching what is likely a precedent-setting decision from the Municipal Board. On July 27, hearings began in Winnipeg for the appeal of an application of Lilyfield Quarry Inc., which the RM of Rosser denied in late 2018. This followed several application attempts under more than one owner in a

Manitoba’s pork sector continues to grapple with many questions and few answers as it navigates the ‘new normal.’

Pork sector still facing uncertain landscape

The effects of market disruption from COVID-19 and plant closures has yet to dissipate, leaving many questions for the sector

The hog market is starting its rebound with news that previously plugged value chains are once again starting to move — but the sector has a long climb ahead. Bill Alford, general manager of Hams Marketing, noted that U.S. processors previously shut down due to COVID-19 are once again ramping up operations, although the backlog of market-ready hogs held

One human resources co-ordinator says some pork producers would soon be looking for international workers to fill vacancies in barns during seeding time.

Coronavirus causes challenges and opportunities for producers

Some temporary foreign workers capitalizing on changes to extend stays in Canada, one expert says

One pork industry expert says some hog farmers are finding new workers and extending the stay of temporary workers during the COVID-19 crisis. “Agriculture isn’t going away because of the pandemic,” said Janice Goldsborough, human resources and training co-ordinator with the Manitoba Pork Council. As a result, farms are able to take on some workers


Pork processors are grappling with social distancing and employees who are suddenly without childcare.

Pork sector looks for coronavirus answers

COVID-19: The pork sector’s labour- and human-intensive production system has added an extra challenge to maintaining the value chain

Andrew Dickson has had a busy few days. The general manager for the Manitoba Pork Council, Dickson has been on the phone, both dealing with his own organization’s steps towards social distancing and trying to deal with the looming concerns of the pork industry in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. For an industry like

Manitoba to pilot insurance program against hog disease risks

Pork council study backed with federal, provincial funds

“Private sector solutions” to manage financial risks caused by disease outbreaks on hog farms are on the drawing board in a new Manitoba-led pilot project that could go nationwide. Coming out of a Thursday morning meeting with hog producers in Winnipeg, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced $482,158 from the AgriRisk Initiatives (ARI) arm of

Local husbandry and veterinary bureau workers in protective suits disinfect a pig farm as a prevention measure for African swine fever, in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, China August 22, 2018.

Federal government confident in African swine fever outbreak response

Animal Health Canada is the new body that would help form a cohesive national response

Canada’s guard against African swine fever (ASF) may be getting a new player around the table. A potential outbreak of the virus that has decimated China’s hog industry — and criticisms from some circles that Canada’s federal response to potential disease outbreaks are fragmented and disorganized — has prompted the potential formation of what is


A panel of Manitoba Pork staff addressed issues of disease management, traceability and communication. 


Manitoba pork producers discuss PED, African swine fever plans

2019 was a ‘disappointing year’ for PED outbreaks after gains made in 2018

Disease management remains a baffling issue for pork producers and top of mind for the Manitoba Pork Council. “It’s been a disappointing year,” said MPC board chair George Matheson, citing 79 confirmed cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) this year. “What we’re doing just doesn’t seem to be working.” Disease prevention was front and centre

PED is a potentially devastating disease and can cause 80 to 100 per cent of piglet losses.

Precautions urged as PED outbreak enters fall manure-spreading season

Producers are getting ready to begin fall spreading, but some manure lagoons will need extra precautions as the province’s PED numbers climb

Manitoba’s latest battle with PED has put a new focus on biosecurity as fall manure spreading gets underway. The province suffered another spate of PED confirmations this month. The Chief Veterinary Office (CVO) had confirmed 78 cases as of Sept. 20, with the last confirmed Sept. 13. Eight of those cases have been added since