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

Contingency plans tentatively in place for Brandon pork plant closure

No plans to close Maple Leaf Foods plant in Brandon despite COVID-19 cases, union calls to do so

“Every effort” will be made to find processing capacity for hogs if Brandon’s Maple Leaf Foods plant closes due to a cluster of COVID-19 cases there says Manitoba Pork. “I want to emphasize there is no plan being put in place to shut down the plant in Brandon,” Manitoba Pork general manager Andrew Dickson told


The CFIA says that the exemption would help ease any meat shortages that emerge because of the ongoing pandemic.

Interprovincial meat exemption raises questions

Manitoba ag minister says questions remain on interprovincial exemption for trade of provincially inspected meat

Provincial meat plants may be able to temporarily do business across provincial lines thanks to a temporary exemption, but Manitoba officials argue that the federal measure doesn’t go far enough and details are scarce. Why it matters: Manitoba’s agriculture minister is pushing for regulations on interprovincial trade to be generally relaxed, and not just during

Manitoba no closer to new beef-processing capacity

The industry has long desired more slaughter and processing capacity here at home, but despite decades of hoping, nothing is on the horizon

It’s an intermittent thorn in the side for Manitoba beef producers. Lack of local processing capacity is a popular topic among the sector, one that has cropped up time and time again for decades, and one that gains particular traction when, like now, the market turns sour. Why it matters: Processing issues out of Alberta

Editorial: Meat packing concentration leads to problems

When Canadians flocked to their grocery stores to stock up for the pandemic lockdown, most weren’t filling their carts with plant-based proteins. It was the meat counters that cleared out along with the toilet paper shelves, baking ingredients, and with other basics considered necessities. While more Canadians have been experimenting with these plant-based proteins, most


People enter Smithfield Foods through a screening tent on April 16, in Sioux Falls, S.D. The plant is currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, sending shock waves through the hog sector.

Weanling barns wrestle with market free fall

U.S. market disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic has sent the swine weanling market diving

One of Manitoba’s top livestock exports is in a tight spot after market implications of COVID-19 sent the swine market for weanlings into a tailspin. Hams Marketing put average ISO wean price at US$7.38 as of April 17, a dramatic drop from the end of January, when the company estimated average ISO wean price at

Beef demand soars as consumers ‘aggressively’ stock up

Surge in sales accompanied by a jump in people looking online for recipes

Canada’s beef demand has been strong during the pandemic. “Unlike previous disease outbreak issues, COVID-19 has not been about food safety or consumer confidence or issues with food products,” Canada Beef president Michael Young said during a recent online town hall. “Beef demand at retail is up 50 to 70 per cent. Consumers have aggressively

African Swine Fever was an overarching topic during the April 11 Manitoba Pork Council annual meeting.

Plugging the holes on African swine fever

Canadian officials hope to hold the line on African swine fever

Officials are hoping an ounce of prevention will mean no cure is needed when it comes to African swine fever (ASF). Prevention has so far been a building block of Canada’s plans against the deadly swine disease. The highly contagious disease can be carried in blood, tissues, manure and stay viable in deadstock and fresh


The USDA reports the 2018 average five-area fed steer price was $117.26. That’s less than what cattle producers received six years ago in 2012.

Comment: U.S. beef exports up, producer revenue down

What good are growing exports to producers who are starting to struggle to pay the bills?

The breaking news is that 2018 U.S. beef exports hit new records. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) wrote that 2018 beef exports “shattered the previous value record and achieved a new high for volume,” and, “Export value soared to $8.33 billion, breaking the 2017 record by $1.06 billion — an increase of 15 per

Editorial: The meat industry has a lot on its plate

Predictably, the Canadian Meat Council doesn’t take kindly to the suggestion that consumers are showing increased interest in plant-based proteins at the expense of meat. The council came out swinging at the Canadian Food Price Report released earlier this month, calling the report misleading and noting that demand for meat is “only” set to fall