Meat Industry INSIGHTS Newsletter

970935 Canadian Meat Council Says Hog Exports To USA Surge

September 24, 1997

WINNIPEG- Live hog exports to the United States from key producing Canadian provinces were up 133% in 1996 over 1995 levels while domestic Canadian processing fell to half of capacity, a Canadian Meat Council official said.

The trend southward is based on higher prices U.S. packers are willing to pay for the hogs, CMC general manager Bob Weaver said.

There were 1,541,709 slaughter hogs shipped from Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta to the U.S. in 1996, up 133% from 662,779 slaughter hogs in 1995, Weaver added.

Ninety-eight percent of hogs exported from Canada come from those three provinces.

"Canada is missing out on the economic benefits of producing value-added products here at home," Weaver said.

Hog prices across Canada vary from region to region with producers receiving up to C$6.00 per hog less from Canadian processors than their American counterparts, he said.

"We demand that Ontario packers pay a U.S. price for our hogs or they will go south," Ontario Pork chairman Carl Moore said in a CMC statement.

"We now compete in a North American market, and that includes competing for access to raw materials," said Patrick Jones, executive vice president of Maple Leaf Foods (MFI.TO).

"In many cases our competitors in the U.S. are four to 14 times larger with a labor rate advantage of between 18% to 51%. This is an unmanageable gap," Jones said in the CMC statement.

About three million hogs, including weaners and slaughter hogs, were sent south of the border in 1996 from the three key Canadian provinces, while hog exports were expected to reach 3.3 million head in 1997, the CMC said.

Global consumption of pork has been rising by two to three percent a year, the CMC said.

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