Spencer Long, Director of Marketing Genesus

The early summer months have not brought relief to an already beleaguered Canadian pork industry. The futures do not look positive, and the issue in the eastern part of Canada for shackle space persists with hogs having to go to the U.S. for slaughter. One bright spot has been that Canadian pork consumption increased by over 14% in 2023, reaching nearly 23 kg (51 lbs.) per person, the highest since 2015. The reality of this increase, however, is that retail pork prices only rose 1% while beef and chicken prices had higher increases. Consumers want to eat pork, and providing them with a consistent, better eating experience is one way the increase we see in consumption can be replicated with price increases. We see what consumers will pay for beef; we strongly believe providing consumers with consistently better-tasting pork would strengthen our financial position so we can help mitigate the extreme financial losses we have been seeing so often. For far too long, this industry has been in dire straits financially, and going forward, we must look at what can be done differently. Taste and flavor need to be our mission as an industry. Taste is the number one purchase driver for consumers, and this should be our number one focus.

The Trudeau Liberal government’s recent change on temporary foreign workers (TFW) will worsen the labor shortage that already exists in Canada’s agriculture sector. The Canadian government recently changed the road map without industry consultation, reducing the maximum number of TFWs in the meat processing and livestock farming sectors from 30% to a cap of 20%. An already struggling industry will be further hampered by this change as no one has too much labor. The TFW program has been heavily abused by the fast-food industry in Canada (looking at you, Tim Hortons, among all others), and, as such, the government is reacting to this issue because they hate agriculture by punishing the industry that actually needs TFWs the most, agriculture. For context, the number of TFW fast-food employees and the like has gone up 4,802% in Canada since 2018, brilliant.

In sticking with our undoubtedly lame duck Trudeau Liberal government, the recently implemented capital gains tax increase will hurt Canadian farmers. The change from the previous 50% capital gain rate to a 67% rate on those gains will negatively impact the very people who produce the food for the country and for export around the world. A study conducted by the Grain Growers of Canada concludes that farms bought in 1996 and sold after this change will see an increase of 31% in taxes in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. When you combine the cost-of-living crisis and the carbon tax’s further 23% increase in April, it makes you wonder what the true motives of these Liberal elites really are. With a government working for the people like this who needs enemies.

The Ontario Pork Congress recently took place, and it was great to see so many familiar faces in our industry. As an industry that has been on its knees and consolidation is constant, shows like this further make you appreciate the industry for what makes it great: the people. Despite the challenges we face, the mood at the show seemed okay; misery loves company. Hearing the stories from numerous attendees at the show about my grandfather Gerry Long and his instrumental drive to build the Conestoga Meats packing plant, a producer-owned packing plant in Ontario, was inspiring. Conestoga recently had their 30th anniversary celebration and discussed Gerry’s impact on it. He was a giant, and he always thought about what would be best for our industry. As someone who never had the opportunity to know him firsthand, it was great to hear from so many successful people in our industry about the impact Gerry had. A visionary who left a legacy that is continually felt today.

Sources:

https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A43ed7111-e76e-371f-b128-42f1e9bf18b6

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/temporary-foreign-workers-1.7240374

https://financialpost.com/commodities/agriculture/farmers-take-hit-new-capital-gains-tax

https://www.pigprogress.net/market-trends-analysis-the-industrymarkets/labour-shortage-in-canadas-pork-industry-may-worsen/

https://www.swineweb.com/canada/canadian-pork-market-report-kevin-grier/

https://www.taste-institute.com/en/resources/blog/importance-of-taste-in-product-development

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This post was written by Genesus