Spencer Long of Genesus
The Canadian crop outlook for 2023 is looking promising with a projection of the second largest wheat crop in history. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture report a projected output at 35.8 million tonnes, second only to the 2013-14 total of 37.5 million tonnes and 6% higher than the estimated 33.8 million tonnes produced in 2022-23. The report noted that overall grain production in Canada is forecast to increase by 1% in 2023-24, due mainly to the expected large increase in wheat output. This is hopeful news for our industry that’s still facing extreme financial difficulties.
The financial difficulties faced within the Canadian industry have been far impacting including with packers. Olymel announced that they would be shutting down a plant in Vallée-Jonction, Québec back in April. This came after they announced they would and implemented the shutting down of four other plants. Over the last year Olymel has announced plans to cut its slaughter capacity by 1.5 million hogs annually further straining options for Canadian producers to get their hogs killed. Les Éleveurs de porcs du Québec (Federation of Quebec Pork Producers) trade union announced plans for a voluntary buyout of producers who will need to withdraw from pork production for at least five years, with the goal of reducing the number of hogs produced in Québec by one million. These plant shutdowns have resulted in more producers having to ship their hogs to the U.S. to be killed as other packers within Canada are full and cannot accommodate more hogs. With many Canadian producers struggling to get their hogs killed this buyout will likely result in many producers exiting the industry.
As our industry continues to struggle and many producers who are close to or at a stage where retirement is a consideration, many are wondering why they would stay in it. For them, you can’t blame them, this industry has sucked for years in Canada. Losses mount and the desire and the will to continue inevitably suffers. For the many who want to continue in this industry the question remains, what can be done to make it better? What can our industry do so future generations of people want to work in it? We know there will always be a hog cycle in which sometimes you lose money and other times you make money, it doesn’t have to be continuous losses for years, however. We have had flatline pork demand for 20+ years. Why? Overall meat consumption has increased but people are not eating more pork. Instead of focusing on the latest trend “sustainability” maybe our industry groups should be looking at real sustainability and that’s having an actual future. Sustainability will not matter if we continue this path of producing appalling tasting pork. Studies show consumers buying patterns put taste as the #1 driving factor if they buy and continue purchasing a product. The hog cycle will just continue to be more losses than wins if we don’t shift to producing a better tasting product. The saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” comes to mind. We need to look long and hard at what we’re doing as an industry and make the necessary changes to save it.
Please see below picture taken last week of pork from Genesus full program Jersey Red Duroc sire on Genesus F-1 female. It looks like beef. It tastes phenomenal. I would bet most consumers would be willing to pay a little bit more for pork that looks like this over the albino-jaundice looking pork we all see at the grocery store and know will leave us disheartened if we buy and consume it. This is what we do at Genesus and what we’ve believed in fundamentally as a company and put resources into making better for 25 years. One day this industry will realize it’s a good idea to produce better tasting pork, I just hope it’s in my lifetime.
This post was written by Genesus