Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tribunal adds drainage expert

Edward Dries of Chatham has been appointed to a two-year term as a vice-chairman of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeals Tribunal.

He is an engineer who has specialized in tile drainage.

The tribunal has recently been dealing with many drainage-issue appeals.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Trudeau said canola spat linked to U.S.-China trade

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said trade troubles for Canadian canola exports to China are the result of a “ripple effect” of trade tensions between China and the United States.

And he promised that government help will be coming within the next few days for the Canadian canola industry.

Opposition leader Andrew Sheer called on the government to quickly appoint an ambassador to China – the previous one, John McCallum, was fired by Trudeau – and to pull $256 million from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

He has been saying the federal government has not been doing enough about China’s complaints about pests contaminating Canadian canola shipments, resulting in the suspension of Richardson and Viterra, two of Canada’s leading canola-exporting companies.

Trudeau said the nub of the issue is “a scientific-based disagreement,” but did not elaborate.

Canada has assembled a team of experts to visit China to discuss the issues, but so far the Chinese have not responded to the request to send the team.

Chinese throw more sand in the gears

China has thrown more sand into the gears of trade, this time delaying paperwork reviews for imports of Canadian soybeans.

Instead of a few days, they now take three weeks, prompting Chinese buyers to avoid Canadian soybeans, according to Dwight Gerling, president of DG Global.

"They're basically sending out the signal, 'You buy from Canada, we're going to make your life difficult,'" Gerling said.

Last year Canada sold $1.7 billion worth of soybeans to China.

The soybean difficulties coincide with Chinese bans on canola from Viterra and Richardson, enough to prompt Prairie farmers to reduce the acreage they intend to plant to canola this spring.

Canadian pea exporters fear they could be next. China imported $718 million worth of Canadian peas in 2018, according to industry group Pulse Canada, but the pace has slowed.

Chinese authorities have begun scrutinizing import documents and product samples more closely, said Taimy Cruz, director of logistics for BroadGrain Commodities.

China Inspection and Quarantine Authorities now tests samples of each pea shipment before authorizing it for import. 

There are also worries about pork shipments because the Chinese have raised objections to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency forms that some exporters have used.

The CFIA has said new forms will be supplied to exporters.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Semen importer faces CFIA charges

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has filed two charges related to semen imports against Karley Sinclair of Clair Lane Stock Farm near Fergus.
He is to appear in provincial court in Guelph on May 28.
The CFIA claims that Sinclair knowingly imported cattle semen in February, 2018, without presenting paperwork to border officials and that between March 9, 2018, and May 10 he owned an animal being imported “in contravention” of the Health of Animals Act.
Clair Lane Stock Farm was founded in 2007 and says on its website that it is “Specializing in Sourcing Hard to Find, Rare and Limited Frozen Genetics.’


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Agri-Food Management Institute folds

The Agri-Food Management Institute is closing at the end of the month because it has run out of money.
The institute has supported farm and other agri-businesses with resources, workshops and training. It appears to be victim of one of the cuts the Ford government is making.
AMI’s resources will go to Farm Management Canada and to Food Processing Skills Canada.
That includes its programs such as the Beginning Farmer Workshop, Advance Farm Management, and Transition Smart.
Farm Management Canada will take over AMI’s online business management tools, resources and workshops. 

It's yet another short-term gain for long-term pain delivered by Ford.

Conestoga Meats gets another gift

The federal government is lending Conestoga Meats $10 million to invest in equipment to improve the quality of fresh pork.

It’s the second multi-million grant; the company got $5.3 million from the province in 2017 for an expansion. It has also received a number of grants over the last couple of decades as it undertook six expansions.

The company was started by hog farmers looking for a way to reduce their risks of dire plunges in hog prices and profits. 

The theory was that when hog prices are low, packing margins improve and vice versa.

The plant is located on an isolated site in the midst of farm fields near Breslau, which is east of Kitchener. It employs about 1,000 workers slaughtering 37.000 hogs per week; this expansion will add about 200 more workers.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau was at the plant to make the announcement.

She is scheduled to make another pork-industry investment announcement at Piller’s Meats and Delicatessens Ltd. in Waterloo on May 2.

One of the pork industry’s concerns now in China’s warning that the paperwork for Canadian pork needs to be brought up to date. 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it’s working on the issue.

China is now Canada’s second-largest pork buyer and there is a pilot project in the works to try marketing fresh chilled pork to China.

The government news release that accompanied the Conestoga Meats announcement said “the investment will help the company upgrade its facilities and install a state-of-the art cooling system. 
“This unique, custom built system will allow for more controlled temperature reduction.  

“The technology will also reduce processing time and improve product shelf life for fresh pork. 

“These improvements will help increase production and significantly expand export opportunities in Japan and across Asia. Exporting to these areas requires advance capabilities to improve shelf life for chilled pork."

Feds invest in bio products

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced an investment of up to $11.2 million in the Bioproducts Cluster under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The cluster, led by Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, will include an additional $10.9 million in contributions from industry, for a total investment of $22.1 million. 

The cluster funds research to develop new applications for farm crops and residues. including generation of energy, extraction of chemicals and production of industrial products. 

Ecosynthetix will receive up to $2 million to develop green resins for adhesive binders for wood products. 

The goal is to provide alternatives to non-renewable based materials that will help meet Canada's commitment to reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and shift towards a renewable-based economy. 

Walmart cuts out beef middlemen

Walmart is planning to cut out beef-processing middlemen, such as Tyson and Cargill, and contract with producers and packers to stock its stores in South-eastern United States.

The world’s largest retailer said Wednesday the move would allow it to ensure supplies of quality Angus beef and meet demands from customers who want to know the origin of their meat.

Walmart has now arranged to source cattle from Texas rancher Bob McClaren of Prime Pursuits and 44 Farms, who said the retailer will sell no-hormones-added Black Angus beef.

The cattle will be fed at a feedyard that specializes in avoiding hormones, slaughtered in Kansas and packaged in Georgia before the beef hits shelves in about 500 Walmart stores in the southeastern U.S., Reuters news agency reported.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Lucyporc closing plant to join Olymel

Lucyporc is closing its plant that employs about 350 workers and merging operations at Olymel’s plant at Yamachiche, Quebec.

Olymel has spent more than $120 million to modernize its plant over the past two years and will now employ about 1,000 workers.

Lucyporc is a family-owned pork and poultry business that became a partner with Olymel.  It is famous for meeting stringent standards to develop export markets and was the first Canadian plant approved to market to the European Union.

It is owned by the Robitaille Group which breeds and produces hogs, develops nutrition and slaughters and processes pork.

Olymel plans to add more than 300 new jobs as it launches a second shift that will increase pork slaughter capacity to 40,000 hogs from 18,000 per week. 

About 60 per cent of the processed pork from the Olymel plant will be exported to about 50 countries.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

R-CALF suing large packers

R-CALF, the nemesis of the Canadian beef industry because it prompted several tariffs, is suing the four largest beef packers in the United States.

It claims they got together to influence cattle prices and they said they have testimony from a former employee that backs their claims of collusion.

The lawsuit is against Tyson Foods, Inc., JBS S.A., Cargill, Inc., and National Beef Packing Company, LLC, and certain of their affiliates, who collectively purchase and process more than 80 per cent of the U.S.’s fed cattle. 

R-CALF and the four ranchers are represented by Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP, a national antitrust and securities litigation firm, along with Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP. 

The four cattle feeders are from Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Wyoming.

They said the companies influenced prices since 2015, both in the live cattle and futures markets.

Canada eventually won the tariff cases, but each time it cost millions in legal and consulting fees and temporarily depressed prices for Canadian cattle and beef.

Pork exports face Chinese glitch

The Chinese, who have been throwing sand in the gears of Canadian exports, have claimed that some pork has lacked proper paperwork.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed to Reuters news agency that there have been paperwork issues.

The Chinese have recently complained about Canadian canola and stopped buying from the largest Canadian exporting companies.

Gary Stordy, spokesman for the Canadian Pork Council, said export shipments have continued as normal.

The CFIA is not aware of either the Chinese government or its importers causing new delays, Reuters said. 

The shipping problem involves different language and formats used between older and current export certificate forms provided by the CFIA.

The CFIA has told Canadian exporters to obtain replacement export certificates “on an urgent basis,” as both current shipments and some shipments in transit to China are affected. 

Canada is shipping more pork to China this year as African swine fever (ASF) continues to spread, already claiming about seven per cent of the nation’s pigs.

China became Canada’s largest pork export market by volume during the first two months of this year, buying 59,000 metric tons from Canada, or 23 per cent more than a year ago, Reuters said.

The article did not say whether exports to China topped exports to the United States which has traditionally been by far the largest buyer of Canadian pork.

Fee instead of compliance proposed

Developers may be able to get off the hook of complying with Species at Risk requirements. They might be able to pay a fee instead.

But the proposal apparently does not extend to farmers.

CTV news reports that the Doug Ford government in Ontariois proposing to create the Species at Risk Conservation Trust to oversee these charges and put the money toward large-scale measures to protect and recover those species.

Environment Minister Rod Phillips said applicants could pay a regulatory charge instead of completing "some of the more onerous and lengthy requirements of a permit.”

Monday, April 22, 2019

Agriculture startups need to get together

Editor John Greig has highlighted a key challenge in startups for Ontario technologies.

There have been too many players each doing their own thing, making it difficult for entrepreneurs to know where to turn and how to get enough backing to make commercial breakthroughs.

The province recently cancelled funding for Ontario Agriculture Food Technologies, Bioenterprise and Oilseed Innovation Partners. They were all working out of the same building, but not working together, Greig reports.

The City of Guelph is also delivering agriculture and food startup programs, he wrote.

The University of Guelph has licensed the successful accelerator program from the University of Waterloo, he wrote, and it also has the Gryphon’s Leading to the Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research (LAAIR) program, in which researchers are selected to learn more about moving their technology from research to commercialization.

Across the country, the other leading agriculture universities are in the innovation game, along with other regional players like AgWest Bio in Saskatchewan and the PEI BioAlliance.

Canadian pig transport examined

An international team that examined pig transport in Canada has found that death rates are lower for longer hauls rather than short ones.

That’s probably not what most people would guess, but the researchers say that the pigs tend to settle in and ride relatively smoothly to destinations.

They found that there is a temptation to put too many pigs on a load, which they say is understandable given the desire to keep costs down and to accomplish deliveries with one load rather than two.

The review was conducted by Fiona C. Rioja-Langof the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the YUniversity of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Jennifer A. Brown of the Prairie Swine Centre are Saskatoon, and the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon,  Egan J. Brockhoff of Prairie Swine Health Services at Red Deer, Alta. and Luigi Faucinato of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Sherbrooke, Que. 

Thailand company buys HyLife pork

Charoen Pokphand Foods Pcl (CPF), Thailand’s biggest agriculture company, is paying $372.7 million to buy HyLife Investments, one of Canada’s biggest pork-producing and pork-processing companies.

CPF is buying 50.1 percent of HyLife; the rest is owned by Itochu Corp. of Japan.

CPF said the investment would give it access to a pork production base and opportunity to expand in North America and premium markets such as Japan.

CPF, which has livestock, aquaculture, animal feed, and restaurants businesses across 17 countries, is owned by Thailand’s richest man, Dhanin Chearavanont.

HyLife has been expanding in recent years, investing $176 million in its processing plant at Neepewa, in new feed mills at Killarney and Hanover and six new hog barns, all in Manitoba.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Corn growers want trade deal ratified

The National Corn Producers Association in the United States is urging politicians to ratify the trade deal negotiated last year among Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

The association said it won’t change much, but will affirm trade terms such as its members exporting corn to Mexico at the rate of about $3.2 billion a year.

Belmont Meats recalling veggie burgers

Belmont Meat Products is recalling Kirkland Signature brand Harvest Burger - Veggie Burgers from the marketplace due to possible presence of pieces of metal.

The CFIA says the burgers should not be eaten and could be returned to Costco.

It said there have been some consumer injuries from the metal pieces.

Bacterial enzymes counter DON

Dr. Ting Zhou has found bacteria in soil that could detoxify the DON that has poisoned a lot of Ontario corn.

Zhou found the bacteria in an alfalfa field and discovered that produces two enzymes that can neutralize DON.

He said it might work to detoxify contaminated corn after harvest, but he also speculates that it could be used as a seed treatment or a soil amendment to counter DON before it can infect corn.

Zhou is now looking to the corn industry and/or companies that could partner with him to commercialize the discovery.

He works for the federal agriculture department in Guelph.

Compared with previous discoveries of bacteria that can detoxify DON contaminated grain, the new bacterium is better because it doesn’t necessarily need DON as a food source to grow, it can grow at lower temperatures, and can grow in the presence of oxygen, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canadfa said in a news release.
‘This makes it well suited to industrial applications as there is potential to add the bacteria, or just the two purified enzymes, to harvested grain in storage to reduce contamination to levels acceptable for animal feed.’ said AAFC.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

P+H to double Hamilton flour mill

Parrish and Heimbecker is going to build a second flour mill at Hamilton Harbour, doubling production there.

It built the first mill there in 2012 and has invested heavily in improving grain-handling capacity at the port. The flour-mill plans include more investments In the terminal.

The company, which never says much about its plans and investments, has not revealed a price tag for the Hamilton Harbour investments.

It has flour mills at Hanover, Acton and Cambridge and significant investments in feed mills, poultry quota and poultry processing.

It has a director on the GrayRidge egg business, the second-largest egg-grading, egg-producing and egg-processing company in Ontario and Canada.

It has never revealed what, if any, ownership stake it holds in GrayRidge which is controlled by aging Bill Gray of Strathroy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

New technology kills viruses

Researchers think they have found a way to kill all viruses by treating air and they are testing it on a farm in Michigan.

They are using nonthermal plasmas, which are somewhat like sparks, to charge air molecules so they kill 99.9 per cent of viruses in the air.

"The most difficult disease transmission route to guard against is airborne because we have relatively little to protect us when we breathe," said Herek Clack, University of Michihan research associate professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Clack and his research team have begun testing their reactor on ventilation air streams at a livestock farm near Ann Arbor. 

Animal agriculture and its vulnerability to contagious livestock diseases such as avian influenza and PRRS viruses has a demonstrated near-term need for such technologies.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Verkaik appointed vice-chair of AgriCorp

Jason Verkaik, owner of Carron Farms Ltd. of Tottenham, has been appointed to a three-year term as vice-chair of AgriCorp.

He is a member of the Ontario Fruits and Vegetable Growers Association and of the Holland Marsh Growers Association.

Two appointed to Animal Care Review Board

Poeme Manigat of Mississauga has been appointed to a two-year term on the Animal Care Review Board. He is an employment standards officer and the Ministry of Labour and Labour and a Jurilinguist Legal Consultant at Law Society of Upper Canada.

Karen Restoule, who previously worked as director of the Justice Sector and Senior Political Advisor of Legal Affairs with the Chiefs of Ontario, has been appointed to a term that ends Dec. 31.

Both have also been appointed to the Fire Safety Commission.

Eadie named to Normal Farm Practices Protection Board

Doug Eade of Kincardine has been appointed to a two-year term on the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board. It hears complaints about farming filed by neighbours.

Scientist says cattle are not a climate villain

Frank Mitloehner says cattle are getting a bad rap as contributing to global warming.

The University of California researcher says that, in fact, there is as much methane taken out of the environment by farming as cattle contribute.

It takes about 10 years for the methane cattle emit as burps and farts to be removed by natural processes from the environment, he explained for a feature article in Meatingplace Magazine.

So if the cattle population remains steady – yet in North American it has been declining – then over a 10-year period cattle are not increasing methane leading to global warming, he explained.

And cattle make many valuable contributions to the environment, nutrition and health, he said. For example, 80 per cent of what cattle consume is forages that people can’t digest and those forages contribute to soil health.

Beef is also nutrient dense, moreso than plants, so is beneficial for balanced diets that contribute to good health, he explained.

Mitloehner has been advocating for animal agriculture for 20 years, drawing attention to mistaken claims and calling on the authors to correct their mistakes.

For example, he is currently challenging the EAT-Lancet report that calls for a sharp reduction in meat production  and consumption, on the one hand to improve the environment and the other to improve human health.

Mitloehner has written to those authors to point out mistakes and he said he knows they are busy now checking their claims and report, but he has yet to hear back from them.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Ontario Pork honours Schlegel, Friendship

Ontario Pork chose to honour Clare Schlegel and Dr. Robert Friendship this year.

Schlegel has been both chairman of the Ontario Pork marketing board and president of the Canadian Pork Council.

He received the Carl Block Award for outstanding leadership in animal health. Clare represents Ontario Pork at Swine Health Ontario, an industry-wide committee of seven individuals who collaborate to improve the industry’s ability to prevent, prepare for and respond to serious swine health threats in Ontario.

Dr. Robert Friendship has taught swine health at the University of Guelph since 1979 and has been a prolific researcher into practical hog-farming issues.

He was awarded the Howard Dunne Memorial Award in 2003 by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians for outstanding service to their organization and the swine industry.

He received a University of Guelph Distinguished Professor Award for teaching excellence in 2006, and the Zoetis (Pfizer) Award for research excellence in 2011, given to recognize outstanding research effort and productivity at the Ontario Veterinary College.

Ontario Pork chose him for its 2019 Industry Achievement Award.

Artisinal chicken producer workshop

Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) is holding its third annual workshop for producers who are enrolled in its Artisinal Chicken Farmers program.

The workshops are a place where growers can share information and tips and where speakers such as Dr. Scott Gillingham of Aviagen Inc. and veterinarian Dr. Mike Petric offer advice.

The chicken marketing board has licenced more than 150 growers to produce between 600 and 3,000 birds per year without requiring quota.

It is open to new applicants for the program that enables entrepreneurs to serve a wide range of consumer markets from farmers’ markets and local restaurants, to specialty butchers and farm-gate sales.

“The Artisanal Chicken Farmers are an inspiring group of people who continue to demonstrate their passion for farming through their desire to learn and improve their operations each and every year,” said board chairman Ed Benjamins.

“These farmers are incredibly entrepreneurial in finding innovative marketing strategies that resonate. We look forward to growing the program even further in the years to come.”

“The board is committed to meeting Ontario consumer needs and interests,” said Rob Dougans, president and chief executive officer for Chicken Farmers of Ontario.

“Our Artisanal farmers accomplish this goal at a local level in terms of meeting market, product, and consumer needs for premium Ontario chicken, giving Ontarians more choice in how and where they buy locally grown chicken.” 

$2,2 million for Quebec maple syrup industry

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has issued a news release in French announcing a $2.2-million grant to Quebec maple syrup producers.

It is for promotion and marketing, including in Japan and China.

There was no mention of producers in other provinces, such as Ontario and New Brunswick where maple syrup is a major crop. Ontario has had a huge harvest of top-quality maple syrup this spring.

Feds clear neonic as seed treatment

The federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency has cleared neonicotinoid seed treatments.
The agency, which is part of Health Canada, issued its final decision Thursday and said that it will take some steps to protect bees, such as banning neonics as a fruit-tree spray during pollination season, but will allow neonics to be used as a seed treatment.
There will also be protections for aquatic life.
“Health Canada has announced that it will be cancelling some uses of these pesticides, and changing other conditions of use such as restricting the timing of application,” said a press release from the department.
“Remaining uses (e.g., treatment on canola seeds and greenhouse vegetables) are not expected to pose unacceptable risks to bees and other pollinators.”

Wood's Dairy Source hit with an appeal

Johan and Herma Van Beek have filed an appeal against Wood’s Dairy Source.

The appeal under the Farm Safety and Quality Act is to be heard May 21 to 24 at the Douro-Dummer Township council chambers at 894 South Street, Warsaw, Ont., by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeals Tribunal.

Polish pork imports worry some Canadians

Poland has had African Swine Fever in its wild boar population of about 120,000 pigs and for four years has been trying to hunt them to extinction.
Yet Canada has continued to allow pork imports from Poland.
Federal trade records show that last year Canada imported more than $25 million worth of pork from Poland.
Among things that are not clear is whether the disease has stricken farmed hog herds in Poland and if Canadians imported any feed ingredients from Poland that might contain the virus.

Winter wheat did not fare well

Ontario cereals specialist Joanna Follings said winter wheat had a rough start last fall.
Some of the 925,000 acres were planted too late to germinate and emerge before winter set in.
A delayed soybean harvest set back plantings, and wet fall conditions resulted in a significant amount of winter wheat seeded from mid to late October, she said.
While many parts of the province received adequate snowfall, freeze-thaw events caused ice cover concerns in some regions.

Windsor sausage maker files appeal

Triple J Sausages of Windsor has filed an appeal against the food inspection services of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Alfred Lebherz will lead the appeal during a public hearing at Tecumseh Town Hall on May 30.

The hearing before OMAFRA’s Appeal Tribunal is open to the public.

Large dairy farms file an appeal

London Dairy Farms Ltd. and Mount Elgin Dairy Farms have filed a joint appeal against the Dairy Farmers of Ontario marketing board.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeals Tribunal has set aside three days at its head office in Guelph to hear the appeals June 12 to 14.

Tommy Faulkner is representing the companies which are among the largest dairy farms in the province.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

German researchers examining plants’ immune system

Researchers at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, have now discovered that receptors in plant cells identify bacteria through simple molecular building blocks.

They thought they had discovered the plants’ immune response to harmful bacteria, but it was only the beginning.

"The immune system of plants is more sophisticated than we thought," said Dr. Stefanie Ranf from the Chair of Phytopathology at the university.

When they delved into the constituents of the immune-response substance, they found it was two main things. They were wrong with their first guess and then found that the fatty-acids part is what does the work.

They are continuing their research in the belief that they will eventually find the genes responsible for producing these fatty acids and thus be able to provide plant breeders with information they can use to develop varieties resistant to harmful bacteria.

It is this type of basic research that eventually leads to key commercially-useful advances, but it's also the type of research most at risk when politicians reduce taxes, then slash budgets. Some day we will look back on them last two decades of political fear to raise taxes as a huge mistake.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

World Pork Expo cancelled

The National Pork Producers Council has cancelled this year‘s World Pork Expo at Des Moines, Iowa, because of concerns about African Swine Fever.

The event usually attracts about 20,000 visitors over three days, including individuals and exhibitors from regions where African Swine Fever has been experienced recently.

"While an evaluation by veterinarians and other third-party experts concluded negligible risk associated with holding the event, we have decided to exercise extreme caution," said Pork Council president David Herring.

"The health of the US swine herd is paramount; the livelihoods of our producers depend on it. Prevention is our only defence against ASF, and NPPC will continue to do all it can to prevent its spread to the United States,” he said.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Pork industry garners $6 million

Feds give pork industry $6 million

The federal agriculture department is giving more than $6 million to help the Canadian pork industry.

The investment was made under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

More than $3.8 million comes via AgriAssurance to help launch on-farm programs for food safety, traceability and animal care and to ensure compliance for the PigTrace program.
Another $1.2 million comes from the AgriMarketing fund to help promote and expand markets for Canadian pork.

The third part, $1.1 million, comes from AgriScience and aims to help producers increase production with efficient feeding strategies. 

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said “the Canadian Pork Industry has been instrumental in establishing consumer trust in Canadian pork and helping expand markets at home and abroad.

“Our Government is committed to working with industry to build a stronger and more innovative pork sector, while improving competitiveness and fostering continued economic growth for our middle-class.”

Rick Bergmann, chairman of the Canadian Pork Council, said “the projects announced today further strengthen the Canadian Pork Excellence platform and contribute to growing the Canadian economy.

“Canadian pork producers take great pride in producing the nutritious, high quality pork that is in high demand in markets around the world.

“Our on-farm food safety and animal care programs enable producers to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable pork production.”

Pork sales to China increase

China is now Canada’s second-largest buyer, by volume, of Canadian pork.

So far it has been frozen pork and some items that have little appeal to Canadian shoppers, but that’s changing and fresh chilled pork exports could begin soon, according to Michael Young, vice-president for technical services and marketing for Canada Pork International.

Canada sells pork to 87 countries, but the top 10, led by the U.S., account for 97 per cent.

China has lost about seven per cent of its pig population to African Swine Fever and new outbreaks continue, albeit at a reduced pace.

Young said was Canada's second highest year in terms volume – more than 1.2 million tonnes worth more than $3.8 billion, a 15 percent increase over 10 years ago.