Editorial – Summer 2020

Message from the editor

The Summer 2020 edition of the Canadian Hog Journal is here!

After a few months that have seemed like an eternity, life is creeping back toward the [new] normal we have been told to expect. With any luck, we will now be better prepared to handle the predicted second wave of COVID-19, if and whenever it comes.

This edition prominently includes an exploration of shared value between producers and packers. It should come as no surprise that this matter is quite controversial and divisive. Many producers I encounter pull no punches when it comes to describing their deep-seated frustrations regarding pricing, and this article is an attempt at reflecting those concerns in a way that can hopefully inspire positive change and a collaborative path forward.

This edition also includes an update on the Spring 2020 coverage of COVID-19’s impacts on the Canadian pork industry. It is a lot to digest, and quite frankly, the news has been happening too fast to cover with an entirely clear picture of the situation. It is a tricky story to tell, and out in the world beyond our industry, our story has, unfortunately, been told badly. This has likely resulted in undue harm to our collective reputation, and we will now have to work even harder to share accurate, balanced news to raise public awareness.

In 2019, several hog and poultry farms in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec were the victims of animal activist organized crime. It is an indescribable insult to producers’ livelihoods and a black mark on the legal institutions that are supposed to protect farmers but fail miserably. Thankfully, some sympathetic political representatives have been aiming to change the game. This edition looks at what progress has been made.

If you manage to make it all the way through the heavy content, you will enjoy a summer-focussed look at the growth of home cooking, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The story reminds us how, in spite of challenges, we are ready to continue enjoying the brighter side of life to the best of our ability.

Research in this edition covers the potential cost savings of including enrichment for your herd, the intestinal fate of dietary zinc and copper, along with the role of protected acids in sow performance.

I have once again included a “Letters to the editor” section featuring reader feedback. Got something to say about what you see here? Do not hesitate to reach out and let me know. Email andrew.heck@albertapork.com with your thoughts, and they could make it into the next edition!

Letters to the editor

In reply to “Defending the pork value chain during COVID-19” (Spring 2020)

“Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, recently said agriculture needs to ‘make better use of existing [financial] support.’ What support is she referring to? AgriStability, AgriInvest or provincial programs? AgriStability is based on the last five years with the highest and lowest drops, with the remaining three years generating your average. My farm’s average sucks because government refuses to acknowledge what trade wars have done to us. Under AgriInvest, the support is matched up to $15,000. Hell, the carbon tax alone is going to eat that up!” – Maaike Campbell, Arkona, Ontario

In reply to “Defending the pork value chain during COVID-19” (Spring 2020)

“Since COVID started, my family and I have been enjoying lots of Canadian pork. It’s yummy and supports local producers and the economy!” – Karin Melnyk, Red Deer, Alberta

In reply to “Producers should seek better share of export values” (Spring 2020)

“Exports obviously form an important part of the Canadian pork industry, but consumers sometimes forget that there are great local products close to home. I’m proud to serve local food and beverage at my business, The Copper Coil Grill and Still, and I think it’s really important these days especially to support producers.” – Scott Gadsby, Squamish, B.C.