Saskatchewan Pork Sector Commits One Million Dollars Toward Foreign Animal Disease Preparation

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Farmscape for January 23, 2023

Full Interview 8:50 Listen

The General Manager of Sask Pork says the dedicated cull sow line incorporated into the design of the North 49 sow processing facility will allow the humane slaughter of hogs in the event a serious swine disease outbreak temporarily stops trade. In response to the threat of African Swine Fever, the Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board have committed one million dollars to support swine disease mitigation, including adding a dedicated cull sow line into the North 49 processing facility being build in Moose Jaw by Donald’s Fine Foods. Sask Pork General Manager Mark Ferguson says, while North America remains free of African Swine Fever, it is present in Europe and Asia and the Dominican Republic was infected in 2021.

Clip-Mark Ferguson-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
Donald’s Fine Foods and North 49, the new sow plant, are great partners to the industry in Saskatchewan and they presented us with the opportunity to upgrade this facility while it was being constructed in Moose Jaw. Building something like this into the basic design from scratch, it’s a lot easier while you’re building it than retrofitting it later and cheaper as well. The investment will go toward construction of a dedicated corridor in the facility along with an overhead rail system that will allow for the efficient processing of animals. Basically the entire infrastructure of the facility from the barn to the CO2 stunning area and the rest of the facility can be used in the event that we need to cull animals. Basically it’s one of those investments that we sincerely hope we will never have to use but we need to be prepared for it if we ever need to. Slaughter disruptions, we had a few of them during the COVID pandemic and it showed us how fragile our supply chain can be and how reliant we are on processing plants being open every day. We need to have a good plan available to deal with interruptions to our ability to export and any long term interruptions to our slaughter capacity in western Canada.

Ferguson says the cull line is something we hope we’ll never have to use but we have to have it in place.

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