Cross Border Vaccine Mandate Creates Challenges for Pork Sector

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Farmscape for February 10, 2022

Full Interview 6:48 Listen

The Chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board says the cross-border vaccine mandate is making accessing feed imports from the United States difficult at a time when supplies in western Canada are tight due to last year’s drought. Border restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID have reduced the availability of transport drivers to move goods back and forth across the Canada-U.S. border. Toby Tschetter, the Chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says transportation issues and feed availability and costs are challenges right now for the hog industry.

Clip-Toby Tschetter-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
There seems to be a general shortage of truckers in Canada and this isn’t just restricted to the hog industry.
With more reliance on feed imports and increased need for imported feed ingredients, we’re relying more and more on long distance transportation this year. The biggest impact we’ve seen so far in Saskatchewan is the supply of some of the feed ingredients we typically import, particularly soybean. That’s in very short supply. Loads are being delayed weeks at a time and guys are scrambling to keep enough feed in the bins. There’s also very little canola meal to substitute with the poor crop year and that’s not helping any. So far, we haven’t seen any live shipment disruptions but the farms that do ship those hogs out, those isoweans, they are worried about it.
The cross-border vaccination mandate that came into effect, that’s not helping the situation any and is basically reducing the number of Canada-U.S. drivers that can cross the border.

Tschetter acknowledges, with the amount of tons of feed that need to be imported from the U.S. right now into western Canada because of the drought, there is no easy solution. He suggests Canada and the U.S. removing these rules will help and, in the longer term, a good crop year will reduce our dependence on imports, but that’s still a long way off.

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