Hog Farmers Encouraged to View Themselves as Food Producers Not Commodity Producers Hog Farmers Encouraged to View Themselves as Food Producers Not Commodity Producers

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Farmscape for October 14, 2022

Full Interview 7:25 Listen

The General Manager of Manitoba Pork is encouraging pork producers to shift their perspectives and look at themselves as producers of food rather than as producers of commodities. An article being circulated through Manitoba community newspapers and posted to the Manitoba Pork web site examines the question consumers are typically asking, “Where does my food come?” Cam Dahl, the General Manager of Manitoba Pork, observes consumers around the world, especially our high value markets, are asking about how their food is produced and we need to have the answers to those questions as food producers.

Clip-Cam Dahl-Manitoba Pork:
A lot of the times we look at our sectors in our commodity silos. We’re wheat producers or we’re pork producers or canola producers but, in truth, that’s not how consumers see us. Consumers go into the grocery store and they’re shopping for ingredients for a meal and they’re looking at the questions on nutrition and safety and environmental impact and welfare. They’re looking at these questions from the whole plate and from the meal point of view and not in our commodity silos. We need to maybe expand our point of view a little bit and look at that plate as food producers. We’re producing food for the meals that consumers around the world consume. When we have that commodity point of view of being hog producers or wheat producers, there could be a tendency to say, “you know what, when we’ve delivered our grain to the elevator or our animals to the processing plant, our job is done.” But, when we change our perspective and look at ourselves as, “no, we’re producing food,” then those questions become more important. I think of it as shifting those questions from, they’re far down the value chain and someone else’s problem to those questions really come back to the farm driveway. That shift in perspective is really important when we look at those questions.

Dahl suggests, if farmers aren’t able to answer consumers questions in a transparent way and provide assurance that food is produced responsibly then consumers are going to demand governments impose regulations so those questions need to be answered before those regulations come into place.

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