Genesus Global Market Report Canada, April 2023

Spencer Long of Genesus

With pork prices at record levels or approaching new records throughout Europe – Canadian producers are still reeling. Losses continue, and pain persists. We need a pendulum swing. The dramatic difference in price between Canada and Europe should in theory result in more Canadian pork being exported as more Asian buyers look for cheaper options internationally which should also result in the price increasing in Canada as supply declines. When and if this theory happens and at what point is anyone’s guess. The increasing rise of African Swine Fever in China will put the biggest consumer of pork in the world in a hole. Canada exports 70% of its pork production already and is the third largest exporter of pork in the world, this number could increase further if the price is right. Some packers in Canada lost right around $300 million last year, everyone is losing in this business right now. The reality is there is a pork shortage throughout much of the world and Canada has a massive opportunity to help fill the shortage while at the same time giving Canadian producers and packers room for profitability. The last number of years have been devastating for producers and we need the pendulum to swing.

Canada is facing a dramatic demographic shift within the agricultural industry that has been well on its way for decades but is now increasingly becoming more apparent. New reports show 40% of Canada’s farm operators will retire by 2033 and the country will need 30,000 new immigrants to establish new farms and greenhouses or take over existing ones to keep the sector sustainable. That staggering number is one that our industry needs to recognize and prepare for. Farms will need to get bigger as more people exit the industry to continue current output, this will further consolidate our industry. Furthermore, in 10 years, 60% of today’s farm operators will be over the age of 65. Canada is taking in record numbers of immigrants, how many of these immigrants are prepared for and interested in being farmers is questionable, the overwhelming majority are settling in major urban centers and will never farm in Canada. The current immigration pool will not create sustainability for our industry and Justin Trudeau’s rule does not give us confidence that he wants to ensure our industry’s sustainability, we know he’s against us.

The reality for our industry is young people need to see a future in the industry. They need to see that opportunity can be there, that is what will make it sustainable. Looking from the outside in at our industry over the last few years one would genuinely wonder why anyone would want to be in it if they are just going to lose money year in and year out. Young people need to see that they can make a good living and can succeed. We believe fundamentally as a company that better-tasting pork is what can propel our industry forward and this could be the opportunity young people see within the industry. Right now, the industry isn’t working for most, we need a pendulum swing so young people can join it and ensure it remains sustainable.