Behind the Lines
That term “perfect storm,” a description of an event where rare circumstances combine to make a situation much worse, has been used to describe the pork industry far too many times in recent years. This year’s perfect storm is a drought that is driving up feed prices drastically, stretching farmers to their financial limits, at the same time as pork producers are coming face to face with strengthening demands from activists to change how they manage their gestating sows.
Why don’t more producers use futures contracts to defend their positions when they market pigs? It’s a question that we at Better Pork have heard asked any number of times. So this spring, as prices were trending downwards, Senior Staff Editor Don Stoneman set out to learn more. His report starts on page 6.
It was two years ago that Carol Mitchell, then Ontario’s agriculture minister, reviewed a decision of the Ontario Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal and ordered the Farm Products Marketing Commission to go ahead with plans to dismantle the exclusive powers of Ontario Pork, the provincial marketing board as of Dec. 1, 2010. This was done despite the trepidation of many producers, who feared that their collective marketing powers would be lost forever. Eighteen months have passed since the December 2010 deadline arrived and Better Pork writer Mary Baxter reports that pork producers find that the sun still comes up every morning. That story starts on page 6.