by BETTER FARMING STAFF
“Proprietary information” trumps “clarity” as far as Ontario producers and their marketing division are concerned.
Producers at the board’s annual meeting in Guelph today soundly defeated an Oxford County proposal that would have laid bare the financial position of Ontario Pork’s marketing division.
“Some groups thought the division would fail,” said Perth County producer John Nyenhuis who opposed the resolution. “They don’t need to know how it was successful.”
The resolution, presented by Oxford County delegate Rob McDougall, called for Ontario Pork’s annual statements to clearly separate the financial position of the board’s marketing division from its producer services division. The resolution got only 16 votes, with 51 delegates voting against it.
There are still hard feelings from the Ontario Farm Product Marketing Commission’s ruling in 2009 that reduced Ontario Pork’s powers to view contracts to market hogs, said Huron County’s John VanderBurgt, who fought to keep the board’s powers at that time.
Ontario Pork’s marketing division is now separate from universal services that all producers pay check off to and competes with other companies brokering pigs between producers and packers. Critics claim that the marketing division has an unfair advantage and may actually be financed by universal service users who opted to market their hogs through other channels.
That was a hot topic earlier in the day when financial officer Jim Weir presented the marketing board’s financial statements. Monies from the marketing division’s fund were used to offset some losses suffered by producers who used the marketing service. A note at the bottom of the audited statement said the Farm Products Marketing Commission finds the board’s financial reporting is reasonable.
That note was particularly irksome to producers who don’t use the service and lost money when Quality Meat Packers Limited in Toronto and associated companies failed last April. There were 276 producers who lost more than $1 million for hogs delivered to Quality that weren’t paid for. In mid-May, the marketing division announced it would pay “marketing members” a partial payout estimated at the time to cover about half of the cost of the animals they weren’t paid for.
A resolution to extend that payout to all producers who lost money from the Quality Meat Packers failure was also defeated. BF