Pork producers blame supply management

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Not a week goes by without hearing about all the associated problems with sm from multiple media sources. Get with the times, its 2013, not 1970. The world's population is rapidly expanding. Unequal government policies don't work. Two weeks ago the government announced it is stepping in to increase competition in the cellular market in regards to Bell, Rogers and Telus. Maybe it should look at the one it is supposedly already overseeing. Raube Beuerman, Dublin, ON

If I'm not mistaken, the Canadian pork organization has withdrawn its membership in the Canadian Federation of Agriculture for similar reasons - congratulations to pork farmers for having only traditional farm organization willing to "call it like it is"

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

CFA is approx. 80% OFA therefore, does this mean Pork also withdraws from OFA????

This would be exactly the sort of thing which should, but likely won't, wake up the OFA - the OFA will follow supply management right into the abyss, and then wonder why younger farmers don't like the OFA.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Pork producers have been urged many times to adopt supply management instead of always going to governments for a handout. They have always preferred to ask for more taxpayers dollars so that they can keep subsidizing consumers in other countries with cheap pork. That hasn't worked and most who voted so stupidly are out of business. You might say they made a fatal error. Instead of recognizing this error the few who are left still don't admit their fatal mistake. In any business you have to recognize your mistakes before you can fix them. Sadly pork producers continue to fool themselves. It's delusional thinking. So now it's time to blame anyone and everyone but themselves. Supply management is just one of many excuses they fool themselves with. Foreign subsidies, foreign labeling, OSPCA, the list goes on and on. None of this would matter of course if they had made the right business decision in the first place.
Now that they have destroyed their own industry they want to destroy others.

Just what farming needs farmers fighting farmers!!!

Mean that OASC has come to an end ?

One of the basic truths of history and human nature is that people fight like cornered rats when threatened with the loss of entitlements. Supply managed farmers are no different, as has been so-well demonstrated on this site in response to this story. It should be no surprise to anyone that supply managed farmers will lash out against anyone, and everyone who would even appear to oppose their ability to "rule the farm roost". The problem is that people say, and do, things in anger that they shouldn't, yet supply managed farmers, like anyone threatened with the loss of entitlements, will say, and do, and blame, everything, and anyone, standing in their way. It's going to be nasty, nasty, nasty, as is any so-called civil war, but that's what we get for letting things go unchecked for so long. As I've pointed out many times before, the Achilles Heel of supply management has been the complete inability to see themselves as others see them, and now that supply managed farmers can no longer deny the truth about how they are seen by others, they can't handle it. Now just exactly where is the poor anonymous sod who, just this week, claimed on this site that there were only three people opposed to supply management?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So now you want to claim that the story is from one of the "three" commentors who are on this site . It would likely be more to the truth that you tell GMC what they should be putting out . Even when they are wrong you say they are right .
Are you on the payroll there ??
If so even more reason Ag in this Country should distance them selves from them .

the editing on this site is inconsistent...."cornered rats" is not a way to described a group of hard working farmers that you just don't like....and should be removed

Given the number of "cornered rat" comments I regularly hear from people who e-mail me and call me, you greatly mis-understand the anger and frustration felt by non-supply managed farmers. For example, you obviously don't understand that the incomes and purchasing power available only to supply management, makes hard-working non-supply managed farmers very-much feel like "cornered rats" in their own communities. I'm sorry, but your comments make it abundantly clear you just don't understand the problem.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

So now you want to blame your comment on others and say that you are just passing the buck as to what you hear .

Comment modified by editor

"Cornered rats? Is this the kind of statement that gets explained by the statement "teaching them a lesson"?

Just because there is a possible market does not mean that there will be a profit in filling that market .

So now that pork has made this move when are they going to put out their numbers for the RMP program which they have been keeping a secret along with what price corn should be so both G&O and prok farmers can make a profit . All this story shows is how pork farmers only care about them selves .

I am not a pork producer but to me the COOL regulations have done more damage to pork sales then supply management. COOL has been ruled against at the WTO and the US has not seemed willing to move on the issue.As for trade with Europe or Asia theres a lot more issues involved than just supply managment. Supply management makes a really good target but every country involved in a trade deal has industrys it wants to protect.

If pork had adapted sm COOL wouldn't matter. SM in dairy or chickens wouldn't matter. SM is about sales based on cost of production. If corn or loose housing costs more then pork should cost more.
The future for pork producers here is to accept your fate bravely, don't blame others for your bad choices and let someone else supply the pork to Canadians.

Supply management "works" only with import controls, and only for products with few, if any, substitutes. Supply management for pork would, therefore, decimate the industry, and turn it into exactly the same sort of high-cost dinosaurs we have in dairy and poultry. While you can have your opinion, you can't base it on bad economics, and blame for the victims of supply management.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Decimate the industry???
Have you looked at the pork industry lately?
I think it qualifies as decimated already.
Next year and the year after and so on it will qualify as even more decimated until it is gone or left to a few hobby farmers who can support their hobby from other income. Come to think of it other income is supporting it now it's called taxpayer bailouts, or buyouts, or subsidies and in most cases it also involves obscene amounts of producer equity.
This industry has ignored a basic principle. When you sell something it has to be for more than it cost you to produce it.

The pork industry has finally identified a real problem which they didn't create, and which they can't fix - it's a problem created by government and which can only be fixed by government. The only thing for which the pork industry can be blamed, is not taking a stand against supply management a decade ago.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The only thing the pork industry stands for is .... Give me more gov money and I will always blame some one else for my poor management and when I think I need more money or some one to blame .

Who else then can they blame ? I don't see any one else other than pork producers who are over producing pork ! And driving the price down to where "MOST" claim it is not profitable other than 1 poster on this web site , while countless others are crying foul in hopes of Wynne sending out adhoc pork payments . And don't tell me that mcgivern wouldn't cash it !

That is only your opinion that things can't be based on bad economics . If there is no money to made raising pigs then it is a fact that it is not economical to raise pigs and it would be bad economics or a bad economical choice and foolish for some to continue , want to start .

Me thinks you have shorted yourself .

The hog industry is, without doubt, caught between a rock and a hard place. They're facing an import basis price for their feed corn inputs, a situation made only worse by ethanol, and an export basis for their market hogs. Adding insult to injury is the obvious fact that their export interests and their capital budgeting realities are adversely affected, and greatly so, by supply management. Getting rid of supply management's ability to thwart trade talks and the ability of supply managed farmers to be financial "bullies" in the farm community would go a long way to levelling the "playing field" in farm country. Continuing to deny the problem and/or be dismissive to the hog industry serves no useful purpose except to make an intolerable situation even worse. And for those who claim discussion is the only answer, that works only when both sides are prepared to listen, and it's quite obvious that the pork industry has concluded, and rightly so, that nobody was prepared to listen to them. We, in the farm community, are only getting what we so-richly deserve - we've let supply management control everything for far-too long, and now we're going to pay the price for our blindness.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

We are not yet in an import basis position in Ontario yet. we are still the low price in North America, which is why corn is leaving Ontario at a pretty stead pace. With the amount of corn in the province this year, I'm not sure we will ever get to an import basis on this crop.
Kevin Nixon

While we might be, at the moment, not on an import basis for corn pricing, my understanding is that on a year in/year out time frame, we are net importers, and have been for a long time, which is exactly why the George Morris Centre, and others, have been, and still are, highly-critical of the ethanol industry in Ontario. In addition, for ethanol advocates to use a snap-shot corn basis profile to absolve themselves of any long-term culpability for the woes of the hog industry, is disengenuous at best, and deliberately misleading at worst.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

The list of excuses is endless. They compete with ethanol for feed as one example.
How much pork gets exported if the value of the CDN dollar rises? Answer none we get even more cheap US pork dumped here.

What will happen if a trade deal is made but is limited to only hogs produced with out gestation stalls ? I see where the pork producers don't want to change but the trade deal might force that . Then it will be an OH SHIT moment ! We have a market but no way to fill it .

The fact that this vote, by farmers, to put trade ahead of supply management's protectionism, passed by a margin of 68 to 13 tells the whole story. Farm organizations and supply managed farmers will wring their hands and spout all the customary drivel about "working together", but when there's a more than 5 to 1 majority, it means people don't believe this nonsense any more, and are tired of talking to people who not only don't listen, but who don't even want to listen. Wake up people, and at the risk of mixing metaphors, this is just the long-overdue "first shot over the bow" of the supply management Titanic - more will follow.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

This story is very telling as to how and why pork farmers are in the position they are . The blame game has worked well for them for so many years that they think they are intitled to more money and continue to pick on all other sectors of agriculture to blame for their problem , or an excuse for a gov payment .

Well the truth is that the price of their product is low and they need to do some thing to help get their price up . You can't buy a new pickup for the same price you did back in the 70's so why is food still the same price ? Also the Canadian dollar is not at 65 cents compared to the green back so they and all Canadian companies are finding it harder to compete now when not that many years ago there was a real advantage here . Though I feel for the pork producers I do not think it is every one elses problem that they cannot compete as they used to . Things change continually and maybe we are on the cusp of a much smaller pork industry here in Canada . The USA has vast areas that do not require heat for their barns which is just one advantage . The Ont. pork producer currently has a feed price advantage over the US producer currently but it does not seem to allow them to compete . It is because of other things that are happening in the USA . Both Countries have ethanol so yet corn is priced lower here as we are on an export basis which gives an advantage feed wise here .

Human nature is to always blame some one else . That seems to be how most current pork producers think . I see some new barns being built . That would not be happening if those owners were all doom & gloom about the industry . I would think those producers were not at the meeting . They were home working on their business and not sitting in a conference whinning and crying . I think many producers are stuck in an old mindset rather than looking out to what the future will be for their industry and for that reason I wish i could feel sorry for them but I can't .

The pork industry is now telling it like it is, just like the Canadian Food and Restaurant Association has been doing for years. It is the governments job to look after the general public and supply management is a perfect example of social injustice. The governing boards in supply management are mostly producers, there is not near enough consumer representation on those boards. Greed has taken over.

Restaurants are high risk businesses. Like farmers restaurant owners work hard. They also have to purchase supplies and pay for other overheads. They set the price they have to sell their meals for. Like most sound businesses they are price makers not price takers.

Since in most cases restaurants compete with other restaurants their is no need for government oversight like we have with marketing boards.

No one would be stupid enough to open a restaurant without a sound business plan showing acceptable margins.

Just like the supply management sector no restaurant owner would ever expect the kind of taxpayer handouts pork producers have received.

Restaurants tend to come and go for a variety of reasons. Unlike the pork and beef sector there has been no decline in the number of restaurants and unlike those industries there is no whining for taxpayer handouts.

The Canadian Food and Restaurant Association has been petitioning government for years to do something about supply management as pointed out by Paul Goddard, and is what the pork industry is looking at also. Restaurants are high risk business' because they operate in a free market environment which is they way it must be, should be and eventually will be for the fictional land of supply management. Just think of the public outcry if one restaurant chain was allowed to control Canada with fixed prices, yet we allow it happen for dairy and poultry.

I don't think I missed your point

Restaurants do complain. We agree on that.

Restaurants set their selling price based on cost of production just like supply management producers do. Surely we agree?

I won't repeat the other points unless you still think I missed something.

Restaurants must be competitive because they operate in a free market where anyone and/or chain can and does compete with them which is why consumers get fair prices. Suppy managed farmers do not operate in the same type of environment, their boards are dominated by producers with government granted powers to set prices, and keep competition out in a cartel like situation. When restaurants are given government granted powers to set prices, then we can agree.

When restaurants become a necessity like food is and are directly threatened by protectionist foreign governments as well as, domestic political programs like ethanol and when they face the other problems farmers do I will look at them differently.
Some restaurants like taxis, doctors, etc. already have supply management. In the case of restaurants some have government contracts to operate in protected exclusive areas like arenas, stadiums and other buildings. I always wondered whether that Tim's deal in Kandahar involved both subsidies and supply management. Lots of reasons to prevent consumers from getting lowest prices too. It seems every time Walmart wants to go to a new town everyone complains that that will put other stores out of business.

Who but supply managed farms and foreign governments like the Chinese outside of supply management can afford to pay 14 to 24 thousand an acre? Are we as a Canadian society supposed to be happy with a so called safe Canadian made supply of dairy and poultry products and for go the so called on everything else on our table? Sounds like some well deserved audits are needed to rectify a bursting bubble.

Comment off topic

One of the things that happens in the USA is they can go to the trade table and not have to sacrifice trade because of supply management. I don't think the heat requirement is a good argument because they also will have more cooling costs because they have more hot weather. Supply management is the biggest excuse for a government payment, except that it bypasses the government and goes straight to them. Protectionism is job killing, causes financial stress on consumers. It only props up one group in an artificial sense to make them feel like they are doing a job.

Maybe you haven't looked lately but the US farm bill is helping their economy because it gives so many subsidies to agriculture. That also creates problems for our non-supply managed sector because they have to compete with this form of protectionism. Of course this isn't a problem for our farmers who were smart enough to choose supply management which is based on what it costs an efficient farm to produce a product.

Not that subsidies are desirable, but if any thing is to be subsidized food ranks near the top. As far as competing our government should match their numbers or 'tax' them at an equivalent rate at the border. It is far better policy to have affordable food for the nation than to prop up a very small percentage of the population.

Remember back in approx.
2006 something called corn countervail duty tax on dumped subsidized U.S. corn? Seems our gov't didn't have the gonads to follow thru even though the dumping claim was justified. So, much for a level playing field. Our gov't proved then they are very weak when it comes to sticking up for our non supply managed sector fair trade.

Subsidize food you say?

If you subsidize food, you are in reality, subsidizing wages and other life styles.

It is currently happening in every form of farming, in many parts of the world, just in different ways. Supply management is a form of subsidy, except the government allows that subsidy to bypass them and go straight to the producer and then it is squandered into millions of quota capitol that the consumer has paid for and then some.

Sounds alot like Green Energy . We have had extra charges put on our hydro bills to pay down debt but the debt never seems to get paid off . Then we have companies who get subsidized to produce energy that is not competitively priced and we the consumer get charged unreal prices for that energy that we do not need and then sell at a loss . At least with SM if you buy you pay the price once . That's it ,That's all .

You must be a carpenter , because you hit the nail right on the head.

Nope not a carpenter .
I am proud to say I am a farmer .
Jack of all trades , Master of none . I don't need to call my self some thing other than what I am .

Gee , Could I also call myself an economist ? If and when it suits me ! LMAO

There are different types of subsidies, the one in green energy does nothing to keep hydro rates down so no benefit to consumers. On the other hand, subsidizing agricultural products when neccessary benefits consumers.

Let them eat frozen pizza . It may taste like hell but is cheap and covers many food groups .

Every economics student, and absolutely every ag economics student, for the last 150 years, knows this by heart - it's too bad farmers and the study of economics, seem to be incompatible.

Stephen Thompson

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