As the closing down would mean pig producers have to be shipping live animals out of the province, they even said to be considering a foray into the slaughtering and processing business.
A spokesman of Sask Pork, the province’s organisation of all pork producers, said a possible absence of a major processor in the vicinity puts the viability of the entire industry at risk.
Sask Pork even tried to work out several options for maintaining packer capacity.
One of those options is to purchase the existing Mitchell’s Gourmet Foods facility, scheduled to be closed in about three years. Originally this one was expected to be replaced by an US $97 million new plant, until Maple Leaf decided to annul those plans.
Producers might also build a new facility of their own, or partner with Maple Leaf, Sask Pork officials said.
Most of the farmers shipping pigs to the existing plant live within 200 kilometres of the city of Saskatoon.
Costs of transports could rise by US $4.40 to $5.30 per pig if producers have to ship to plants in elsewhere in Canada, provided there is capacity to take them – otherwise shipping animals to the US is the only, even more expensive option.
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