Various Strategies Help Minimize Impact of COVID-19 Related Pork Processing Plant Slowdowns

Farmscape for August 26, 2020

The Director of Risk Management with HAMS Marketing Services says a range of strategies are helping to minimise the impact of COVID-19 related slowdowns at the Maple Leaf pork processing plant in Brandon.
Uncertainty over the impact of COVID-19 on pork processing capacity continues to pressure live hog markets.
Tyler Fulton, the Director of Risk Management with HAMS Marketing Services, observes a number of the bigger plants in the United States had to deal with the effects of COVID-19 far earlier and we saw some complete plant shutdowns in the U.S. in May but, for the most part, western Canadian processors didn't see any negative impacts from COVID-19 until mid-August.

Clip-Tyler Fulton-HAMS Marketing Services:
It's a relatively small number of the employees that are impacted and I think we just have more information than we did back in May and we were better prepared.
Maple Leaf has taken strong action in advance of the current issue in order to make some contingencies and be able to deal with it better.
So for producers, they are looking at shipping hogs to places that they may not have ever shipped before and that's partly the role of HAMS Marketing, to be able to find a home for those hogs because, as we know, the hogs don't stop growing.
When they are ready, there's a whole just-in-time system in place and when there's a disruption we need to find another location for them.
Really, it's been all hands on deck in order to clear some of that supply and so that means moving hogs out of province, moving hogs to other plants within the province and even probably moving some hogs into provincially inspected plants that typically do a relatively small number of hogs.

Fulton acknowledges, there's no doubt Maple leaf is seeing a reduction in production but the signs are good that they'll get back up to speed quicker.
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Bruce Cochrane.

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