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Feds broaden cull breeding swine program

The federal government’s cull breeding swine program will now include a wider window of culling, thus allowing some producers to qualify for new or additional payments.

Originally, under the $50 million program, culls of breeding swine between Nov. 1, 2007 and Nov. 30, 2008 had qualified for per-head payments to eligible hog producers.

However, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a release Wednesday, “some pork producers made tough business decisions to reduce their herds before this program started. We’re changing the program to make sure those producers get the support they deserve.”

Thus the initial date has now been changed to also include breeding swine culled between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31, 2007. Producers have until June 30, 2009 to make claims for breeding swine culled during that extended period.

The sow cull, first announced in February last year and delivered by the Canadian Pork Council, was intended to reduce the national breeding herd by up to 10 per cent, thus stimulating the market during a period of dismal returns for market hogs.

Eligible producers who cull breeding swine would get a per-head payment for each animal humanely slaughtered, as well as reimbursement for slaughter and disposal costs.

Producers who got cull funds then had to agree to empty at least one barn, and to not restock that barn for a three-year period.

As of Sept. 1, 2008, the original deadline for applications, the CPC reported 121,000 sows had been culled or were eligible to be culled under the program, short of the intended target of 150,000.

With funds remaining after that point, the CPC in September asked Ottawa for permission to accept applications for sows culled before Nov. 1, 2007.

“In some areas of Canada the industry had its difficulties so they started their cull early,” Gary Stordy, communications and government relations co-ordinator for the CPC, told Resource News International last September regarding the council’s request.

“This is an attempt to incorporate (early culls) into the program and frankly, there was some money that was unallocated,” he told RNI’s Alana Vannahme.

If the CPC received approval to expand the program, Stordy said at the time, the council would notify all producers who had already applied, as well as all other eligible individuals.

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