In or out? Hog transition program needs to know

Hog producers who applied to a federally-funded exit program to pare Canada’s hog herd, but whose bids didn’t yet make the cut, are asked to let program administrators know “as soon as possible” if they’re still ready to halt production.

The Canadian Pork Council, which runs the federal Hog Farm Transition Program (HFTP) on the government’s behalf, said in a recent release that it’s still distributing the last six per cent or so from the program’s $75 million budget.

Over the course of four separate HFTP tenders since the program got underway in late 2009, eligible farmers submitted bids on what they’d need to idle an agreed amount of production for 36 months.

Any “residual funds,” along with any funds that had been allocated to producers who’ve since decided not to get out of hog farming after all, is now being used to honour bids next in line from the results of the fourth tender to the program.

By the end of the fourth tender, which paid out about $14.2 million to 93 farmers when it was confirmed in March, a total of $70,520,980 had been committed to a total of 420 participating farmers.

Since then, the pork council said in a July 21 release, residual funds have been offered to 50 producers next in line, resulting in a new high of $985.53 per animal unit equivalent.

As producers become eligible to receive these funds, the pork council informs them of their successful bids and that they are now eligible to receive HFTP payments.

But that letter also requires confirmation of participation, by a deadline based on the date producers were notified of their eligibility.

Producers are asked to contact the administrator “as soon as possible” to confirm whether or not they plan to halt production as they’d originally proposed and to accept their payments.

This process will be repeated for other farmers until all remaining HFTP funds have been “fully committed,” the council said.

All barns pledged to the HFTP must be completely empty by March 31, 2011 to comply with program terms and conditions, the council said.

The program will maintain its monitoring and audit functions to ensure compliance with the program for three years from the time the last barn is empty, the council noted.

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