By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Ontario hog farmers who were not paid by the Toronto-based Quality Meat Packing Ltd., when it went bankrupt last month will get some assistance from Ontario Pork’s Marketing Division.
“What we are doing is taking our own funds to help farmers that ship through us,” Patrick O’Neil, manager with Ontario Pork's marketing division said in an interview. He added that the division will be able to cover more than 50 percent of the value of every animal that had been shipped from March 31 to April 3, 2014.
A judge declared the company bankrupt, effective May 6. The 83-year-old business, which ceased its operations owes about $70 million to creditors, which includes approximately 70 Ontario pig farms. The company used to slaughter 23,000 pigs a week.
“We are doing as much as we can to help out the producers who haven’t got paid yet for the animals that they shipped into Quality,” he said.
The marketing division says it will use the funds from its accumulated surplus to compensate hog farmers who never received payment for their pigs. According to O’Neil, the division’s marketing share represents about 20 to 25 per cent of the pigs that were sold to Quality. Farmers can expect a cheque soon. “We are calculating and making payments next week,” he said.
Since 2010, the provinces’ pork producers can voluntarily sell their hogs through Ontario Pork’s marketing division. Previous to that, the organization served as a mandatory single-desk for marketing hogs. Only farmers who go through the division will be eligible for the partial reimbursement.
Ontario Pork says it is participating in the bankruptcy process with Quality Meat Packers and the Receiver. “Obviously we are going to continue and participate in that process to try and collect whatever [money] we can.”
A creditors meeting for the packing plant is scheduled for later this month, May 26, at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto.