The Manager of Maple Leaf Brandon says, in order for the company's Brandon pork processing plant to reach full double shift capacity it will need to access another 20 thousand hogs per week.
At full double shift capacity, the Maple Leaf pork plant in Brandon is capable of processing about 90 thousand hogs per week.
The role of the plant within the local economy was discussed yesterday as part of Keystone Agricultural Producers general council meeting in Brandon.
Maple Leaf Brandon Manager Morgan Curran-Blaney says, because of reduced volumes of hogs being produced, the plant is currently running about 20 thousand hogs per week below capacity.
Morgan Curran-Blaney-Maple Leaf Brandon:
While producers have seen a great year this year, previous years hadn't been so strong in terms of a financial return and what we found is producers got out of the business, they didn't expand and even two of the largest producers both declared bankruptcy, one of which we purchased and another which Olymel has purchased.
That was the real challenge in terms of volume is we just saw a lot of people, this was the straw that broke the camel's back and they got out of the industry.
We would want to see, within Brandon itself, we would want to see about an additional 20 thousand hogs a week to get us back up to 90 thousand hogs.
That's where we've targeted right now and we're working actively to get back up to that hog volume.
Who needs to play a part in that?
There's stakeholders everywhere.
There's obviously Maple Leaf, there's our producers that would want to expand and expand responsibly but there's also offshoots.
The city of Brandon has been very active and a certain advocate for us and I think it comes down to also provincially.
Having a strong economy helps the province as well.
Curran-Blaney says Manitoba's hog moratorium is one thing that is impeding the growth of hog production and another is uncertainty.
He says right now producers are having a good year but they're going to want to see a few good years before they'll go ahead and commit the capital to invest and expand.