One of the lessons coming out of the pandemic for the livestock sector is the importance of processing.

Mark Ferguson is General Manager of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board says for the hog industry
which runs on just in time delivery it's a key cog in the supply chain.

"In April, many U-S processing plants were forced to temporarily shut down due to the pandemic and COVID cases among their workers. This resulted in a big glut of hogs in the market, and animals that simply couldn't be processed. This really depressed prices and along with the shift in where North American demand was affected because just so many restaurants were closed."

Ferguson says since March COVID-19 has certainly affected and shaped the industry, but he's proud of how farms and processors have handled the situation.

He says despite COVID-19, 2020 wasn't all negative.

Ferguson says they were pleased to hear the Federal Governments announcement of a new promotion research agency for the hog industry.

"How it basically is going to work there will be a levy on any imported pork, pork products and hogs that come into the country. The U-S already does this when we send animals or pork down there, they deduct a levy and use it towards their industries research and promotion agencies. So we're setting up a reciprocal agency."

Ferguson says it's something the industry has been working on for years adding they hope to have it set up in the summer, so they can begin collecting the new levy, which should generate about $2 million a year for funding new research.

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