Farmers whacked with high feed, low pork prices

The few hog farmers left on P.E.I. have been hit by another crisis this month.

Early this year hog markets were looking up for farmers, but the drought across much of North America has sent feed prices soaring. Consequently, hog prices are plummeting as producers sell off animals they can no longer afford to feed.

Farmers were expecting to pay about $200 a tonne for corn. Corn prices are now topping $300 a tonne. The price for pork has dropped from the expected $1.80 to $1.25 a kilogram. P.E.I. farmer Scott Dingwell is trying to figure out a way to keep his farm afloat.

"It's devastating," said Dingwell.

"My farm's not unique from any other farm. We are struggling to stay current but we've been besieged by a series of one-off events that have just left this industry with basically no cushion to support these losses."

Dingwell said the National Hog Association is negotiating with the federal government in the hopes that the agri-recovery program or the advanced payment program might help farmers get through this difficult time. Farmers are also in conversation with the province.

It has been a very bad decade for hog farmers on the Island. In 2002 there were about 400 hog farmers on P.E.I., and only about a dozen remain in the business.

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