The Swine Industry and Community Interactions

Brian Cotton, Livestock Specialist, Brandon, MB

As the hog processing industry increases in capacity in Manitoba, the hog production facilities are being developed to match the demand for the processing industry.

Manitoba has several programs and initiatives to help with this hog expansion and to help maintain sustainable production systems.

The Farm Practices Guidelines for Hog Producers in Manitoba were developed by a committee of industry stakeholders. The mandate is to develop draft guidelines for livestock operations that would form the basis of regulation and functioning of the Farm Practices Protection Board. They would also be used as a basis for redrafting livestock regulations under the Environment Act and in the planning process at the municipal level.

The new Livestock Manure and Mortalities Regulation M.F. 42/98 under the Environment Act has made some of the previous guidelines enforceable and producers need to be aware of the changes.

Manitoba Pork est. and the companies promoting much of the expansion in the hog industry are working hard to promote sustainable development within the industry. Individual producers need to take a more active role in talking to their local RM Councils and rural residents about the hog industry and how it can develop.

Local Councils in some areas of the province are less familiar with the hog industry. Many local residents are also unfamiliar with modern hog production practices from well managed barns and modern manure handling systems. This has lead to some local Councils putting very restrictive by-laws in place that would restrict any hog expansion in those areas.

Existing hog operations need to be aware that they are being looked at; their performance may be the basis of residents accepting future expansion in the area.

With the prospect of many jobs in primary hog production, the packing industry and the supporting services, let's work together to expand production in an environmentally and sustainable way.