2010 Year End Progress Report

Hog Industry Development Trust Fund
2010 Year End Progress Report

  • Environmental Projects:

Project Title: Dead Animal Disposal

Proponents: West Coast Reduction / BC Pork Producers Association

Purpose: To develop and implement an effective waste disposal system for dead animals.

Background: For all livestock industries, disposal of dead animals can be challenging due to the volume of organic material. Simple solutions such as on-farm burial are not environmentally friendly while high tech methods tend to be effective but costly. For the BC Pork industry, historical records show that, on average, mortalities total 120,000 lbs per month.

Prior to this program the commonly used on-farm disposal was burial. There are environmental and animal health issues associated with burial and producers are anxious to utilize alternatives. Fortunately, there is a rendering plant in BC where dead animals can be processed into commercial products. Rendering is an effective although expensive solution at this time.

Anticipated outcome:
An effective, environmentally sound, dead-animal disposal system.

Results:

The project functioned consistently with the Work Plan and effectively throughout 2010 as West Coast Reductions (WCR) recycled 1.2 million pounds of morts from 24 farms. WCR provided bins for dead animal deposition and weekly farm pick ups.

The project resulted in the absence of on-farm dead animal environmental incidents.
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Project Title: Dead Animal Disposal Alternatives

Purpose : Encourage development of practical, economically feasible, on farm disposal of dead animals.

Proponents: Individual Producers and the BC Pork Producers Association

Background: The “Alternatives” study completed in the 2009 HIDF Work Plan, identified possible alternatives to rendering for dead animal disposal. Foremost among these was incineration and composting. Producers may also be able to develop disposal proposals incorporating those or other practical solutions.

The HIDF Advisory Committee determined that the best way to move forward with alternatives is to offer a program with financial incentives and invite producers to submit proposals. The component of the 2010 Work Plan achieves that objective.

Anticipated outcome:
Practical proposals from individual producers suggesting alternatives for dead animal disposal.

Results:
The program was advertised in January, February and April to registered producers but no applications were received. As the industry has endured years of low prices and high costs, producers appeared unable or unwilling to expend new capital during the year.

To increase the likelihood of success for the program and to reach out for new environmentally sound alternatives, BC Pork is contacting the Ministry of Environment inviting them to assist with ideas or systems that could be used to dispose of dead animals.

Project Title : ”Sharps” Disposal

Purpose : Provide for safe disposal system for of needles and related materials used by pork producers.

Proponents : BC Pork Producers Association

Background: Producers must medicate animals to prevent and cure sicknesses. Methods involve needles (“sharps”) and disposal can create potential hazards, environmental concerns and disease issues. A commercial company exists that will provide disposal containers and a pick up service. Greenbelt Veterinary Services offers to provide a central collection point where producers can deliver used containers and pick up replacements.

This program would be a one year pilot and if successful would be fully funded by producers going forward. During this project, the Association will fund the industry portion of the costs.

Anticipated outcome:
An effective program used by the majority of producers, to dispose of “sharps”.

Results:
The early part of the year was taken up advising producers of the need to dispose of “sharps” in a safe and expeditious manner and in advising of the details of the program. Six producers are now enrolled in the program with a doubling expected in the next few months.

Greenbelt Veterinary Services have successfully provided the services as projected at no handling costs.

  • Market Development Projects:

Project Title : Canadian Quality Assurance (CQA)

Purpose : To upgrade and maintain food safety standards on BC
pork farms to the level of “CQA” designation.

Proponents : Greenbelt Veterinary Services Ltd / BC Pork Producers Association

Background : CQA is an on-farm program that guides producers to implement and utilize proven food safety procedures. CQA is a complete system, involving all aspects of production and requires producers to maintain audit-able records. The system is based on the seven basic principles of the internationally-recognized HACCP (Hazard Prevention Critical Control Point) model and is officially recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Producers must be certified annually by an accredited independent auditor. Full accreditation is required every 3rd year and partial accreditation renewal must be achieved in each interim year. Dr Chris Byra of Greenbelt Veterinary Services has been accredited by the Canadian Pork Council as a CQA inspector.

Britco and Johnstons will only receive pigs from farms having the CQA designation.

Anticipated outcome:
Increased marketing options for producers, a higher level of acceptance of BC pork by consumers and the absence of public food safety incidents relating to BC pork.

Results:
The project functioned consistently with the Work Plan and effectively throughout 2010 as Greenbelt Veterinary Service completed 13 interim partial accreditations and 7 full accreditations.

In 2010 the program was expanded to include Animal Care Certification. This component is consistent with BC Pork’s Production Protocol Enhancement Plan (PPEP) to differentiate BC Pork as a specialty product in the market place. To be certified producers must meet the minimum space requirements for each animal and must attend approved courses on animal care and transport.

The Canadian Pork Council supported the program throughout the year and instituted several minor program improvements.

There were no food safety incidents involving BC pork in 2010.

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Project : BC Pork Industry Promotion

Purpose : To develop public awareness of the BC pork industry and
its speciality products.

Proponent: BC Pork Producers Association

Background: The BC pork industry has begun an exciting transition to specialty, higher-value production. An integral component of the success will be public awareness of, and appreciation for, the differentiated BC produced, pork products. As direct paid advertising is too expensive at this stage, public awareness will be gained through media releases, contacts, and by exploiting events and special opportunities.

This project engaged a contractor on August 1 to promote public awareness of the specialty initiatives being undertaken by the BC pork industry.

Anticipated outcome:
Promotion of new speciality products
through media coverage, of the transition occurring in the BC pork industry.

Results:
BC Pork is now an associate member of the BC Chefs Association. This membership will open up contact with all of the Chefs in BC and enable us to participate at Chefs and Jr Chefs events throughout the year. Have started discussions with the President of the BC Chefs Association on future projects and how BC pork can be highlighted.

BC Pork supplied 420 lbs or pork loins to 14 high school teaching kitchens in the Lower Mainland in November. We also provided pork cut charts, recipes and nutrition information. Although other BC products have participated in this program, it would seem that BC pork stood out as it is not a protein many schools work with and in fact many students do not consume pork and this was their first introduction to it. We also had additional requests from the high schools in Vancouver for more information on pork as they were so impressed.

BC Pork was in the provincial, national and international spotlight on Sunday, February 14 at the Canadian Food & Wine Affair held at “BC House” at the Vancouver Art Gallery. ‘Secret’ creations were made from BC pork by the renowned Vancouver Chef John Bishop.

BC Pork sponsored two cooking stages at the second annual Agriculture in the City event at the Metropolis at Metrotown, organized by AAFC. BC Pork also participated in the “Day in a Life” feature, communicating to the public on what it takes to raise pigs in BC.

BC Pork sponsored the BC Chefs Association Jr. Chapter in their annual Hot Competition. A new category for competition was added this year and BC pork was featured in their ‘Roasted’ category.

BC Pork sponsored the Cooking Stage at the 18th Annual Wellness Show in Vancouver. Quattro’s Antonio Corsi has a new cookbook, Mangia with Quattro, family style Italian from the heart that they promoted at the Wellness Show. The Corsi’s were thrilled to work with BC Pork at the Wellness Show. The father and son team have three restaurants, Quattro on Fourth, Gusto di Quattro in North Vancouver and Quattro in Whistler. It is a real coup to have had such a high caliber name associated with BC Pork. The emcee for the cooking stage was CTV’s Kate Gajdosik and the following piece was used by her to in speaking about BC Pork, the organization and our farmers.

In BC, pigs are carefully raised by thirty-one family farms.
This industry is not a big one, producing only about 10% of the pork consumed by British Columbians, but it is significant and different from those in other regions. Small family farms carefully raise pigs to high standards for specialty markets in BC, whether for local butchers, independent grocers or your favourite restaurants.

As a consumer, asking for BC Pork products ensures that you are taking home to your family pork of high quality that is fresh, versatile and delicious!

BC Pork…high quality, specialty pork products, proudly grown close to home.

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Project : Website

Purpose : To provide an information source for BC pork producers, including environmental program descriptions and forms and to provide an opportunity to showcase and promote the BC pork industry to the public.

Proponent : BC Pork Producers Association

Background: The BC Pork website was created in 2007 but has not been updated and does not include information on current programs. It does not currently include consumer information and promotional materials. Given the changes occurring in the BC industry and given the need to inform consumers of the differentiated product being developed locally, a new website offers a cost effective vehicle.

Anticipated outcome:
A published new website including current Association and Commission information and a consumer section. Increased public traffic to new website.

Results:
Website completed and published and includes Producer and Consumer sections. Producer section is divided into an Association component and a Commission component. Consumer section includes links to profiles of BC producers, how pigs are raised, how to identify BC pork, and where it is marketed.

Project : Market Development – Niche Markets – Verard Farms

Purpose : To promote BC pork and the BC pork industry locally in Chilliwack and Agassiz and to market local pork production directly from farmer to consumer in farmers markets in those locations.

Proponent : BC Pork Producers Association & Verard Farms

Background: Verard Farms Ltd. is a farrow to finish hog farm located in East Chilliwack. Ard and Verna Hoogeveen have been operating this family farm for 13 years. They have 295 sows and send 6500 round and market hogs to market every year. Verard Farms ships most of their hogs to Johnston Packers in Chilliwack.

Last year Ard & Verna began attending the Chilliwack Farmers Market to test sell some of their pork products direct to the consumer. Johnston’s is custom slaughtering, cutting & wrapping the products that Verard Farms is selling to the public. Initial response at the farmers market has been positive. Verard now intends to build on the initial response by developing promotional materials including brochures, signage, labelling and a website.

Anticipated outcome: Increased exposure and profile in Chilliwack and Agassiz for BC pork and the BC Pork industry and sales of identifiable local production in those two locations.

Results:
After just a few months, Verard Farms has noticed an increase in interest in their locally grown BC pork products as well as increased sales. With the launch of the new BC pork logo, Verard will now incorporate that logo with their products and on signage in order to further promote BC pork.

Attending the farmers markets in Agassiz and Chilliwack have helped to make the public more aware of hog farming and hog farmers in BC and has developed more interest in BC pork products. The Agassiz Farmers Market actually exceeded all expectations, direct from the farm sales have also increased. In order to continue to build farm sales outside of the farmers markets Verard Farms started a draw and collected email addresses in order to be able to send out email notices about products and continue the relationship with their customers. Verard is going to develop seasonal specials to advertise to their email contact list and drive people to their farm as well as to continue to raise awareness on locally grown BC pork products.
In addition to the outlined products Verard Farms now has a display of their products at a local dairy cheese shop and will start some product sampling.

To reach out to the local community and educate the public on family farming in the Chilliwack region will benefit Verard Farms and all local pork producers by bringing awareness to hog farming in the region. This further promotion of BC pork products will bring awareness of the quality pork available in BC.

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Project : Market Development – Specialty Markets – Tannadice Farms

Purpose : To promote BC pork and the BC pork industry on Vancouver Island and to market local pork production in specialty, restaurants, and local retail outlets.

Proponent: BC Pork Producers Association & Tannadice Farms

Background: Tannadice Farms is a 105-acre farm located in the Dove Creek area of the Comox Valley. It has been family owned and operated by the McWilliams family since 1974.

Tannadice Farms has established a method of farming that is ethical, sustainable and healthful. They take great care of their animals because they believe that the way food is produced has a profound effect on its nutritional value. Healthy animals produce healthy meat. They do not use growth hormones or animal by-products, and they only use antibiotics when necessary to prevent a sick animal from suffering. Tannadice pigs live in naturally lit, well-ventilated barns and always have access to clean bedding, clean water and a minimal stress environment.

Tannadice Farms intends to market its production in specialty, restaurants, and local retail outlets on Vancouver Island focussing on how their pork products are different from ‘commodity’ pork.

Anticipated outcome: Increased exposure and profile on Vancouver Island for BC Pork and the BC Pork industry and sales of identifiable local production on the island.

Year 1 Budget (to Dec 31 2010)

Results:

The results for Year 1 were very gratifying, in fact, we exceeded our targets for 2010. By promoting BC Pork and the BC Pork industry, we have found that our customers and consumers on Vancouver Island are very interested to find out more about locally raised products and to support them.

We are now offering a full complement of BC pork products, including: 2 types of breakfast sausage, 6 types of dinner sausage, smoked sausage, black forest ham, bone-in and boneless ham, old fashioned hams, bacon, ground pork, pork roasts and more. While we have been able to develop enough of a product offering to make our customers happy we realize that we need to develop a larger market for trim products such as the sausage and will work on this in 2011.

We can report that for 2011 we have already established a market for 50% more BC pork products. The support of the Program is very much appreciated in our goal to tell the story of BC pork is only beginning.