Farmscape for June 11, 2012
The National Pork Producers Council warns consumers can expect to pay more for pork as a result of plans announced by several food service companies and retailers to phase out the purchase of pork from suppliers who use gestation stalls.
In response to announcements by several food service companies and retailers that they plan to move to gestation stall free suppliers of pork, the National Pork Producers Council commissioned the University of Missouri to survey the top 100 U.S. pork operations with over one thousand sows to determine the percentage of sows currently housed in open housing.
The survey, released last week at Work Pork Expo in Des Moines shows only about 17 percent of sows in the U.S. are currently housed in open pen gestation.
NPPC vice president of industry relations Dallas Hockman notes consumers today are first and foremost concerned about being able to put food on the table for their families.
Clip-National Pork Producers Council-Dallas Hockman:
These decisions are going to ultimately result in higher prices, not unlike what we saw in England.
There these same almost exact challenges were put into place and implemented and we saw a significant reduction in the number of pork producers, the amount of pork produced, pork prices increased and as a net result more products were imported.
So we think it should be the consumers choice.
If they want to purchase this type of product it should be offered and as a result they can pay for it but this is about keep your values off my plate.
Don't force me to make that decision and the same applies at a consumer all the way down to our producers.
We think both systems are viable and operative and if the market place desires and wants it they should produce it and if the consumer wants that, like most everything else that's there whether it's organic or what ever, that's a great option and it should be provided but don't force these decisions on the total population that ultimately results in us potentially having consumers eat less pork because of the price.
Hockman says the pork industry has demonstrated over the years a willingness to meet demand for products but, to this point, there have been no discussions as to the willingness of these customers to pay for these changes.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council