Farmscape for December 23, 2020
The General Manager of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board is calling on governments to ensure meat processing plant workers are among the first to be given access to vaccines to prevent COVID-19.
Disruptions in pork processing resulting from processing plant closures, primarily in the U.S. when workers became infected by COVID-19, have negatively impacted North American live hog prices.
Mark Ferguson, the General Manager of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, applauds the actions taken by western Canada's processors to remain open.
Clip-Mark Ferguson-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
Processors early on established some very successful protocols to keep disease from entering and spreading in their facilities and so the disruptions that occurred in the U.S. really didn't repeat itself in western Canada yet and, although there have been a few isolated outbreaks, it's not been something that's shut down our industry.
Things like split shifts and staggered break times, masking, barriers between workers and social distancing at all times are some of the measures that were taken in these plants and these same prevention strategies were also implemented on farms to prevent the spread within barns.
We would like to see our processing facilities given a priority on vaccines.
We know that a disruption in processing has a huge impact on the entire economy so we would like to see vaccines provided to processing workers as soon as possible.
When you look at western Canada, we've been very successful at keeping COVID-19 limited in our barns and in our processing facilities and it's been a real success story.
Ferguson believes we're still a ways away from the end of this pandemic so making sure the pork sector is viewed as an essential business and can continue operating throughout the pandemic is a priority.
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