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APRIL 2018 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC


Pig Trace identifies over 900 BC hog producers BC’s commercial pork producers proactive on hog welfare, production practices


by DAVID SCHMIDT


ABBOTSFORD – BC is down to just 15 registered commercial-scale pork producers but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people raising hogs in the province. “We think there are 912


pork producers in BC,” Canadian Pork Council executive director John Ross told the combined annual meeting of the BC Hog Marketing Commission and BC Pork Producers Association in Abbotsford, March 15. “This is people who have a


premises ID with Pig Trace and have reported at least one hog movement in the past three years,” Ross explained. Pig Trace is one component of the new Canadian Pork Excellence (CPE) program, the other two being Pig Safe (food safety) and Pig Care (animal care). The CPC is planning a soft launch of CPE in August followed by an official launch next January. Anyone who moves pigs in Canada must be registered with Pig Trace but only registered producers will have to adhere to the entire CPE program. To become a registered producer, a farm must sell more than 300 hogs per year. Ross says the CPC is now printing the CPE manuals after piloting the program on 73 farms in seven provinces


last fall. Three BC farms, each with a different production system, participated in the pilot. Ross notes the CPE program builds on the Canadian Quality Assurance program (now renamed Pig Safe) which has been in effect for several years. “We expanded and updated the program to keep up with our competitors in the US,” Ross explained, noting the program will use validators but not third-party auditors. Given the size of the


commercial hog sector, BC only has one dedicated swine veterinarian: Josh Waddington of Greenbelt Veterinary Services in Chilliwack. Waddington will therefore act as the CPE validator in this province. When acting as the validator, he may not advise producers but he is available to advise them at other times. That’s because BC Pork has also contracted him to deliver the On-Farm Swine Health and Welfare Program. Started by Dr. Chris Byra in


2015 before he retired, the on-farm program provides twice-a-year on-farm visits to registered producers. During those visits, Waddington will review the farm’s production and health parameters, advise on leading production and welfare practices and help the farm comply with the code of practice for the care and handling of pigs.


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Waddington also conducts semi-annual slaughter checks at three abattoirs, using the data he collects to provide benchmarking reports for the entire industry and individualized reports for each producer. Waddington also contributes BC disease data to the national Swine Health Surveillance Program which Byra has been running for the past several years. “It’s a valuable tool and I will continue to contribute to it,” Waddington told producers. The on-farm program is funded by the BCHMC market development fund, so any registered producer can access it at no charge. Thankfully, says BCPPA


president Jack DeWit, Waddington did not have to report any PED outbreaks in BC last year even though the devastating disease was rampant throughout the


“We have been visiting


with processors and looking for some projects we can do as a complete value chain involving producers, processors and retailers,” van Dalfsen said.


He also announced that BCPPA PRESIDENT JACK DEWIT


Prairie provinces. DeWit and BCHMC chair


Bert van Dalfsen said the BCHMC and BCPPA have started working on a marketing project in hopes of improving producer returns.


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Mike Wallis has stepped down as manager of BC Pork and is being replaced by Christine Koch. Although the change was to take effect April 1, it actually occurred in mid- March as a health emergency forced Wallis to leave earlier than expected. Since Koch already manages the Mainland Milk Producers, Mainland Young Milk Producers, BC Poultry Association and BC Young Farmers, the former BC Ministry of Agriculture floriculture specialist can now rightly be considered the czar of animal agriculture in the Fraser Valley.


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