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A story on the front page of the Regional Country News today about puts it over the top with regard to burdensome regs. on slaughter and meat processing plants. The ridiculous standards imposed on this highly important segment of the farm business infrastructure are beyond bizarre.

When these small facilities are gone, they usually do not come back. Without them, small enterprises like mine might as well shut the door because in the recent years our only positive cash flow comes from our direct-to-consumer marketing side, small as it is.

After reading the story, I am working on forming a small group of like-minded people who would be able to carry an "impactful" and articulate message to the people in charge of the inspection bureaucracy.

This group would ideally include beef/pork producers who understand the value and importance of the local butcher shop, some from the "buy local" movement, etc. Small enough to be agile and fast, and big enough to offer full representation.

Do you have any suggestions?

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Count me in for your group. I sell pork/beef and chicken to local people and have worked hard to get my clients. This is overkill and we need to stand up to the rule makers who have no common sense. I have been following the story in the Stratford Beacon-Herald and I believe that the comments about safety of product in small butcher is simply untrue. We would not be returning to these places of business if that where the case. If our government is supporting the buy local and the 100 mile diet this sure defeats the ability of the consumer to do so.
Hi John:

It looks like the smaller processors are being driven out of business by the food safety bureaucracy....

Because the small percentage of the meat trade going through small processors...I would bet it is not important to the government to try and put policies or programs in place to protect these small mostly rural businesses and their farmer suppliers....

They spend lots bailing out the auto business....I think they should be supporting these rural, canadian, companies...

From the article linked above, it appears that there is already some action starting on this issue. Perhaps any further energy might be best directed through an organization that already has spoken on the matter.

But I'm open to putting another shoulder to the wheel.
Hi John:

Sorry to hear about all the hardships that you have gone through. For many years I think almost anyone that has had to deal with government over an issue that impacts there business has been left in bewilderment. The government has not been proactive in trying to help but rather has created jobs "red tape" by spreading fear that the food we eat is somehow now unsafe and dangerous without their complete involvement.

Now that our balance sheets have been basically beaten down to zero and the only people profiting off our businesses are the regulators, its definately time for all of agriculture to stand up together and beat this rediculous way of thinking down. Its very hard to have respect for a system that keeps adding more and more unnessary costs without regard for the primary producer. For me it makes it very clear that polititions are all about control and their own destinys and definately are not worth what they get paid.

I apologize for rambling here but I am passionate about the injustices that keep accuring at many levels of government.
I read the Stratford article....the NFU was helping on this.

Do the other farm organizations have a position supporting locally owned and operated meat processing?

I thought I saw an article a few days ago that the Federal govt had a slaughter investment fund that they loaned money to local meat processros for new equipment etc.

In this time of the high Cdn dollar, we need to figure out how to hold our domestic markets...local would make sense to me.
Hi John.

Not sure where you're located but Slow Food Perth County is very concerned about this issue and interested in supporting this cause as we have local abattoirs and farmers whose businesses are at risk - and consumers who stand to lose their local option where meat is concerned.

I invite you to join us for Slow Drinks, a casual conversation amongst those interested in discussing Good, Clean, Fair food. This month's gathering is taking place at Down The Street Restaurant and Bar, 30 Ontario Street, Stratford on April 15th from 8pm - ?

Please visit our site for more details. http://www.slowfoodperthcounty.ca/events.html

Thanks John.

Thank you for the invitation. I would enjoy being there and will plan accordingly. Just so happens that I have to cook for myself anyway that evening!

I am in northern Huron County..

Some good news - Feds investing in local meat processing.


MITCHELL, Ontario - Canada's Economic Action Plan is delivering real results for hog farmers and the meat processing sector in Ontario. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Member of Parliament Gary Schellenberger (Perth-Wellington) announced an investment of nearly $4.5 million to help Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada Inc. improve and expand its facility allowing the company to pursue new niche markets.

"Canadian farmers have a great product to sell and there is growing demand for it worldwide," said Minister Ritz. "That is why our Government continues to make key investments to drive innovation that will grow new opportunities for our producers and packers."

This funding will be used by Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada Inc. to improve plant capabilities to produce high quality value added products using modern and efficient equipment and technology such as the leading traceability systems for improved food safety. These improvements will position Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada Inc. to increase sales of its high quality Canadian pork products and be competitive in the marketplace. This will create more jobs in the Mitchell area and keep hog processing in Southern Ontario.

"By providing resources to allow Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada Inc. to fill niche demands, the farmers of Perth-Wellington and surrounding region will benefit from expanded markets," said MP Schellenberger. "Investing in a stronger meat packing and processing sector in Canada benefits the entire value chain."

"We commend the Government of Canada for recognizing the importance of improving processing capabilities in Canada through the Slaughter Improvement Program," said David Schwartz, President of Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada Inc. "Improving and expanding the production capabilities at Great Lakes Specialty Meats will help us supply the increasing demand for value added pork products - domestically and internationally - and will ultimately mean more jobs for people in the Mitchell area."

The Government of Canada's $50-million Slaughter Improvement Program, as part of Canada's Economic Action plan, makes federal loans available to support sound business plans aimed at reducing costs, increasing revenues and improving operations of red meat packing and processing operations in Canada. The 2010 Budget provided an additional $10 million for the program.

With more than $20 billion in sales, the red meat industry is Canada's single largest employer in the food industry.

Funding is subject to the project meeting all eligibility requirments and the signing of a contribution agreement.
I would like to learn more about Great Lakes Specialty Meats. Who does this funding benefit (other than GLSM directly)? Small farmers selling locally? Large-scale commodity farmers? Both? Please advise.
Thank you.
Laurie, I think the probable response would refer to the "trickle down effect" as has been alluded to in the article. Jobs, (oh, good, now a hog farmer can go work at the slaughter plant in order to further subsidize the production of his/her own hogs) better market opportunities for the pork producers . . .

It seems that any ag-related funds form government are directed at the processing or agribusiness sectors which are, in most cases, really not directly involved in food production.

The intent is, I think, to strengthen farmer's bottom lines through improved market opportunities.

We can all see how effective that approach is.

The "trickle down" is pretty skimpy by the time it gets to the farmer/producer. More of a dust-up, really.

Call me skeptical, but in the end I would be surprised to learn that the processor will pay out one dollar more for the hogs that go through that plant.
Hi Laurie:

I believe this operation is part of Quality Meats and markets under the Legacy Pork brand


Talk to you later,

Sent Gary Schellenberger email this morning (cc'd Legacy Pork) re: this press release and the $4.5M in funding.


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