Bringing home the bacon: Metchosin farmer plans ahead

West Shore residents won't be short-changed despite predicted pork shortage

Charla Huber/News staff Metchosin farmer Tom Henry bought 40 tonnes of oats from a Saanich farmer to feed his hogs. He is sharing the oats with another farmer to help get them through the rising grain prices.

Charla Huber/News staff Metchosin farmer Tom Henry bought 40 tonnes of oats from a Saanich farmer to feed his hogs. He is sharing the oats with another farmer to help get them through the rising grain prices.

Sizzling, salty, delicious bacon isn’t going anywhere.

Media stories are whirling about a global bacon shortage, and pork in general. But for Metchosin hog farmer Tom Henry it’s business as usual.

The anticipated pork shortage stems from a drought affecting grain production in the U.S. With a lack of grains, animal feed prices are on the rise. Hog farmers across Canada, the United States and Europe (the three largest pork producers) are selling their animals because it’s getting too expensive to raise them.

“Shortage isn’t the right word, there’s still going to be lots of pork, it’ll just be more expensive,” Henry explains.

Even though the meat prices are anticipated to rise, Henry suggests the price of pork will first go down, before the price hikes.

“It’s all about supply and demand, farmers will be selling off a lot of their stock and prices will go down. Farmers with 200,000 hogs will start to sell off half the herd and there will be a glut of pork on the market,” Henry said. “The farmers that hang in there (and keep their herds) can do well when the price goes back up.”

Gary Stody, of the Canadian Pork Council, has been sitting next to a steadily ringing phone about this expected pork shortage.

“I’ve learned you don’t want to get in front of people’s bacon,” Stody said.

With the grain prices rising Stody explained hog farmers are facing an increase of $30 per hog for feed.

Canada is in a better place than the U.S. and Europe, Stody said, explaining Canada is “self-sustainable” in the pork industry.

The CPC anticipates the price of pork rising in about five or six months.

While drought has played a major role in the recent grain price increases, Royal Roads University associate professor Charles Krusekopf says there are more factors at play.

“Turning corn into fuel has taken a portion of the crop to be turned into fuel products instead of food products,” Krusekopf said, explaining the grains are sold for more money as fuel than food, increasing its worth.

While grain prices are expected to continue rising, Krusekopf said hog farmers with contracts in place guaranteeing grains at a fixed rate will be able to produce the meat without experiencing the same financial strains.

To combat the anticipated rise in feed prices, Henry partnered with fellow farmer John Buchanan and purchased a field of oats from a Saanich farmer. The two brought in a combine and harvested the grains to feed their animals. They reaped 40 tonnes of oats, currently drying in a Metchosin barn.

“I knew grain prices were going up and I want something sustainable,” Henry said. “This brings home how vulnerable we are to the weather changes. We had no drought and excellent crops this year, but we’ll all be paying more for food.”

Purchasing local grains is saving both farmers money on feed for their animals, but also may help with selling the product. Local meat fed local grains can be a great marketing point, Henry said.

 

When it comes to bacon, he said, the cut of meat makes up about nine per cent of the animals. A 200 pound hog will produce about 18 pounds of Metchosin bacon.

 

 

Just Posted

The City of Victoria is proposing a northern contraction from Haultain Street to Bay Street with a western contraction from Cook Street to Chambers Street for Fernwood. (Illustration/Google Maps)
Community association calls for input on Victoria boundary changes

City of Victoria proposes changes to neighbourhood borders

After seizing a handgun from his home on Tuesday, Victoria police arrested a wanted man on Wednesday after he fled officers on his bike. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man wanted on several warrants flees Victoria officers on bike

He was arrested after a brief struggle, transported to hospital with injuries

Divyesh Nagarajan, third from the left, has founded the Be My Friend project to bring support and companionship to vulnerable youth and address North Saanich’s food security challenges. (Courtesy of Divyesh Nagarajan)
Greater Victoria teen looks to connect vulnerable youth with a buddy, bolster food security

Be My Friend project was founded by St. Michaels University School student Divyesh Nagarajan

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

(Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATE: Sooke Road reopens after gas leak at Colwood Corners

SD62 warns afternoon buses could be delayed

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu on May 8. (Black Press Media file photo)
Indigenous woman shot by police was holding a replica gun, says Ucluelet First Nation

Woman has been identified as a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

Most Read