GFM Network News


File photo of piglets grazing in a U.K. pasture. (Grandbrothers/iStock/Getty Images)

Britain facing mass cull of pigs due to butcher shortage

Reading Time: 2 minutes London | Reuters — Britain’s farming industry has warned that hundreds of thousands of pigs may have to be culled within weeks unless the government issues visas to allow more butchers into the country. An acute shortage of butchers and slaughterers in the meat processing industry has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and Britain’s post-Brexit immigration […] Read more

On-farm slaughter licences diversify the food system, put more money in the pockets of producers, and have strong support from many consumers, says Blake Hall of Prairie Gold Pastured Meats (seen here) and Ian Griebel of Redtail Farms.

Demand for on-farm slaughter licences soars after rule change

Consumers, and the pandemic, have been key factors with more than 170 licences issued

Reading Time: 5 minutes Glacier FarmMedia – Demand for on-farm slaughter licences in Alberta has exploded since last summer when a rule change allowed consumers to buy individual animals and have them processed on the farm. “The day that the regulation changed, my phone just blew up, and it was largely our customers calling because they were so thrilled,” […] Read more


File photo of a small greenhouse operation in Quebec. (ManonAllard/E+/Getty Images)

New pilot program for agri-food labour welcomed

Meat processors, greenhouse and mushroom growers, livestock producers get first crack at program

Reading Time: 4 minutes Ottawa — Federal officials hope a new pilot program will help stabilize ongoing labour issues in certain sectors of the agri-food value chain, while also providing citizenship to some foreign workers. Critics, however, contend more support is needed. “This pilot will help to ensure that farmers and processors have the much-needed skills, experience and labour […] Read more

CME June 2020 lean hogs with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

U.S. livestock: Hogs pare gains as Trump plans order to keep meat plants open

Cattle up with wholesale beef prices

Reading Time: 2 minutes Chicago | Reuters — U.S. lean hog futures hit a four-week peak on Tuesday on worries about tightening pork supplies as the coronavirus shutters meat processing plants, but the market pared gains on news that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to order such sites to stay open. June lean hog futures on the Chicago Mercantile […] Read more


(Shadowinternet/E+/Getty Images)

Pork sector’s calls for aid heard, not yet answered

Federal government says it's examining "all options"

Reading Time: 2 minutes Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau’s office said late last week the government is working “around the clock” to respond to the pandemic’s impact on farmers and agri-food businesses. But there was no commitment to the direct support Canadian pork industry officials say is now necessary to carry the sector through a crisis which has led […] Read more

(LedbetterFoods.com)

JBS to buy U.S. meat processor Empire Packing

Reading Time: < 1 minute The U.S. arm of Brazilian meat packing giant JBS plans to expand its footprint in case-ready further processing with a deal for Memphis-based Empire Packing. Empire operates meat and poultry processing plants in its home town of Memphis as well as in Cincinatti, Denver, Olympia, Wash. and Mason, Ohio. It also makes the Ledbetter line […] Read more


File photo of a small greenhouse operation in Quebec. Greenhouse crop producers will be among the specific beneficiaries of a new federal pilot program for temporary foreign workers. (ManonAllard/E+/Getty Images)

Agriculture foreign workers get new path to residency

Reading Time: 3 minutes Updated, July 15 — The federal government has announced a pilot program that will make it easier for farms and food companies to maintain workers they recruit from around the world. Ahmed Hussen, minister for immigration, refugees and citizenship, announced the program Friday at Maple Leaf Foods in Mississauga. Why it matters: There’s a labour […] Read more

(Skilcor.com)

Premium Brands buys up Ontario meat processors

Reading Time: 2 minutes Specialty food firm Premium Brands’ plans to build a “protein platform” in Ontario now include a pair of processors offering bacon, burgers, ribs, steaks and chicken. The Vancouver company announced Thursday it has bought Skilcor Food Products of Brampton, just over a week after closing a deal for Leadbetter Foods of Orillia. Financial terms of […] Read more


Garreth (l), their mother Connie and Paul check orders for the diversifed retail Spenst Brothers business, where eight years has gone into developing a reputation for consistent quality.

Location, location

The Spenst family are farmers first, but with a farm that extends right to the store counter

Reading Time: 8 minutes When Garry Spenst and his sons, Paul and Garreth, heard that the Real Canadian Superstore was coming to Winkler, Man. they took the biggest gamble of their lives. The family paid $100,000 to buy the lot right next door. Soon, they were building their family-owned retail meat store, Spenst Brothers Premium Meats, a project that […] Read more

(Dave Bedard photo)

Cargill posts Q4 loss on one-time charges, revenue down

Reading Time: 2 minutes Reuters — Cargill Inc. on Thursday became the latest large agribusiness to report disappointing quarterly results as one-time charges and slowing economies in key emerging markets stung the privately held global commodities trader. Minnesota-based Cargill said it lost a net $51 million in the fiscal fourth quarter ended May 31, compared with a profit of […] Read more