GFM Network News


New pilot program for agri-food labour welcomed

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

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

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

Cattle up with wholesale beef prices

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


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

Federal government says it's examining "all options"

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

JBS to buy U.S. meat processor Empire Packing

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


Agriculture foreign workers get new path to residency

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

Premium Brands buys up Ontario meat processors

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



SAIT and Olds College upgrade meat program facilities

Dean expects the program to more than double in capacity

In the meat and livestock industry, efficiency leads to increased productivity, which often leads to increased profitability. All three are key factors behind the SAIT meat lab renovations and the Olds College meat-processing lab equipment upgrade. SAIT originally offered a 15-week meat-cutting program strictly focused on the retail meat industry. With the addition of the […] Read more


“The whole of the value chain, whether it be in the pork industry or the beef industry, is really quite concerned about this issue.”

Worker shortage handicapping ag sector

Plants have jobs but not enough Canadians interested in them

A chronic shortage of workers isn’t just a problem for meat packers, but all of agriculture, say experts. Mark Chambers sees the impact every day at Sunterra Farms, but also knows his experience is being mirrored across the country. “If we can’t get enough labour to produce the value-added products or to expand and grow, […] Read more

Small-town meat shop creating a name for itself

Innovative marketing and can-do attitude a recipe for success for the little meat shop that could

Sangudo Custom Meats is a small operation in a tiny town — but it’s the little meat shop that could. “We figure that if you’re not growing, you’re dying,” said Kevin Meier, who owns and operates the business with partner Jeff Senger. “If you do 10 different things and nine of them are failures, but […] Read more