According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa’s imports of feeder pigs in 2013 were pegged at about 27.5 million head. Finishing swine here makes sense, given the proximity to feed grains that make up finishing rations.
But imports of feeder pigs from Canada are on a downhill trajectory, and have been since 2009. Canadian producers say that’s due to country of origin labeling, which incurs additional costs on packer to track foreign livestock through the production chain.
Speaking from the Iowa Pork Expo in downtown Des Moines, Harold Hommes with IDALS says, “Some of those packers have just made the decision that they’re simply not going to take Canadian hogs anymore.”
He says packers are implementing COOL, and that’s one reason Canadian imports are falling, “Now unfortunately for them, the only marketplace is domestic.”