DuBreton continues his efforts – Beauce Media

AGRICULTURE. The duBreton company is continuing its steps, launched a few weeks ago, in connection with its request for exclusion from the Joint Plan for the collective marketing of Quebec pigs. A petition launched a few weeks ago has received the support of more than 2,600 people to date.

This withdrawal from the joint plan which establishes the sale of pork in Quebec, the company has wanted since the last negotiation of the purchase of pigs in Quebec between the Éleveurs de porcs du Québec and the buyers, explains Vincent Breton, president and director general of the company which has factories in Saint-Bernard and Saint-Charles, in particular. Remember that according to the principle of collective marketing, a producer cannot market his products himself, unless a sale is made on the farm. He must sell his products to his union (in this case the Éleveurs de porcs du Québec) which negotiates with the processors.

“In this negotiation, they wanted us to sign an agreement intended for convenience pork and not for niche products. It had always been maintained that we were all experiencing the crisis due to different factors, including interest rates, inflation, labor, waiting for permits for foreign workers and others, like all processors. However, we no longer make convenience or usual pork, but organic and certified animal welfare. »

Briefly, Vincent Breton indicates that he wishes to stop subsidizing his competitors via contributions that he considers exorbitant. The company therefore filed a request for corporate exemption from collective marketing. “It’s provided for in the law. There’s nothing in it for us. These are costs we cannot afford. We cannot support our competitors to the tune of $1.5 million to $2 million per year and say nothing. »

No industry support

According to him, duBreton never really received support from the Quebec Pork Farmers. “The Breeders have never really supported us or changed the rules with MAPAQ and the sector, towards our type of production, to facilitate the adhesion of producers to our type of production, to take contributions dedicated to research or to marketing to use them to promote our ways of doing things,” he laments.

This way of doing things among Breeders had to change, however, remembers Mr. Breton. “The president at the time, David Duval, told us that our industry would be supported and to accept that it would be an industry that would receive the same attention from them. We believed in this commitment, but months passed and ultimately nothing happened.”

Mr. Breton also notes that the Agricultural Income Stabilization Insurance (ASRA) program is only adapted to the reality of commodity pig producers. “We left the program in 2019 because it wasn’t right for us. It is ineffective and irrelevant for niche production,” according to him.

This situation means that he believes that duBreton’s way of doing things is disturbing the industry in general. “Is it because we innovate? Are we disturbing them in our ways of doing things with different products? I don’t know, but we have not agreed to review the special contributions for producers of certified organic and animal welfare pigs. There is nothing planned for us at MAPAQ and little listening from the ministries either.”

Mr. Breton notes that several pork production farms are ceasing their operations, at a rate of around thirty per year. He sees it as an opportunity to convince some of them to make the switch. “With the niche markets that we are developing, we could attract independent breeders to us and offer opportunities. It wouldn’t be for everyone, but we would help maintain a network of independent breeders, rather than everything being consolidated under two or three hats. »

This initiative is led by the producer and not the processor, swears Mr. Breton. “We do not want to impose our exemption on everyone, but for the products that we produce. Producers who do business with us could continue to do so. We ask for it as a producer. It’s duBreton, the farm owner.”

Production certified as animal welfare and organic represents barely 2 or 3% of all pork production in Quebec, according to Mr. Breton. “-In productions such as cheese or other agricultural products, there are agreements which allow access to a percentage of foreign products via treaties between countries. We only want an exemption for 2 to 3% to consolidate or grow and give producers options. We think this is a need for the future. We understand the union’s concern about the 95% of commodity pigs. They don’t have to ask us to subsidize our competitors.”

An outdated model

His criticisms of the system currently in place are virulent. “The number of producers has been declining for years and we continue to do the same thing. The production cuts announced last year have not materialized. There are fewer farms, but they produce more. We deport around 300,000 pigs annually and this will continue until at least 2025.”

He also considers centralized planning obsolete. “It’s an outdated model. I think that in Quebec, we are too accustomed to production where there are quotas and we have lost the notion of the free market.”

The case was recently heard before the Agricultural Markets Authority. The first answers leave Mr. Breton perplexed. “The Régie wonders if we made the request under the correct article. She adds that the solution would perhaps be a modification of the joint plan, rather than being exempt from it. The article of law is nevertheless there.”

DuBreton has approximately 425 sites for its supply in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes. According to Vincent Breton, it is difficult to increase this figure in La Belle province. “If we wanted to increase our volumes, the people who came to us would have to give up stabilization insurance. Here in Quebec, the public pays to buy back production rights, and we have to sign agreements in Ontario, because the system is broken and non-competitive. It does not promote innovation and development. I don’t see a desire to change that either.”

The company’s initiative has since received support from a few organizations and the public via a petition that has collected more than 2,600 names so far. “Tongs are being loosened at the moment, but producers are compensated by ASRA, which is 2/3 financed by the government, and between $250 and $300 million will have been invested over the course of two or three years. last three years in the pork industry, not counting other miscellaneous aid. »

  • The duBreton company hopes to see its organic pork succeed in Europe. Photo courtesy duBreton



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