Signage and cars are seen at the Olymel meat processing plant in Red Deer, Alta., on March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Olymel reducing hog production in Alberta and Saskatchewan, cutting about 80 jobs

Olymel says it is cutting about 80 jobs as it reduces its hog production in Western Canada.

The company says it is closing five sow units in Alberta and one sow unit in Saskatchewan in a move that will reduce its western sow herd to 40,000 from 57,000.

It says the barns will be wound down over the next several months and remain closed until market conditions improve.

The company says the closures will result in a net reduction of about 200,000 market hogs annually to its Red Deer, Alta., slaughter plant from company-owned farms.

However, it says the impact will not be felt until 2024 at the earliest and will be subject to independent hog supply availability.

The company says it will work with the affected staff to fill any vacant positions within its western hog operations or find work outside the company.

“Over the past two years it is well documented that Olymel has experienced significant losses in the processing of fresh pork as a result of limited market access globally,” Olymel CEO Yanick Gervais said in a statement.

“Now coupled with stubbornly high feed costs resulting in unprecedent losses in the hog sector we have little choice but to retract and position ourselves for success in the future when conditions improve.”