Farmscape for January 17, 2018
A Veterinarian with Carthage Veterinary Services warns there is a risk of the market for pork Raised Without Antibiotics becoming saturated.
"Raised Without Antibiotics" was among the topics discussed last week during the 2018 Banff Pork Seminar.
Dr. Clayton Johnson, the Director of Health Carthage System with Carthage Veterinary Services, says, like many things in our business, Raised Without Antibiotics was triggered by demand.
Clip-Dr. Clayton Johnson-Carthage Veterinary Services:
We have consumers who have indicated that they would like to purchase raised without antibiotics meat.
We can sit here as scientists and argue about the pros and cons of RWA programs and the pros and cons of the animal well being and can we raise animals without antibiotics, be great stewards of not only the antibiotics but also the animal welfare.
The reality is there's a consumer that is sending us a strong message and that message is that they have disposable income that they would like to spend on the product with that attribute.
That's what's driven the creation of that market place is flat out consumer demand.
I think we can look at the poultry industry as a good model to watch because they're rally a good decade ahead of the pork industry in terms of their antibiotic free production journey.
I think the lessons we can harvest from that are, number one, the RWA programs are sustainable.
There is a demand for that product and I don't think that's a fickle demand that will go away with time.
I think they're here and I think they will continue to be here.
It's an opportunity that will be available for producers in the long run.
Number two, if we look at the poultry industry, that market has become saturated extremely quickly.
At least in the United States now we are over producing the number of birds that qualify for that program relative to the demand for that program.
I think that's something for pork producers to keep a close eye on.
If you're going to participate in an RWA program I do think there is value in getting in on the front end of it because I do think the market will become saturated relative to the demand at a certain period of time.
Dr. Johnson acknowledges the percentage of pigs raised under an RWA program is still small in the grand scheme of things.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork